Our first food garden proved to be wonderfully exciting, full of anticipation, and rewards. Not everything went as we’d planned; the cold wet summer in Seattle didn’t allow for the watermelons, cantaloupe, red bell peppers, and purple heirloom tomatoes that we’d ambitiously attempted. We however had a huge bounty of lettuces, tomatoes, strawberries, herbs, onions, peas, and carrots. and were for the most part astounded at how easy it was to grow so much food.
The four pack of early girl tomatoes alone, produced over 100 big red tomatoes, we made soup, pasta sauce, slow roasted tomatoes, and countless grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches.
Below is our 2010 garden in review.
- Cantaloupe (Fail)
- Watermelon (Fail)
Picking strawberries at their peak made a huge difference in flavor. It was truly incredible to eat a warm juicy strawberry fresh off the plant.
As you can see, the plants spread out immensely from their original starts, and because strawberries are perennial, I will look forward to many warm luscious berries next season and for years to come.
According to the lady who sold me this rhubarb start, I couldn’t eat the rhubarb this year, so I longingly admired it all summer, and am exceedingly excited to make this, and this, and this next year! Rhubarb curd? I can’t believe I haven’t made some yet! My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
These plump sun-ripened blueberries were enjoyed in thick Greek yogurt, once they had gotten so plump and juicy they just about fell of the bush from their girth.
The figs didn’t mature before the cold set in. Better luck next year I suppose. Until then I will dream of exquisite fresh figs plucked right from a tree in my backyard.
- Onions (Red, Walla Walla)
- Tomatoes (Early Girl, Purple (Fail), Yellow)
- Bell Peppers (Failed)
- Sugar Snap Peas
- Lettuces (Romaine, Merlot,Crocivencous, Baby Oak Leaf)
The sugar snap peas were eaten raw and in stir fry, and were so succulent and sweet. Our only issue with these was their growth spurts, next year we shall plan a trellis taller than 3 ft. more like 6-8 ft. These peas went crazy!
The lettuces were probably my favorite thing. Their taste was inexplicably unique and refreshing, I would often eat the tender leafs plain, right out of the garden, as I ambled by our beds each day.
This pepper was so promising. Alex and I pined over it for 2 months.
About a week after this picture, the perfect little pepper got moldy and rotted off the plant. Boo.
The four little early girl tomatoes (center), and the purple heirloom (far right)still at a reasonable size. These wood steaks were practically laughable by the end of the summer when the tomatoes morphed into huge plants they toppled in on themselves and made these seemingly ample steaks look like we had tried to corral our tomato plants with toothpicks.
Our three little basils got too wet and cold during Seattle’s Juneuary, and later got over shadowed by the enormous tomatoes. Next year we will plant the basil later and not near the tomatoes. And perhaps we can make the garden fresh caprese salad we’d initially envisioned eating when we originally thought of having our own garden.
Tomatoes as they started go crazy.
Alex attempting to tame the wild tomatoes.
Tomatoes after I made an attempt to prune them back mid-summer.
Very quickly the wild plants went back to looking like this.
The yellow tomatoes weren’t near as prolific or wild as the early girls. We savored them on bruschetta for my birthday in August.
The red carrots were particularly tasty in the roasted root veggie medley we often make, and next year we plan to go exclusively with the red carrots, since orange ones are so cheap anyway, and the taste difference wasn’t as noticeable as with other items.
Cucumber Blossoms, so precious.
One of the two large cucumbers that came to fruition. The wet, cold summer hindered the others.
- Basil (Genovese, Purple, and Thai)
- Lavender(Spanish, French)
- Thyme (Lemon)
- Mint (Spearmint, Peppermint, Spanish, Curly, Chocolate, Ginger, Pineapple)
The chamomile was so delicate and whimsical. I was lazy and didn’t use the little buds for a homemade tea, there’s always next year, but I did very much enjoy its appearance.
Perhaps I was too busy drinking mojitos from all of this fresh mint to get too into the thought of chamomile tea.
Pork tenderloin stuffed with sage. Mwa (Kissing my fingers)
Lavender provided a lovely scent for the garden all summer long.
Our little gnome, Peter, carefully guarded the garden and it’s bounty. Saving berries from birds, and lettuces from slugs. (Ok so we had to take extra measures like egg shells for slugs and netting over the strawberries for birds, but he sure was cute)
Although Alex questioned my purchase of Peter, (one dollar at an estate sale) I believed him to be well worth his price. He passed on his wisdom of gardens past through little whispers to our plants. (Psst, Peter, next year can you whisper to my purple tomatoes)
Next year we are excited to branch out, and also to master the usual suspects. The cold wet winter ahead will be made bearable imagining the fruits, veggies, herbs, and cute little garden gnomes to come in the spring.
How did your garden grow? What worked and flopped? What should I look into growing next year? What are your favorite recipes from the garden?
Get ready for the cozy fires, lovely books on the couch, hot cocoa in big mugs, movie watching, snuggling up and hunkering down to come. Happy thanksgiving, enjoy the bounty of food, family and friends as this growing season closes and we settle in for winter.