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    « VOTE! VOTE! Send A Knitter to Antarctica, and While You're At It, Help a Shepherd Get a Grant | Main | Terrier Tuesday: School is Cool! »

    Monday, September 14, 2009


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    I wish my garden was fruitful as yours! This year, I planted the peppers and tomatoes on the side patio (dogs fell in love with the tomatoes last year) and they REALLY did awesome. So now, I'm thinking there might be something wrong with the soil in my garden.

    I can't grow squash or much of anything other than beans and peas. Even tomatoes were pretty wimpy when they were grown there.

    I put in bags of organic compost every year, but obviously, that isn't working. Any suggestions?


    I'm still working on the ideal arrangement for my gardens, but eventually, I'm hoping to have our rocky, hilly half-acre yard most planted in. The more that's planted as garden, the less I have to mow, which can only be a good thing.

    Amy, you might consider having your soil tested. Generally, most garden plants prefer a neutral to slightly alkaline soil. Tomatoes, in particular, need a fair bit of calcium in the soil or they tend to get blossom end rot, and I've seen some planting guides recommend working a small amount of epsom salts into the soil with the tomatoes for the magnesium and sulfur. I believe Norma's also extolled the virtues of rock phosphates. The other thing that's crucial is to make sure the plants aren't getting dried out between waterings, as it puts undue stress on them and takes energy away from fruiting.


    People are interesting...Last week at my CSA pickup spot a woman complained that the fruits and vegetables (potatoes, for example) are, "SO DIRTY." Can you imagine? Dirt was involved in the process.

    Mary McK

    I was just getting wistful about the coming end of homegrown veggie season, but then I started thinking of the treat of pulling beans, corn, tomato sauce and zucchini out of the freezer during the winter months. Not to mention all the veggie soup.

    You are right -- the payoff is soooo worth it!


    And, you need not worry about an ecol i breakout on parsley (for pity sakes) like I just heard about here in Middle Earth.


    It takes dedication and determination to grow a garden the way you do. I'm glad you enjoy it and I think it's wonderful that you have a pay off, too!


    What a beautiful bounty! It is a satisfaction unlike any other, yes? My little garden didn't do too well this year, but I am already planning next year's, so I must not be discouraged. It helps to see yours and feel the encouragement. It is really a shame that so many people are disconnected from the earth, since it is what sustains them. A recent survey showed that 30% of adolescents did not know that carrots were grown under the soil, and were subsequently grossed out by it. What a hoot!


    You could try raising the chicken, too...


    I'm getting ready to till everything under and layer the beds up for winter. My garden did not flourish this year but that's mainly my fault. I'm looking forward to next year.


    What a fabulous bounty!


    What a reward!!! Eating healthy and knowing exactly what you are eating. I had a garden for years and loved it!!!


    Pretty impressive!! Once again, your clime is better than mine. No surprise there.
    BTW, my Typepad is still not allowing comment replies except to the blog. Did you find that yours is fixed??


    Your garden is absolutely wonderful and makes me wish I had the space to expand mine.


    I want to come eat at your house...

    Mary Fran

    I agree with Deirdre -what time is dinner? I do find this very inspirational and hope to start my garden next year. My Dad has always had a garden and I miss the fresh bounty. When we lived in Chicago, we would come home after every visit with loads of fresh veggies. I remember he had a strawberry patch right under my windo when I was a little girl. We would eat the berries right off the plants. Anyway, our landscaping plan has a spot for several raised beds. I'm hoping to start with one next year. I do worry about the critters getting all the bounty: coyotes, foxes, rabbits, deer, squirrels, turkeys...


    Your garden posts have been wonderful to read all season. The garden does make one a more adventurous cook and more connected with the process of feeding ourselves. It's a beautiful thing.


    Norma, your garden and it's bounty are an inspiration. I had my first garden this year in a single raised bed and the "bounty" was on the pathetic end of the spectrum. However, I put in some fall lettuce and it seems to be doing so much better than the spring crop - which did nothing. I'm wondering if I might have some critters that are better fed than I? I also tried canning for the first time this year from the farmers' market and have enjoyed that as well. And I must say that your picture of your pickled beets in your banner is what drove me to it!!! After having tried the pickled beets, I can more fully appreciate just how much work is involved - your pictures do NOT do THAT justice! A peck of beets produced a mere 4 quarts of pickled beets - not nearly enough to satisfy for long! Keep the inspiration in your heart and your blog - we love it!


