Wednesday, June 30, 2010

What happened to you broccoli?

Growing an organic garden is harder than I thought it would be. Just look at my broccoli plant. Total swiss cheese! Something has been going to town on the leaves!
And for days I tried to save this plant. But it finally bit the dust. Argh! What is causing this??

I decided that I don't want to grow broccoli next year. Lesson learned. It's such a waste of space for one broccoli that might never come to fruition. My husband still wants to try it, maybe a different variety next year.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Starting to Feel Like a Bunny Rabbit

I've never been big on salads. I like them, but it's not anything I crave. Don't get me wrong, I love my veggies! I'm just more of a cook my vegetable kind of a gal, than a eat raw veggies person. However, having a garden for the first time, has inspired me to be more salad centric. Today, we had a good harvest, all things perfect for a nice organic salad.

We picked this from the garden... Our first of the season. Disappointingly small, but very tasty.

Here's the salad I made for me and the hubby. Black simpson lettuce, green leaf lettuce, carrots, cucumber, and beets and string beans which I sauteed with a bit of Olive oil, s+p and seasoning. I don't know, maybe it was the 94 degree weather or the fact that everything was pulled from the garden, but somehow this was the best salad I ever ate!!

A Veggie Garden in an Urban Restaurant

On Saturday night I went to dinner with a friend of mine to this Italian restaurant in Williamsburg Brooklyn, called Carmines Pizzeria & Restaurant II. They have a fantastic outdoor eating area, and to my surprise, they also have a fantastic vegetable garden! Here's a photo of the garden, they have basil, peppers, tomatos, and eggplant growing. So amazing that these veggies are growing in Brooklyn and being used in the food!

They also had in the backyard garden a pergola completed covered with grape vines. Unfortunately, this photo is a bit blurry, it was taken with a cellphone camera and so it had no flash. The grapes were starting to grow, they looked so cool! It was so amazing to eat al fresco with this view above us! I need to talk to the husband to build us one of these in our backyard!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Zukes, Cukes, and Beans oh my!

Today was a good day! It's blazing hot at 94 degrees! They say it will rain today! I hope so, we could use it. Went out to water the garden and I saw this cuke ready to be harvested. We grew the pickling kind of cucumber, since my friend gave me this great pickle recipe. However, I might just eat this cuke in a salad, it looks yummy.
Here is today's harvest. 9 pole beans, 1 cucumber, 1 beet and 1 zucchini! The best harvest we've had so far! So exciting!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Drooling Over Growing Veggies

It's been a few weeks since we harvested 1 pole bean from the plants. Finally, we have started seeing signs of new growth! I'm practically drooling over these beans, hopefully they will get big soon so we can harvest them. We are learning a lot about what works and doesn't in the garden. I can't wait until next year, I have so many lessons learned!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Finally some baby tomatos!

We've been watching the tomato plants like a hawk, and finally, we saw something to smile about! 3 baby roma tomatos. Oooh, this is so exciting! I can't wait until they get biggers so we can make some marinara sauce. Yummy!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Organic Gardening is Hard But Worth It!

Organic gardening was harder than we though it would be. Using no synthetic fertilizers and using no chemical pesticides was a daily battle with bugs, critters, and the natural elements. We lost many plants along the way, some to bugs eating the plants leaves and fruit. But at long last, finally a harvest to be really proud of! Our first zucchini squash! We had two zucchinis squashes that were growing great, but lost them to blossom rot. So we were feeling a little defeated. However, we've been watching the other squash and in the last few days, it grew so big so quickly! I can wait to cook up this beauty, not sure what to make yet. To know that we didn't use any chemicals to grow this plant is going to make this even more tasty! What should we make? Suggestions are welcomed.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Forgotten Photo

We have woods adjacent to our property. In the woods and along the border we see a lot of wild flowers growing. This allium was growing right on the border, encroaching on our property line. It was so pretty that I had to clip it and bring it indoors. I took this photo last month, and completely forgotten about it.
Yesterday when my husband was outside near the garden, he found a mole running around the grass. He scooped it up and released him out into the woods. Pictures of the mole are on my other blog.

Rain, Sweet Rain!

