I am very new to gardening but have been enjoying it so much this year. Last year I bought a hot pepper plant from the farmer’s market, planted it in the garden and never did anything to it. I got at least 100 peppers out of it. It was so easy! I have been keeping herbs in planters for a couple years as well, and again I don’t do anything (no watering no fertilizers etc) and have fresh herbs all summer. That was enough to convince me that I should try real gardening, even if I might have to learn a few things. So far I find herbs were the easiest to grow and they come back each year too.
This year I wanted to do tomatoes so that I could make my homemade salsa, tomato puree and tomato sauces. I also wanted to plant more pepper plants, some onions, and cilantro to go in the salsa. A booth at the farmers market had a ‘salsa mix’ of pepper plants, with 2 hot, 2 medium and 2 sweet plants. So, I planted 6 pepper plants, 3 in planters and 3 in the garden. I then planted 8 tomato plants since the girl at the farmer’s market was selling them in plots of 8. I have no idea how many I will end up with, but I figured if I kill one or two plants at least I’ll get something! I’ll probably be hating myself in a few weeks for this…
One thing I noticed was how different plants grow in containers vs garden. Above is a photo of a tomato plant (behind) and pepper plant (front) in the garden. Below is a photo of the same plants, but in containers. The tomato plant is at least a few inches taller. The pepper plant in the pot is at least twice the size of the one in the garden. I think from now on I’ll be planting more in containers.
I planted some onion and carrot seeds in rows between the plants in the garden. Some of it has been dug up already by birds eating the seeds, but I think I should get some growing soon. I had put down cabbage and carrot seeds last year and only got one giant carrot and one tiny carrot out of it. I think I do better with plants that are already started.
We also made the discovery this week that the tree in our backyard is a cherry tree. The previous owners said it was a pear tree, but the neighbour kept saying it was a cherry tree. It was infested with bugs last year and had less than half the normal amount of leaves. We thought it might even die. It bloomed earlier this spring for the first time in its life.
I have a feeling the reason it was so sick last year was because of 2 wild rose bushes the previous owners had planted in the garden. The bushes were enormous and I think they attracted bugs to the yard. We removed the bushes last year (using a saw, ax and a lot of muscle) and weeded everything. This year the tree and garden seemed a lot healthier. This week it was full of nice, ripe, juicy cherries.
We had a bit of a hard time figuring out how to pick them since most were at the top. We borrowed a ladder and pole from our neighbour, and attached a garden tool to the end as a hook to pull branches closer to us.
Hong climbed up on the fence and his mom was on the ladder. I climbed in the tree but couldn’t reach most of them because they weren’t anywhere close to the middle.
In the end we got a LOT of cherries and I was very happy!
I made some delicious cherry clafoutis with a recipe from Nourishing Gourmet. The recipe uses coconut flour which I prefer over almond flour. It’s such a simple dish, just cherries in a pie plate, covered with a batter made from coconut flour, eggs, honey, salt, baking soda (in place of powder) and butter (in place of coconut oil). Yum!