Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It's a Jungle Out There!

Not this year! After 3 years of so so gardens (and one total failure), with more weeds than produce, we finally have a garden worth posting about. 3rd time's a charm, right?

2011: I was 8 months pregnant and swollen to the size of, let's not go there. The last half of the season I had a newborn attached to my boob. Initially I had thoughts, visions really, of Rowan in a Moby wrap, sleeping peacefully while I hummed lullabies and pulled weeds. Visions...aren't those for crazy people? Really, kudos to the moms who can cuddle a newborn in the crook of her arm all while cooking a 4 course meal (complete with dessert), polishing the silver, and tending to the garden. It's just not in the cards for me. Even if I did manage to do those things, it would be at the expense of another little wannabe stuck in a tree somewhere, or sneaking upstairs with those evil little things called markers, or decorating my living room window with stickers. Lots of them. No thanks. I think we managed to salvage potatoes that year.

2012: Rowan is now closer to a year old. Old enough to be outside more, content in his saucer or playpen while I planted, weeded, pruned, and harvested....right? Right. Except that Iowa became Mosquitoville that summer. We couldn't be outside even on the most beautiful of evenings. It was MISERABLE. Then the drought hit. Days upon days of high heat and no rain, with some towns enforcing watering bans. So for one reason or another, over the course of the summer our garden was left to fend for itself. Early on, we had a good amount of lettuce. We also had a few good tomatoes, onions, and potatoes. Hey, better than the previous year!

2013: Determined not to let this year's garden fall to the wayside, we have actually done pretty well! For starters, we didn't plant a hundred varieties of every vegetable under the sun. I admit, I'm a bit notorious for biting off more than I can chew. I just get so excited! This year we stuck to the basics: potatoes, onions, a few pepper plants, a few varieties of tomatoes, cucumber, and green beans (I planted peas and carrots, but they never came up). I planted my herbs in an old wagon rather than out in the garden. And so far so good! Rowan wants to pick EVERYTHING, ready or not. Solved that problem, or at least minimized it, by giving him free picking with the cherry tomatoes. If they are red, he picks (and eats), and my jalapenos stay right where they are. He also loves to help pull weeds and water. Ugly as it may be, we piled newspaper around the plants once they were established, and that has made a world of difference as far as weeds go (no chemicals here). I have a worm issue to figure out with one of my tomato plants, but everything else is thriving! Only a few green bean and cucumber plants came up, and we kept to a minimum on everything else. I'd rather have a small, successful garden than have a huge one go to waste. Lesson learned.

Of all the plants, Paige is the most excited for her cucumbers. Last year, we would gets bags and bags at a local Farmer's Market, and I taught her to make refrigerator pickles. She had so much fun with it, and gave jars to friends, grandparents, aunts and uncles, her dad. We had enough here to last up until about 2 months ago. This year, she decided to start her own "business", Picklin' Paige, and make a little money. Fine by me, and her "customers" are (patiently?) waiting. Found these babies in the garden last night....almost time!

We plan to take some photos and blog about our pickling. The recipe I taught her, and that I will share with you, is for sweet refrigerator pickles (which I normally do not like, but these are DELICIOUS). No canning required! Does anyone have a dill pickle recipe they would like to share? If so, I would love to hear it!

Happy Wednesday!

Mrs. Wannabe

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