    That's a lovely array!! It sounds delicious, too. ; )


    Gardening is so good. Good for the tastebuds. Good for the environment. Good for the mental state. Good for the soul. (But for the fingernails? Not so much!) Lovely garden, Norma! Thanks for sharing. :-)


    Yep, I want to come eat at your house too :^) I love your gardening posts, more than you can ever imagine.


    I love how creatively you use your produce. The roast chicken sounds heavenly. You are an inspiration -- really.


    Mmmmmm. That picture looks delicious.

    I'm not sorry I didn't garden this summer. Sadly, with my time constraints this year it would have turned into yet another chore. Perhaps next summer....

    Mary K. in Rockport

    I hope your porch gnome is enjoying the bountiful sight on your bench as much as I am. And congratulations on bending the will of your blog host!


    I wish I could grow some of my own food, but we have so many deer around here; I can't even grow flowers! They come right up on the patio and eat the hydrangea right down to the soil. (the deer, not some cannibal flowers)


    I don't mind the worms ON the food; it's when they are chowing down the INSIDES of my cucumbers that I have issues with!!

    Your garden is always so nice. And really whatever food makes it to the compost pile will make it that much more rich. Nature is amazing that way. Nothing is ever wasted. Just used in different ways.

    Janice in Camas

    I have the blackest thumb on the planet and my attempts at vegetable gardening always fail, but there are several farmer's markets close by and I do love an outing!

    My dad (long retired) volunteers for Meals on Wheels and a couple of other food-help related groups. He drives around town a few times a week and collects leftover food from markets, coffee houses, etc., and then it's distributed to people who need it. But it's mostly baked goods and when he tried to figure out how to get more fresh veggies, he realized that he knew lots of people with gardens who complain about having too much to eat themselves, or having lots that gets wasted when they go on vacation. So he found a group that wanted such food and now he collects the extras, and he even tends the gardens of a few people when they leave town and collects what would have just withered on the vine during that time. Got anything like that around you? (10 pounds of leftover asparagus makes me cry -- I love it so much.)


    If I leave right now, I could be there in time for dinner........


    Dang girl! You will certainly not have a vampire problem with all that garlic sitting around!

    Jean E.

    Very nice harvest. If I didn't have so many deer and bunnies in my neighborhood, I would give it a try. Well, actually, I did try it that is how I know of the deer and the bunnies.


    Makes me miss having access to garden space! I hope your harvest tastes especially fabulous when the cold winds blow.


    Your dinner yesterday sounds absolutely marvelous. Are there any leftovers?


    I have little to say other than agreed. And good on you for all that harvest.


    Beautiful! I try to do the locavore thing by buying much of what I eat at our Farmers' Markets - but growing your own is clearly so much better! Except that those grilled peaches were awfully good tonight!

    elizabeth a airhart

    this is one of your better garden essays
    really good writeing and from the heart

    for summer there, bear in mind ,is a loitering gossip
    that only begins to talk of leaveing when
    september rises to go - george washingon cable


    I need some seed garlic. Where did you get yours?

    marie in florida

    blessings; well earned.


    I agree with Kym. There is something very zen about tending your own garden and knowing exactly where it all comes from.

    I always worry about people who are so far removed from where their food comes from. Who can live like that? How do people do it? Imagine not knowing that carrots taste better right out of the ground than they do 20 minutes later. Never mind a week later. City folk.


    Heh. Broccoli is the one vegetable that my mom refuses to eat from the garden (so my dad stopped planting it) because the worms hide. (Beans, tomatoes, raspberries, onions, peppers, etc. are easier to clean thoroughly, so she's fine with them.)


    I love local. Very healthy, very chic. You're the bomb, Norma!!! You inspire me!!!

    Seanna Lea

    I love your garden posts. I'm almost ready to get my first pickings, and I can only hope that they are a tenth as tasty looking as yours.

    Of course, one of my friends has me worried. He said I should get a soil test done, to make sure I didn't have hazardous produce.

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