The sky finally opened up and rained. We had a good thunderstorm this evening. I love it when it rains, so the garden can get a good soaking. However, I don't particularly like it when it is a torrential downpour, it pelts the poor little transplanted seedlings, and crushes them. Hopefully in the morning, everything survived. The good news is both of our rain barrels are full now! We have collected in the barrels 95 gallons of rain water for the plants! This should last us 1 week of watering plants! Yahoo! So far this year, we have collected 269 gallons of water! It's so amazing! I love conserving and collecting water for the garden, it's addictive. The rain barrels fill up so fast, we're thinking we need at least 4 more barrels!!
If you are wondering what our rain barrel looks like, see this post here.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Little surprise!

When I went out to the garden yesterday to water the plants, I found a little surprise! The raspberry plant that we bought from Gurneys started fruiting! The plant is 1 years old, and we planted it in the garden in late March! How exciting to see fruit on it, even if it's just 2 berries. Haha!

We harvested one of the berries. It looks so sad in the bowl by itself, but it was tasty!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Very Burpee Disappointed

I'm pretty disappointed with Burpee seeds. I've had a really hard time getting them to germinate. I tried to plant lavendar, and only 2 plants germinated from seed. From the rosemary, I got nada. From the cilantro, they sprouted and immediately withered away. I never realized that herbs were so frustrating! Or is it just the Burpee seeds. Does anyone have any recommendations for seed companies that germinate pretty successfully every time?
I bought 2 packages of spearmint, and as you can see in the 2nd green pot below, there is like maybe one seed that germinated. Out of 2 seed packets!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Daily Harvest: Lettuce!

Our daily harvest lately has only been lettuce! We bought this lettuce variety pack from Gurney's that included romaine, red sails lettuce, black seeded simpson, and salad bowl. We harvest like a bowl of lettuce a day. It grows so fast!!
Currently we have the lettuce growing directly in the ground, but I want to buy a window box to plant more seeds in. Growing them in the ground is fine, however, when it rains, the dirt gets all over the leaves and some get trampled by the belting rain.
I've already started germinating some more seeds. I must say, I'm getting addicted to growing lettuce!

Happy Father's Day: Dad's will like this one!

For father's day, I thought I post some photos of the hub's new "toy". He saw this car at a Brooklyn junk yard, and he called me one day to say he had to have it. At first, I was not thrilled about the idea, but the hubs does work very hard. We have so many projects around the house, what's one more? Besides, it is awfully cool!!
The car doesn't "run". The engine starts, but it barely moves. That's why they had to bring it to our house on a flat bed truck. At least it's a good looking car!

Update: For those who were wondering, it's a 1955 Ford.

Pole beans flowering!

Some of the pole beans have been producing flowers. It's very exciting, and I'm hoping this means I'll see more beans sprouting soon! Some of the other plants have no flowers at all, hopefully they will begin to flower soon! To date, we've only harvested one whole bean from our plants. Everyone tells me that pole beans are good producers, so we shall see!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Teeny, tiny cucumber

We've had lukewarm success with cucumber plants this season. We planted 10 plants, and only 6 survived. We had a heat blast last month out of no where, and pretty much destroyed the cucumber seedlings. But the ones that did survive are doing fairly well.
Look closely. Can you see it? An itty bitty cucumber is growing!

You say tomato, I say tomato

The tomato plants are doing great. All of the sudden, they went from this...

To this!

This morning I saw that there were flowers on the bigger plants, and I even saw a teeny, tiny tomato growing. Woot, woot. We have a mixture of Romas, and a variety pack of Heirlooms growing. The variety seed pack was purchased from Gurney's and has a bunch of different kinds of heirlooms from brandywine to krim. We don't know what type we have growing until they start fruiting. So exciting!

