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!

   photo Blogsignature2smallersizeforblog_zps20ad3d10.png


  1. I felt like I could have written this post Marilyn! It sounds so much like what I've been experiencing lately, with one notable exception:I was just telling a friend yesterday NO MORE TOMATOES for me. They take up too much space and I'd rather just buy them by the bushel. I just make tomato sauce and freeze it in zip lock bags and use it for pizza, pasta or make it into soup by adding some chicken or veggie broth and fresh basil. A little cream will go a long way toward making it extra good :).

    We spent some time cleaning up the yard this weekend and I was surprised to see I actually had gotten some green beans! Before we left last week (we went to Maine) there was nothing, but boy, what a difference a week makes! It really is exciting to see, isn't it?!

    We're having a frost here tonight as well. I covered up my raised bed as there's still some lettuce, but not much so if they freeze so be it.

    Your flowers look amazing and I have to say I thought your hollyhocks were peonies, but of course that would never happen this time of year. lol

    Have a great week!


    1. I had to laugh when you said you're so done with tomatoes! so am I! and we still have more.. and more... and more... coming along! By October, I think I'm DONE with gardening! This dry climate though, as long as you water and it doesn't freeze too hard, things just keep on keepin' on! I do have some things that are finally wilting though and we've had a few freezes, so pretty soon it'll be done for the year! Phew....

  2. You definitely have a VERY green thumb! Can't believe you still have so many gorgeous flowers! Ours are pretty much gone except for hydrangeas and some straggly annuals. Tomatoes have stopped producing also and we just pulled them up at the community garden where I work. Sad to see tomato season ending - I will miss fresh tomato sandwiches! You certainly put a lot of work into that salsa and it looks delicious! I'd love to grab some chips and dig in! Too bad it hurts your stomach. Thank you for sharing these beautiful end of summer pictures.

    1. You're very welcome..... alot of my flowers are still going crazy.. especially the geraniums and nasturtiums and marigolds. Even with the leaves on the marigolds turning dark, the flowers are still beautiful, same with the coleus. One of these nights though, a hard freeze will hit and they'll be done. My hubby sure is enjoying the salsa!

  3. I do enjoy visiting other bloggers gardens. You have quite the green thumb and I love how you used your plastic tubs. You have a lot of whimsical additions too, so interesting. Little Maddie looks adorable poking her head out between the potted plants, what a cutie pie :)

    1. I really do prefer gardening in the tubs... no rows in between to weed and you hardly have to weed the plants as they grow so thick, they crowd out the weeds! Yes Maddie sure does love her little private jungle! I'm glad it's there, as when we moved in, there was absolutely NOTHING in our front or back yards, but weeds and dirt..... I was worried our other cats would have nowhere to play or go.. but they now have some big shrubs and plants to lay in and play in. Amazing what just a few months will grow!

  4. Glad that you are living in your own house now and feel comfortable gardening☺ Your tomatoes and other plants look really nice. Love that salsa too!

    1. Thank you Summer! I just wish I could eat that salsa.. next time I won't use the cummin SEEDS! Marilyn

  5. Marilyn, you could never overwhelm. I'm so glad that you are finally settled and are able to plant your garden, which is beautiful. Fresh tomatoes are the best and salsa is a favorite also. We have never planted a veggie garden, we rely on the Farmer's Market in the summer time. I was going to try to grow a coleus plant indoors, now that I feel like such a professional house plant grower!! Ha! I love the colors they come in. Just such a beautiful plant. Check out HomeGoods for dishes, they really have some pretty ones and good prices, sometimes better than thrift shops. I only buy two of one pattern, then hope that we never have any company for dinner!!. Have a wonderful weekend..Judy

    1. Judy, thank you for the "heads up" on HomeGoods. I don't think they have online shopping and I don't see a store anywhere near me. Darn! I've wanted to check them out. I need some pretty dishes for Fall! You should try getting a coleus plant for indoors. I cut some tops out of my plant that is outside and put them in water. They've already rooted! So I'll plant them in a pot indoors for the winter. They love lots of sunshine and you can let them dry out quite abit in between waterings. They are so pretty and of course, love all the shades of pink and green that they are famous for! Weekend is going good so far! Marilyn

  6. Marilyn I just found your blog and love it. I'm a gardener too and live on a farm. You have so many cool things I could look around her for hours.

    1. Thank you Valerie! Glad you stopped in for a visit. I used to live on a small "farm" (5 acres and 9 acres) in my younger years. I'm envious of those who still get to live in the country! I visited your site and will go back and look around. I want to see your homestead! I've had beef, pigs, chickens, horses, alpacas... but now only have 2 sweet cats. Hope you come back and look around. There's lots of eye candy here! Marilyn

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  8. You do have a green thumb! The tomatoes look so nice, Marilyn♥

  9. Your garden and all you have grown in it look fantastic, Marilyn! You certainly do have a green thumb! So lovely that you are in your own place now and can really enjoy growing and nurturing your own plants again.
    Happy weekend.
    Helen xox

    1. Thank you Helen.... I surely do enjoy all the flowers. It's Oct. 1st and they are still so pretty! I know one of these days a hard frost will finally get them. And I do so love having my own home again, even though it's old and a fixer.. but I can do whatever I what with it which is so fun. I don't think we really appreciate owning our own home, until we rent for 5 years! I had owned before that but I think I took it for granted.. now I realize how much of a privilege it is to own our own little piece of Heaven! Hope your weekend is good too.... Marilyn ((hugs))


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