Sunday, August 19, 2012

My 2012 garden - be it ever so humble...

Right around the end of January, my heart starts pumping faster. Thoughts of digging in the dirt, shopping at the nursery, planting, composting, of fresh vegetables - you get it, right? Everyone appreciates a home grown tomato.

I planted these tomatoes on February 26. Yes, I keep a Garden Journal.

Here they are six months later. I quit trying to wrestle my tomato plants into cages, and let them cascade down into vines. I think they prefer that.

In those six months, I have grown the perfect cherry tomato,

and filled bowl after bowl of them, perfect for salads or a fresh marinara.

The peppers did well too - here they are the day they were planted,

then a month later,

and this morning.

But damn - when you notice this around the base of your plants, you have serious issues. Gardeners everywhere will recognize these black droppings.

Who the hell is eating these leaves?

These bad boys are hard to see, and they do some serious damage to everything in their path.

I used to be seriously afraid of these hornworms, but this year, I sat and watched one for about an hour, happily chomping on a pepper, and pooping the whole time. It was a very zen garden moment, and changed my way of thinking about them. I know, that sounds sort of crazy.

There is sort of a gracefulness about them - this one devoured a pepper in no time.

Does that mean I let them have their way with my plants? Hell no, I still dispose of them, but this year, I've felt a little bad about it.

Speaking of pests - the spaghetti squash plant was growing like a weed, twenty feet long, across the garden and down across the rocks until these melon beetles invaded.

Before you start thinking the whole garden was a waste of time this year, let's look at a couple of these gems - like Art, the choke.

and this perfect specimen.

The basil always does well,

it just grows like a weed.

This year I tried growing lettuce - and I have to say,

I was so pleasantly surprised. It died off once the really hot temps set in, but I plan on planting more in a month or so, for a winter garden. Hell, it's warm into November here!

The nectarine tree exploded in color in March

and I actually made a nectarine pie this summer, when they were ripe. Amazing. Someone told me nectarines don't make for good pies - they were wrong!

My friend Becky is a Master Gardener and the other day, she put this photo on her Facebook page.

This picnic table had its center board swapped out for a piece of rain gutter. Fill it with ice and put your favorite beverages in it, to chill while you're eating. Say what you want about the internet, but I find some of the coolest ideas while poking around.

All in all, I'd give my garden a solid B- for this year, it wasn't as good as in the past, but I'm hoping to make up for it with a second planting. I started composting this year (one of my New Year resolutions) and that has been a benefit - both in adding some wonderful (and free) nutrients to the soil, and in reducing the amount of waste going into the trash.

How was your garden this year?


Vegas Lupe said...

Very cool report on your garden. :-) Congratulations on the cherry tomatoes, nectarines, lettuce and basil. Sorry to hear about the garden pests though. The hornworm looks like a creature from outer space. My favorite part as usual is Stella. She is such a cute doggie. :)

Chelsea North said...

Wow. First, I have to commend you for what you are doing in Las Vegas. I grew up there eventually leaving for the North West in search of woodworking courses/apprenticeships. It makes me happy to see someone so talented sharing their knowledge with others.
And growing food is no easy task either. Looks beautiful keep it up.