As I posted before this is my first year attempting a garden and it has made me proud. Some of our plants we bought as baby plants and the rest we started from seeds. To save on money for the cost of plants or seeds my friend B and I each bought different seeds to share or split the cost of plants. This worked out well for us because we were able to save some money but also use more seeds before the expiration date on the packages. We are in the process of trying to grow potatoes in a bag, marigolds for pest control, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, a couple different types of peppers, cucumber, pumpkin, chocolate peppermint, strawberries, carrots, chives, coriander, parsley, onions, and garlic. It has been a pretty chilly spring/summer up until this past week and suddenly with the warm weather the plants have grown quite a bit.
The cauliflower was bought at a local market as baby plants. My friend B and I bought a container with 9 plants to share. She took 5 for her garden and I took 4 for mine. All 4 of mine have grown very well so far and we got to eat our first one this past weekend. It was so fulfilling to eat something that came from the garden that I have been tending for several months now.
The broccoli was started from seed and wow did it take well. I planted about 12 seeds and 10 made it to the garden. Since then I lost one of the plants that was planted in the garden but all of the others seem to be doing really well.
Our lettuce, spinach, and herbs other than the chocolate peppermint were started from seed and have taken off really well. We have had salads and spinach in our crock pot lasagna. The Man's favorite part of the garden is the herbs because he loves to experiment in the kitchen. He loves to cook on the weekends and try to get creative to help everybody learn to eat different food options.
We had bad luck starting peppers this year. Out of probably 10 different seed pots we managed to get one plant. We decided to buy 4 pre-started plants to add to our one and see how it goes. They are all pretty small but seem to be doing OK so far.
Cucumber is another one that I have had a hard time growing from seed. I had big dreams to learn how to can pickles this year but out of about 10 seed pots I managed to get 2 plants and they are still quite small. I am quite sad about this because I do not think that I will have enough cucumbers to try pickling this year. Oh well I will not get discouraged and try again next year but probably using a different type of cucumber. Any suggestions?
Tomatoes seem to grow quite well here. We bought 2 pre-started plants and then have 3 others in the garden that I got from seed. I still have a couple started plants in the mini greenhouse waiting for either more space in the garden or some more pots to grow them in. The two pre-started plants have started to flower and get small tomatoes on them but the seeds I started are a little behind on that. The warmer weather this past week has really helped my seed tomatoes grow better.
My strawberries have proven to be the kids' favorite but they have become the beetles' favorite plant to attack as well. The kids love when there are red strawberries and they can pick them and eat them. We had quite a few strawberries ripen before the beetles came and now there are quite a few less. It is sad to lose them to the beetles. They started eating the leaves and my plants look quite pitiful now. i am hoping that they didn't actually burrow and place their eggs below my plants to kill them off totally.
The onions and garlic was started in the fall and were supposed to be ready by now but I think with the cold weather just have not gotten to their full potential yet so I am keeping a close eye on them. Neither of them have produced a full sized product yet. The onions had a really bad growing rate. Out of 24 onions I planted I have 8 that have kept alive. I am not quite sure if it was just a bad set of onions or if it was the huge pigeons. Which ever it was it was disappointing. The garlic was great. Every single clove of garlic I planted grew. Now just to let them mature enough so I can have garlic to eat. I will also reuse one of the cloves to replant for next year if they give quality cloves.
Gardening has proven to not only help save money on fruits and vegetables but to also give me something to occupy my time and teach my children about growing food. I am hoping they will take these lessons on with them and start them out earlier in their life than 30. The things I have learned in the past few years to save money would have been nice to figure out when I was a single mom. It really helps now though for me to be able to stay home and stretch The Man's paycheck.