Garden Update: First Harvest and Summer Planting

A month of so ago, I shared about our garden. We hope to eventually grow the large majority of the produce we eat, but in the mean time, we started small. Jesse tilled up a 12×12 area in the backyard which we originally planned to expand. But, I read that the biggest mistake beginner gardeners make is going too big too soon. So, we opted to keep the garden within the 12×12 area with the exception of a small strip we made for the tomatoes and bell peppers.

Since this is all brand new for me and a very exciting journey, I wanted to share a garden update since we recently gathered our first harvest and planted a few more rows of summer veggies!

First Harvest

So, in March, we bought some vegetables to go ahead and get in the ground while it was still cool. We planted broccoli, cauliflower, red and green cabbage, collards, bell peppers, and tomatoes.

The cauliflower did not make it as it was already too hot for it to grow, but this past week, we harvested the broccoli. It felt so rewarding to go out to the garden and pick what I needed for dinner one night. We are still waiting on the cabbage and collards to fully mature, but they are big and beautiful. While we planted and watered the plants, it is still a miraculous process to watch as the food grows.

I never realized how little I knew about vegetables until now. I had no idea how any of it grew or how to know when to harvest each one. So, this is a big learning experience for me, and I love that! For instance, did you know that broccoli flowers if left on the stalk? I didn’t!

Summer Planting

When we planted those plants in the ground, we planted a whole bunch of seeds to start vegetables inside. They all did really well growing inside. But, we waited too long before planting them in the ground so we lost a lot of the seedlings in that process. That is part of the reason we decided to stick with the smaller plot and expand next season.

For now, we have squash and zucchini, beets, and onions. I planted cucumber and okra seedlings in the garden, but they did not take root. We plan to buy some small plants to fill in the gaps so we still have a large yield this summer.

Sustainable Food

The process of growing food has already been so rewarding, and we’ve barely reaped anything yet. Though I have a lot to learn and plenty of rows to weed, there is something so satisfying about having a complete knowledge of the food we are eating.

I have a basket of broccoli heads in the refrigerator. I plan to freeze some then cook the rest. Figuring out the best way to use the vegetables we grow will be a large focus for me this summer. I want to eat them fresh, but I also want to freeze and preserve a large portion as well. Of course, I don’t have experience doing any of it so this is all one large experiment. But, I am excited to learn. Now, I better go weed some rows!

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