By bubbva on Oct 12, 2008
This has been my first year trying my hand at gardening, and I've learned quite a lot! First, dwarf basil is a pain to harvest - it takes forever to pull off enough leaves for pasta! I also discovered that I love fresh tomatoes and green beans, and fresh herbs are delightful. For my first year I planted Better Boy tomatoes, carrots, beats, okra, broccoli, grean beans, red and yellow bell peppers, Serrano chilies, jalapeño chillies, Anaheim peppers, "spring" onions, sage, basil, cilantro, rosemary, and thyme. Oh, and mint, but that is growing itself from the neighbors yard. :-) The beans did fantastically well on the side of the house, and the carrots and beets thrived in a semi-shaded corner of the back yard (I'm thinking about doing a second planting this fall). The tomatoes did well in the back, as did the Serrano chillies, but the other chillies and peppers suffered a bit - for two reasons I think, not enough afternoon sun and I didn't realize that I was supposed to fertilize them until after they were in the ground a couple of months. I have \*one\* okra pod. One. Too much shade and planted a bit too late, I suspect. I'll try that again next year up front.
The broccoli... dear broccoli. One of my favorite vegetables, alas I've been disappointed by my home grown. After combating a pesky caterpillar/moth with organic pesticide, I finally have florets, but they are flimsy and not firm at all. And they don't taste like what I'm used to getting from the store. They took so long to grow, planted in May in a semi-shaded spot, it's really disappointing. I got the seed packet for free as a give-a-way at a conference, though, so maybe next year I should do some actual research into what seeds I choose. I didn't realize last spring that there were actual websites with seed reviews on them, but of course, though, there is a website for everything now.
Next year the peppers and chillies will get a sunnier spot. The tomatoes will probably go in the same place, I seem to recall it's not good to plant other things where tomatoes were, except maybe beets. Perhaps that's where I'll do my winter planting of beets (well, after the tomatoes have stopped producing). It is very nice living in a relatively mild climate, though I am hoping we will get a lot more rain this year.
Additionally, I grew my marigolds from seed this year. They are like giant marigold bushes now, getting a bit rangy so I'm not sure how much longer they'll get to stay. Oh, yeah, grew poppies, too. Now I think we'll always have poppies, as they had self seeded before I pulled them up.
My "spring" onions are well on their way to becoming full onions, I think. I was not expecting them to do that well! The chives I planted at the same time never even sprouted, but I have spring onions coming out my ears!
There is something very rewarding about eating our own vegetables, fresh picked/pulled moments before cooking. Now, have I saved any money with all these home grown things? Once I take into account water, fertilizer and time, certainly not. I'll do it again next year all the same. :-)