There’s always those first few weeks to a month after you get your garden ready, your seeds sown, and you sit back and wait. And wait. And wait. Impatiently, you check the dirt for little buds. You wonder if you should put more seeds in. You water and cross your fingers and hope.
Then there’s a sprout. And another. Soon your plot is full of little sprouts, some bigger than others, growing up and filling out. You notice an appreciable difference on a week to week basis.
Then, one week, the garden explodes. And it just keeps exploding and your watermelon vine is growing a foot a day and your squashes are gaining pounds by the hour. It’s amazing and chaotic and I never cease to be surprised.
We had two tomato plants, but we appear to be down to one. Unfortunately, it looks like the weird yellowing disease that has hit a number of other tomato plants in our area has taken down one of ours, too. But not before it could throw out a bunch of tomatoes. Now we have our eye on the remaining plant, hoping that it doesn’t catch the same bug.
Since our tomatillo plants never actually sprouted, we started some sunflowers inside and planted them on Sunday. I hope they do okay – we keep trying for wildflowers, but nothing ever sprouts. Either that or the birds keep getting ’em.
The amaranth is coming along nicely. We weren’t going to plant it again this year, but then I decided I needed more greens and it would be helpful to have a solid, upright plant for the watermelon to ramble around. From previous experience, I know this guy will triple in height. Its leaves taste like a nutty spinach, but are high in omega-3’s, so it’s good to not over indulge.
They do make an excellent pesto, though.
We took the tomato cage on which the zucchini plant was supposed to crawl and used it for the watermelon instead. The zucchini is just sort of shooting upward instead of sprawling like our last squash, so it really didn’t need a cage. We put the watermelon around the cage just a week ago and already it has completely engulfed it. Here’s hoping it grows upwards instead of trying to take over our neighbors’ plots.
The teeny watermelons look just like gooseberries right now.
Then there’s our okra which is not doing so well. It knicked at the base during one of the last windstorms, but is still growing. Considering it needs a strong base to support its tall structure, I don’t think it will grow much further. But we’ll see – plants do strange and amazing things.
Beside the okra is a volunteer basil, which – despite our overabundance of basil last summer – is fully welcomed. I was just thinking it’d be nice to have basil for our tomatoes and summer drinks. Basil lemonade, by the way, is a-maz-ing.
Our strawberries were a whimsical purchase on our part and we planted them under the big leaves of the zucchini plant, where they are doing well and avoiding the worst of the heat. Considering it will be hitting 100 consistently this week, this is important. We have little lettuces under those leaves which should probably be harvested soon; we’re just lazy.
Last, but not least, our lovely zucchini. Learning from last year, we planted three zucchinis and gave two of them away. One zucchini plant is way more than enough for just the two of us. Squashes are prolific producers, which is both a blessing and curse. On the one hand, you can always count on having squash. On the other, you’re always having squash.
Thankfully, we discovered zucchini noodles, which go with everything and quickly reduce an 8lb pile of zucchini to something edible and manageable. We’re still on the lookout for recipes, though. For those of you facing a plethora of squash: baba ghannouj made with zucchini instead of eggplant is apparently a thing: mama ghannouj. It is super easy and super delicious. Not quite AIP friendly because of the tahini, but if you can eat seeds, go for it.
This is our third season gardening, and it’s still a surprise each time. Much like TTC, weirdly: you just never know how it’s going to go, and there’s only so much you can do to influence it.