7.26.2012

Three Bean Salad


I have been wanting to write a post on this for a while, but I was sure that the non-gardeners will be totally bored, so I have been holding off. However, this year, whether you know it or not, I tried vegetable gardening for the first time. In case you too are a new gardener (I have had house plants for years and they have always flourished but this is my first food garden) I thought I would talk a little bit about the garden and some of the snags I have run into so far.

First, let me say that this post is to celebrate the fact that I have food. Three beans, to be exact! So, although a three bean salad may be a little small, I am very excited that I have made something that is edible! I made food with my own hands! I also have eaten basil, cilantro and chives from my little garden so far! It's very exciting.

Let's start off by saying what I started off with. I started seeds on May 14: cucumbers (bush), zucchini, tomatoes (bush), beets, butter lettuce, spinach, eggplant (bush), tri-colored beans (bush), cilantro, parsley, basil, chives, squash, scallions, southwestern pepper trio, carrots & dill.

So far I have killed: the cucumber, both lettuces and the dill. So I am 13 - 4. Maybe that's not Superbowl worthy, but it's not too bad.

The details: Most of my plants are in 8" pots. I bought them at the $1 aisle in Target and poked holes in the bottoms. The cherry tomato and the squash are in cardboard boxes lined with plastic shopping bags (with holes poked in the bottom). I used Miracle Grow potting soil and Renee's Garden Seeds.

Peppers, Squash, Cherry Tomatoes

What's going wrong? I think my worst fault is OVER watering. I know. In fact, the cucumber started "wilting" so I watered it. It wilted some more; I gave it more water... when my squash also started "wilting" I realized that since they grow along the ground, all they were doing was bending down so they could grow! Oops! Also, my squash leaves started yellowing. A couple days without water did the trick!

I was paranoid, since I am growing everything in containers, that the plants would not get enough water. I read that they dry out more quickly since they are getting sun from all sides. However, I still ended up giving them too much water. I think (correct me if I am wrong!) that tomatoes need more water than many of the other veggies, but many of them need to be left alone once in a while! Too much "care" was killing them!

I also should have used bigger pots. Some of the plants are much smaller than they should be and I am afraid that my bush tomatoes may not bear fruit, since the cherry tomatoes I put in the box are flowering right now and they were planted afterward. 

What's going right? I also read that watering will wash out many of the nutrients, so I recently added a bit of miracle grow, which really perked everything up! This also beefs up the argument against over watering. Since then, I have been watering with "coffee ground tea", which is just the coffee grounds mixed into a couple of gallons of water.

Zucchini

Where do we stand? After about 2 months, like I said, I have harvested basil, green beans, chives and cilantro. I have no cherry tomato fruits, but the plant is getting big and bushy and I just got flowers, so it's only a matter of time! I have squash flowers (tons!). The eggplant, beets and peppers are still just leaves.


Do you have a garden? Or a green thumb? Do plant posts bore you?

6 comments:

  1. I think you are doing great! My plants were doing great, but then I went on vacation and left them with my friend. She took awesome care of them, but the moving back and forth between environments with different amount of sun was hard on them. My cousin that worked in a greenhouse warned me about this... My romaine overgrew when I was gone and was not edible when I got back, so I am starting over with that. My green peppers are doing well, I've eaten some roma's and I have another breed of tomatoes that are growing. So I am doing pretty good, but my tomato plants don't look right... Maybe I am overwatering, too? It's so hard to know!

    All in all I am really glad I did this as it's been fun to watch everything grow - and eating tomatoes I raised is fun! :)

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  2. I have a huge garden. Love your three beans! I find gardening relaxing.

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  3. Congrats on getting a garden off and running this year! I would love to have one, but our yard is so shady, it's impossible. We do have blueberry bushes though!

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  4. I think it sounds like you're doing great! Some years my plants seem to need more water, sun, space than others. You never can tell. I like to record where I bought the plants or the seeds because sometimes I think the quality and early care of the plant just wasn't great and I'll buy them from somewhere else the next year. Growing stuff is kind of fun though- especially when things start actually working!

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  5. I think the squash and tomato flowers mean that the fruit/veggies are coming. I never heard anything about coffee tea. That sounds good.

    I suck at gardening. I have this beautiful patch of garden in my yard and suck at getting it going. I need to plant some super easy things and just let it go.

    Great job.

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  6. My garden is pretty small - a little 6x3 raised bed that Pete made for me two summers ago. I have five tomato plants that are coming along and some zuchinni that is getting bigger. The lettuce is done now. I just sort of try it and see if it works, but don't know that I really know what the heck I'm doing. :) I also use starts and don't plant from seeds up. I don't think I would ever have a garden if I had to start everything from seed.

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Thanks for commenting! Any suggestions, tips or praise you have is always welcome!