Last year was our first experience with gardening — Paul’s first ever, and my first since 4-H in junior high, plus my high school farm working experience. We were pleasantly surprised with the results. The peas, tomatoes, and onions were all plentiful and delicious, and the broccoli was really yummy if not high-yielding, and everything was very easy to grow and maintain. We had total fail with our cucumbers and peppers, but we were still raring to go when spring came around again this year. We wanted our garden this year to be bigger and better than last year’s, so Paul built three more raised beds, filled them with topsoil and manure, and we planted MORE tomatoes, MORE peas, MORE onions, MORE broccoli, plus some melons, lettuce, potatoes, and peppers.
Results: mixed. The peas were easy and delicious and disappeared quickly, just like last year (I keep meaning to plant another round, but it’s getting late in the game now…). The onion sets I planted were dubious (small and squishy) as was the soil I planted them in (shallow and hard) and the results have been bleh — lots of dead or tiny onions, with a few stragglers seeming to be coming to full size out there. Oh well, onions are cheap.
So now I have to put these tomatoes to good use! I’ve already made this old favorite recipe twice (please try, it’s delicious!) so tonight I went with a chicken bruschetta recipe instead– similar, but definitely its own distinctive flavor. We liked!
If you try this recipe, two things: eggs first, then breadcrumbs, and add balsamic vinegar to the bruschetta topping, because duh; and also, warm the bruschetta up on the side or tucked in around the chicken rather than on top of it, as it ruins the crunch of the crouton topping, in my opinion.
Here’s a closeup of some of our ripe tomatoes, delicious-if-tiny broccoli, and sad little onions.
And I almost forgot — we’re really looking forward to harvesting our watermelons! So far we count five of them, but there have been lots of flowers, so I don’t know what to expect for a total yield. We made little beds of straw for them to rest on so they don’t get flat or squishy. They look delicious already and are growing really quickly!
As far as the potatoes and peppers, well, it’s almost September and there have been no blossoms on either, so our hopes aren’t high, but maybe everything will just be a little late this year (oh, please, do not let this apply to babies, too!).