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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Nature's Bounty and Salsa.

This is the first time in about 5 years that I've had a vegetable garden! And I'm loving it. I didn't plant too much this year, but it's a start on the right track. Although I've lived at places for the last 5 years that had acreage, we were renting and I just couldn't get enthused about putting in a garden on land that wasn't mine. It's alot of work to develop and nurture a garden!

But the new (old) house we live in now is ours! so I feel much more motivated to put in flowers and plant a small vegetable garden.  And mind you, it's only a small LOT in town, not on acreage, so not much room here for a garden in the ground (and besides, about 6 inches down I swear there is a layer of cement under our back yard!).......... so I decided to use some of the plastic tubs that we  used for moving (3 times in the last 4 years!) and get some additional use out of them! Plus... there is a big gravel area on the side of our house that is a perfect place for all those tubs. 

Our biggest "crop" was tomatoes. Five plants (that were pretty sad when we bought them) have yielded us probably a good 25 lbs. of tomatoes or more. So what do you do when you have an excess of tomatoes and you can't eat enough every day to keep up with them? You make salsa!

I must have chopped and minced and sliced for 3 hours at least! I could have made FOUR six apples pies for all the chopping and cutting I did! I don't think I'll make salsa again..... too labor intensive for a small reward.  I didn't want to "can" the salsa, so opted to make a batch for the freezer (after searching the internet for hours, of course, for a freezer recipe). 

I think I'd rather have apple pie for all the chopping and cutting I did....... just sayin'............

Used LOTS of limes.

Hubby had to try some poured over his roast beef and spud dinner. He said it was very tasty!

Ready to put into the freezer.
I'd much rather just eat fresh tomatoes.... I love the sweetness of a "real" tomato from the garden..... wish there was some way to just keep them fresh and not have to can or freeze or roast or dry them!

And the ironic thing is..... I can't eat this salsa! I have had bouts of diverticulitis over the years, and for some reason, eating this made me hurt really bad. I think it's the Cumin Seeds that I used.. they were pretty big and I don't do well with seeds. Next time, I'll use ground cumin, not the seeds... buy hey... I already said there probably won't be a next time so I won't have to worry! 

Live and learn............. next year there will maybe be only two tomato plants. We've had some night time freezes already, and they just keep on keepin' on! There are still tons of green and pale orange tomatoes on the vine. I may be forced to make some fried green tomatoes or something? Or green relish.........

I think planting marigolds by the tomatoes kept all the pests away..... companion planting is a great thing and I didn't even think of it when I slid that tub of marigolds over by the tomatoes! And then I remembered that years ago I used to companion plant all the time. 

In my younger years (my 30's), with two small children, I managed to work full-time and have three huge gardens. I really don't know how I did it... plus did tons of canning and freezing at the end of each summer.... PLUS went out scrounging for free stuff, like plums, blackberries and apples.... and usually made jelly, apple butter, and jam too. Oh to be young again and have all that energy!

Mums from my front raised flower bed - they have blown up like crazy! the plants bushes are gigantic!
I also had one lemon cucumber plant this summer that survived and thrived... so we enjoyed just eating those sweet little gems fresh. They were so sweet, and the neighbor kids loved them also.. so I think they got about half of them.

I planted one celery plant - see in the picture below.. it got overtaken by the nasturtiums I planted.... where I wrote "celery plant", the "p" is touching the top of the plant.... but I got quite a few stalks of celery from that one plant!

I experimented with potatoes in one of the tubs... planted them only about 3 inches deep, and once they started popping up through the dirt, I threw straw over them. The plants are  huge now and I haven't harvested the spuds yet, but I think they're just about ready! I did pull up a smaller plant two weeks ago and was rewarded with about 10 little potatoes and one big one! That's always exciting... wasn't sure how they'd do in such shallow depth..

My two raspberry plants (above) that I hauled all over for the last 4 years in a tub, that I brought from our home up in SW Washington.. .finally found a home here in the ground..... and they have THRIVED! I'm eating raspberries today as I write..... I didn't know they were everbearings, but they must be and they are so so sweet. I'm in Raspberry Heaven!  I even bought another plant to keep them company.... a golden raspberry.......  you can see it way in the back... very small and a lighter green. And added two strawberries to the mix which I'll probably transplant into a tub of their own.. and I know they'll multiply next spring.

So........ I've been enjoying nature's bounty for the first time in years.. at my own hands.. and it's been really rewarding and fun.

Not to be outdone by the tomatoes... all of my flowers have been flourishing also... under my green thumb.. which I forgot I had... but I am relearning the do's and don't's of flower gardening. I am in Flower Heaven too! Nature's "bounty" in a different way.
Hollyhocks that we just planted 2 weeks ago.

My "almost" patio.... still has a gravel floor...... but I love the flowers that surround our sitting area.. and love how the sun peaks over the trees as it sets........ and am hoping by next summer we will get the much longed for pond installed over there behind the row of flowers! A girl can dream can't she?  And oh.. I need a tree to shade our sitting area too... not the blue canopy.

Our rescue kitty, Maddie, that we found last Fall right before we moved to our house. loves playing in her own little jumgle amongst the pots and tubs. She's not a kitty any more... she has definitely grabbed our hearts and keeps us on our toes.

Never thought Coleus would do well outdoors in such heat... but it has been thriving too.... we have watered everything every day (and sometimes twice) through this long hot summer.  I've taken a couple of cuttings from it and they are indoors in water.. hoping for some roots so I can grow it through the winter.
A few more pretties:

I finally got my Potting Shed sign up on the fence..... I like it above the little yellow bench.

I know I've been "ga ga" over my flowers and "garden".... (and overwhelmed everyone with pictures), so this will probably be the last post for the year as far as summer, gardens and flowers go! (maybe...................)

We got something new to dress up our house a little bit, which I'll show you next time...... have a nice day everyone!

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