Saturday, September 18, 2010

My Vegetable Garden: A Labor of Love

Yesterday, I shared how being a lazy gardener is both frugal and green. However, there are some things that I find putting a little effort into pays great dividends, namely my vegetable garden.

September2010 240 I finally captured an eggplant flower! Since the eggplant is still flowering and because it does not like cold, I am adding it to my winter container garden.

When you transplant an eggplant, pepper, or tomato plant great care needs to be given to not disturb the roots anymore than is absolutely necessary. Plan to dig a very large root ball and if you are putting it in a container choose an oversized one.

Since I have had problems with squash bugs this summer, I will pull out all of the squash and cucumbers plants as soon as I harvest the last squash.  Then I will burn the plants in an effort to eradicate the bugs. I will use the ashes to amend the soil for next year’s garden.

It won’t be long before I am searching high and low for recipes using acorn squash: September2010 235

I have at least 12 of these gianormous squash, even though I did not intend to grow acorn squash. Since we had such a long winter, my garden got off to a late start. I started to panic and was afraid that none of my seeds would germinate, so I bought a 4 pack of seedlings labels crookneck squash. My zucchini and straightneck squash seeds germinated and produced fruit before the store bought seedling even produced a single flower. Once they finally started producing fruit, I was confused because they were the weirdest looking crookneck squash I had ever seen! Once they matured a bit more I realized what I had on my hands.  Being lazy didn’t quite work out as planned this time!

Each one of my potato plants is producing 3 –5 pounds of potatoes! I dig up all of the potatoes by hand so that they will not be damages by the tools: August2010 398So far I have only been digging up what I will use for dinner that night, but I will dig up all of the potatoes before the first hard frost. Potatoes can weather a light frost, but they should never be allowed to freeze. After I dig up the potatoes I cure them by letting them sit for about 2 weeks in a dark, cool, dry location. They will be stored in our garage this winter which remains very cool, but does not freeze.

Since we have such a short growing season, I start my tomatoes inside while there is still snow on the ground. Once it warms up a bit they are moved to a portable greenhouse and sometime in June they are moved to the raised bed garden. Despite this tender care, my tomatoes got off to a rough start this year and I wondered if I would ever have much of a harvest: September2010 237

My worrying was for not! That is one of four cherry tomato plants. I also have two Romas and two Early Girls that I use in canning, which is another area that I expend quite a bit of energy.

How do you prioritize the work you do in your garden? And, iIf you have any acorn squash recipes, please leave me a link!

To view other vegetable gardens, visit Grow.Eat.$ave at $5 Dinners.

6 comments:

vickie said...

Alea,
Your squash looks wonderful -and your tomatoes wow.
Unfornately this summer was one of those wild ones when stuff just happened. So...the garden went to weeds-But God was good and still gave me a wonderful harvest.

vickie

The Book Lady Online said...

Oh Alea, your garden - wow!! Love that acorn squash!! One day, maybe my garden will produce something that we (humans) will get to eat, lol.

thyme2garden said...

Your vegetable garden looks great with lots of variety and healthy plants! I'm also planning on doing a bit of winter container/indoor gardening myself. I'll have to compare notes with you later!

I've only had acorn squash simply baked in the oven and served with a bit of butter and salt/pepper (savory) or sugar/cinnamon (sweet). Have you had it that way before? I'm sure there are many more sophisticated recipes out there, though.

PJ Friedel said...

Wow! I am so impressed with your blog. Thanks for leaving a comment on mine so I could find yours. :-) We just had acorn squash for dinner...unfortunately, I bought mine. Can't wait to get some good tips from reading different posts. Enjoy your day!

pogonip said...

I'm going to pick your brain for potato growing tips before next year!

I grow winter squash for soup as well as baking. My butternut squash (all one of them because of our late spring) is growing bigger by the day and I'm hoping it matures before the frosts. Fingers crossed.

Anonymous said...

Could be the best read that I read in my life!?!

Casey