Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How Does My Garden Grow?

I am so excited that people are asking to hear (and see) how my new garden is coming along. To see the initial design and construction, go to my posts dated 6/25/12 "My New Garden" and 7/18/12 "My Garden -- An Update".  As this year’s "summer project", my readers know that my garden did not take shape until the middle of the growing season, so I doubted I would get much of a crop of anything this first year.

But Mother Nature seemed intent on proving her fortitude. I harvested bell peppers, cucumbers and four kinds of tomatoes in September, and I have more tomatoes coming than I know what to do with. My pumpkin vine, a gift from dinner guests on August 12, was no more than a foot long when I planted it. Now, not even two months later, the vine is well over twenty feet in length and boasts numerous yellow blossoms. I don’t know if there is enough time left before the first frost arrives to form an actual pumpkin, but we’ll see. The natural world is an amazing thing. I am thrilled that most of what I’ve planted has thrived.

There are some lessons learned. My soil, extremely acidic due to the gigantic pine tree under whose boughs my garden grows, has proved extremely hostile to hollyhocks. My irises and hydrangea are doing well. So also are my black-eyed susans, butterfly bushes and zinnias. The gerbera daisies don’t mind the harsh pH, and neither do the coral bells, salvia, cone flower, veronica and yarrow. But I can’t get foxglove or sunflowers to grow to save my soul.

This pumpkin vine, a gift from Nick and Jenny, is over twenty feet long now

My dear friend, Lora Wong, a newly minted master gardener, gave my garden a resounding thumbs-up when she got her first look at it last week, and my mower-man, owner of 4 Seasons Landscaping, LLC (http://www.facebook.com/landscaping4seasons), said he was quite impressed with my design. Next week I’ll be attending the Bluewater Baltimore Society’s all-native plant sale at Herring Run Nursery in Baltimore (http://www.bluewaterbaltimore.org) to see if I can get some brilliant goldenrod and statuesque joe pye weed, some fragrant bee balm and frilly coreopsis into the ground before the growing season comes to an abrupt halt in a few more weeks. 
I happened upon a good recipe on FoodNetwork.com recently for anyone who has an abundance of tomatoes and basil in their gardens this year.  I have a profusion of both. The recipe is for a rustic tomato-basil soup and it's super tasty and very low-calorie:

Tomatoes proliferate!

Some are quite large

Tomato tart before baking
Still more tomatoes to use up?  Here is a fabulous recipe for a  delicious, low-calorie tomato tart.
Tomato tart after baking

... and another for my easy-to-assemble three-tomato salad.

Colorful three tomato salad
For someone with next to no experience growing plant life, this initial experiment in flower and vegetable husbandry has been amply rewarding for me. I can hardly wait to get started next year!

1 comment:

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