Monday, June 22, 2009

Money Monday: June 22, 2009

Today we have the garden report. Behold, we are fertile and have borne fruit vegetable!!!

first zucchini

This is the first zucchini, plucked from the garden yesterday. There are more, many, many more, tucked in around those wildly growing bushes…and this one was delicious. I ate about a quarter of it raw while making a fish curry with the rest of it. (Although frankly, the pound and a half of fish was dwarfed by the sheer volume of sliced zucchini, so really it was more of a zucchini curry with oh yeah some fish in it than fish curry.)

When I planted, I was really, really worried about my gardening attempts. I have no idea what I’m doing, I am easily distracted, I have a lot going on, I’m looking for a Real Job and if I get one what happens to my garden?, etc. etc. etc.

And then for those first few weeks, I went out there anxiously every day to note that nothing was happening. Was that a weed, or a plant? I froze in inexperienced panic, and refused to weed because how did I know I wasn’t pulling up the carrot babies?!

But then things started becoming plain. The corn was obviously corn, the carrots got those distinctive fuzzy tops, the difference between a cantaloupe and a weed became obvious and I spent about an hour every other day cussing at the weeds as I pulled them out.

Then things got crazy. The pumpkins and the zucchini exploded and are plotting world domination. This pumpkin is actually about to die, because this vine is not in the bed but is encroaching on the neighbor’s yard and will have to be cut back before it destroys the fence. Which probably says more about the state of the fence than the strength of pumpkin vines.


I swear, the corn is growing like a kid. One minute it was barely at my hip, the next?


Taller than me. And bearded up. My babies, they growin’ up so fast… {sniff, sniff!}

We have carrots…


…and tomatoes like these (except that some are cherries and some are beefsteak and some are heirloom) on every bush…


I didn’t take picture of them because they aren’t fruiting up yet, but the cucumbers and watermelons and cantaloupes are also doing great. The onions are coming right along.

However, we need a moment of silence for the leeks and the broccoli. Instead, we are cultivating a fine crop of fresh, organic weeds while I ponder what to put in there instead. (I’m thinking herbs.)

fresh organic weeds

HOWEVER. One of the most exciting things in the backyard right now is something I actually planted about seven years ago. I have watered it, pruned it, fertilized and spoken lovingly to it from then on, and it has given me precisely nada. It’s cousin the lemon tree has cheerfully begun providing waaaaaaay too many lemons (I’ve got about three gallons of lemon juice in the freezer from the last go-round), but my little orange tree?

It was like a recalcitrant teenager. (Aside: I can’t believe I know how to spell recalcitrant.) It sulked in the backyard, always looking somewhat pathetic no matter what I did. No matter how I pruned, primped, tied or otherwise attempted to make it look like a healthy orange tree, it just languished. Each year it bloomed, but nothing came of it. (I knew it wasn’t an ornamental, because it actually had an orange on it when I bought it.)

Well…look at this:


more oranges
(Sorry, it’s blurry…I was excited…)

The tree is covered in oranges, and frankly I’ve been kind of ignoring this tree so far this year. Obligatory citrus food every three months, that’s it.

I suspect sibling rivalry. It has a clear view of the garden beds, and I think it saw me cooing to the corn and wanted my attention back so :pop!:, out come the baby oranges.

I dragged my husband out to see. He doesn’t get out there much at all, and hadn’t seen the wild growth that has happened back there. He was duly impressed, and given the relative ease of success on this smaller, experimental patch we talked about expanding things next year.

We talked about going big enough to actually get to the point where we are making a significant dent in our food bill by growing a lot of what we need.

It’s a nice feeling. It feels like we’re wresting back a little of our own power, taking back some of our power over our own lives.

It’s a tiny step, but it feels almighty good right now.


Steph B said...

Bravo!! So glad your garden is rewarding your efforts appropriately. I am mightily impressed....seriously...all I can grow is mold. :-( And the thought of fresh citrus in my own backyard, oh, swoon! Sometimes living in Michigan is just disappointing, you know?

Leoal said...

Congrats on the garden! And I must say, as I live in Canada, the idea of a lemon or orange tree in one's yard is SO FREAKING COOL!!!

Allison said...

Awesome garden!

Louiz said...

How fantastic! We'r harvesting lettice grown on our windowsill (well, in pots on our windowsill) and it's satisfying and tasty and cheaper than shop bought. How much more satisfying must what you have be, wow!

Anonymous said...

Amazing garden. Congrats! Looks SO yummy!

Dinner at Tama's!

Another Joan said...

My garden guru would say you were being too nice to your orange tree - a little benign neglect makes them think "All is Over" and out comes the fruit to create more orange trees. Carry on ignoring it while trying to keep ahead of the zucchini!

emily10 said...

Another northerner in total awe! Enjoy those oranges :)

Science PhD Mom said...

Fantastic!! So glad everything is coming up so well for you! My garden is kind of "enh" this year--between the pregnancy and the crappy start to the growing season, things aren't looking so good for beans & carrots up here. But the tomatoes are fruiting, and my potatoes are HUGE and getting bigger. I will take what I can get. Congrats on your success!

PipneyJane said...

It's great being able to pick food from your own garden, isn't it? My garden is at least a month behind yours, but I am so looking forward to some fresh home-grown veg.

My next task is to learn how to store this bounty - my freezer is not large enough to store masses of produce. All suggestions appreciated.

- Pam

21stCenturyMom said...

You lucky girl. I have 1 less cucumber plant, 2 fewer green bean plants, no eggplant (from 2 plants), no tomatoes (4 plants) and no peppers (2 plants).

I need to bomb my yard and plant a new garden.

Bonnie said...

I'm so jealous! I think i could learn a lot from you!