Happiness In The Kitchen Garden

I LOVE to grow food. Love. End of story, post complete. Oh wait. Let me show you some pictures k? (said the proud mamma)

harvesting yummy goodness

In early July we had zucchini, crookneck, two kinds of cucumber, bell peppers, jalapenos, cayenne peppers, beefsteak tomatoes and rosemary. Still growing but ready to bust out at any moment: Chard, basil, oregano, thyme, cilantro, pumpkin, watermelon, cantaloupe, butternut squash, sweet meat squash, corn and potatoes. In storage: Onions and garlic. I am one happy and satisfied gardener.

Second July harvest

big bountiful basket

By mid July we’ve harvested a lot of tomatoes. The beefsteak was first (no surprise) and then we started harvesting the black krim followed by roma, cheroke purple and brandywine. There is also a copia plant that has a bunch on it that are so close… can’t wait!

copia, my hero

And this is why. These are Copia tomatoes from the market garden and what I expect from the kitchen garden soon. What a wonderful yellow/red combination right? Makes a beautiful salad tomato and is great for sauces because the texture is similar to roma.

And I am amazed at how well the bell peppers are doing, I never had so much success with them in all my years of gardening. I started all of them in the trial seed starting mix this year and maybe it was just the thing to make them super strong from the start. The foliage is thick and the environment underneath is perfection. Just right for making nice big peppers.

Beginning of August

too tall and tasty

This makeshift hoop house is tall enough for the hubby to stand in (when the plastic is on) and he is six feet tall. That means that these tomato plants are about five to six feet tall since they’ve topped out over the structure! And yes, those are the pepper plants in the front, left box. The bells are on the far left (and fill out the other side of the tomato plant there in the center) and next to them is jalapeno and cayenne. Mmm, mmm!

maters make me munch

So why do I have the different tomato varieties separated out? Because I decided to (once again) keep count of the pounds that come out of this garden to see how much money we saved. (But I’ll do this with tomatoes only and not everything like last year.) Here’s what it looks like so far:

Black Krim: 19 3/4 lb
Cherokee Purple: 13 1/4 lb
Roma: 15 1/3 lb
Brandywine: 3 lb
Beefsteak: 41 3/4 lb
Copia: (nothing ripe yet)

That’s well over 90 pounds and they’re just getting started. Excitement abounds! Beefsteak does not disappoint, right? And look at the Black Krim, Cherokee Purple and Roma… that’s a lot of good eatin’ from two of the most flavorful tomatoes on the planet and a tomato that will make loads of good ketchup and barbecue sauce. (boy-o-boy-o-boy!) Though the Brandywine count is low and the Copia hasn’t given us anything yet, they’re both loaded and very close going gangbusters.

hold your head high mr sunflower

Since some of the corn and sunflowers from the chicken garden will be for yours truly too, I should probably mention that the sunflowers are pretty close (they’re starting to dry up and are full of seeds) and the corn is sweet and yummy. For the most part, both crops will stay put and dry on the stalk. I just planted another crop of corn (at the hubby’s request) for canning.

Mid August

That brings us to today. I don’t know how much longer I’ll keep counting poundage like this but I’m quite proud of the amount of free food I’ve been able to put up. Here’s the latest:

Black Krim: 28 3/4 lb
Cherokee Purple: 15 1/2 lb
Roma: 23 1/4 lb
Brandywine: 7 1/2 lb
Beefsteak: 50 3/4 lb
Copia: 5 1/4 lb

Over 130 pounds! Yowza! Not one tomato plant is slowing down and I’ve got my work cut out for me. The hubby’s made mounds of salsa while I can’t have enough stewed tomatoes on the shelves.

even more yowza!

The eggplant was severely attacked by the enemy when it was first planted and very young, so I didn’t think we’d get even one. But I threw a little Budweiser party and they are now putting out beautiful fruit. I’ll say cheers to that!

okay, the yowza is now a wowza!

This watermelon was very sweet and delicious. Yum. And this variety (Jubilee) puts out very large and very pretty fruit with all its striations and colors. Because it’s near impossible to tell when they’re ripe, I decided to wait until they feel super heavy, as if they’re full of… what else… water!

pick a pear

And finally, the poor little pear tree that struggled when we first moved here is now full of pears! Cool! This bunch will continue ripening and be ready to eat in a week or so. I picked them early because the tree is still weak to the point that birds can easily cause the fruit to fall off. So as they show the slightest bit of yellowing, I snag ’em. Our baby tree probably has 10 times more to come and I can’t wait to make butter. Or ‘butta’, as we like to say.

This makes me happy. Gardening is very satisfying and eating for free makes me a proud provider. It’s been great sharing it with you. 🙂