We saw in a magazine article a garden that used post and twine instead of cages for the tomato vines to hold onto. We tried it and the plants are actually too large and heavy for the twines, so we are going to abandon this idea and get some tomato cages afterall.
In between the tomato plants is a marigold plant that I grew from seed. So nice to see it flowering! I bought this marigold seed packet of seed for only .20 cents. Sweet!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Peach no longer

We have this little peach tree in the backyard, planted by the previous owners. It's a small tree, a little under 5 feet tall. We had 8 peaches growing on the tree, and then a really windy storm blew in and literally blew off all the peaches off the tree. (sigh) How upsetting! I was really looking forward to trying the peaches. Oh well, I guess better luck next year I suppose.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

New Gardening Tools

I am so excited about my new gardening tools. I received this as a belated birthday present from my friends Tony and Fabian. I can't wait to try it out. I got a gardening apron, which is like a tool belt for gardeners. Awesome leather gardening gloves, hand tools (trowel & hand rake) and a garden kneeler! I am so excited about the kneeler thing, I'm always pulling weeds in the garden and I usually wear knee pads, this will come in handy! Hooray!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

2nd Harvest: Bean + Lettuce

I'm totally behind on blog posts. This happened a few days ago. This was our 2nd harvest so far this season. We actually got one pole bean! Woot Woot! It's very exciting. We also picked a handful of lettuce, Green leaf and arugula is in the mix. The pole beans were off to a slow start because we haven't been getting much sun, but hopefully it will take off soon.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


We received our order of Rhubarb plants from Burpee and planted them over a month ago. The 4 plants are doing great, they all have new greens growing! We won't be able to harvest the rhubarb until next year. Something to look forward to!

Pole Beans!

Since this is our first year gardening, we've spent a lot of money on start up costs, such as fencing, gardening tools, tiller, seeds, plants, etc. So we are trying to conserve money where ever possible. Instead of buying a trellis from the store, we decided to make our own by using branches we pruned from our trees in the backyard. We took 3 branches and wrapped galvanized wired around the top. They are working out great, the pole beans have begun climbing up around the branch. So awesome!
Here, is a close up photo of the green bean plant. See how the vine is reaching out to the branch. Neat!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Whoa Zucchini

This is our first year ever having a garden, so we are extremely excited to see the garden doing so well. Here are photos that I took a few days ago of the zucchini plants in the garden. I am in awe that I grew these from 20 cent seed packets that I purchased at the supermarket! The plants flowered and now have little zucchinis on it! I am totally estatic about this!

I'm already thinking about all the cool recipes I can make with this delicious squash! Yum!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Conserving Water + Growing Garden

When we received our first water bill from New York City and we were shocked to find out that for 6 months, it cost us $600! Most of the water bill was the sewer part, but it got us thinking that we should do more to conserve water. So.... we bought a rain barrel. The rain barrel catches the run off water from the gutters off the roof. We use rain to water the plants! So far, it has rained twice and we have collected 80 gallons of water! Woot, woot! Not only do we feel great about saving money, we also feel awesome about conserving water! So much that we are buying a 2nd rain barrel!

Here is a recent photo of the garden. On the left are the green beans. Then the next two rows are the potato plants. We are growing red potatoes, white potatoes and Yukon gold. Yummy!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Success! Our first harvest!

It's our first year ever having a garden, and it's been a lot of hard work. We know very little about gardening, everything we know is from what our parents taught us growing up in the suburbs. However, for the last 6 years, we've lived in Brooklyn, with no access to gardening except for our window sill. But now we have a yard and it's been an adventure. It was a lot to learn. We had to remove the sod, till the earth, build a fence, but at long last, we have success! Our first vegetable harvested! We got 7 whole radishes!
How exciting it was for us to actually pull the radishes out of the ground.

Upon doing a Google search, we learned that the radish greens are also edible!! Score, 2 vegetables for the price of one! We sauteed the greens and they are indeed delicious!!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Memorial Day, We Remember

On this day, we remember all the troops now and in the past who have sacrificed for the love of their country. For all those brave soldiers, we say thank you.

We picked up some new American flags for our flower bed. We also have flowers that we planted in red, white and blue in celebration of Memorial Day and for later in the summer, July 4th.

Something to aspire to!

Yesterday, we went to the Brooklyn Botanical Garden for my birthday. I wanted to go to get some inspiration for our garden. Boy were we inspired! The flowers are breathtaking. These photos really do not do it justice! I can't wait until next year to plant some more roses, peonies, and other perenials.

These are giant poppies we saw. They are so large, it was the size of softballs.
This is the rose garden. Absolutely spectacular! Some roses were as big as my head!

We saw some neat animals too, like this family of turtles.

And in the pond were these giant Koi, some were even bigger than Dante!

There is a birdie in this photo, can you see it?

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