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Garden Update – “How Does Your Garden Grow?”

It was a great weekend at Lana’s Cooking headquarters (a.k.a. Nana and BeeBop’s house). Saturday morning I drove up to Jae-Mor Farms Market which is just a little north of Gainesville and had a great time browsing and buying wonderful fresh produce. Brought home some of the sweetest strawberries I’ve had in a long time. They’re in the pot right now waiting to be canned as preserves later today! Also brought home some cukes, fresh okra and Amish-made butter.

While I was looking over the okra, a lady asked me how I cooked mine. I told her I like it all different ways, but my favorite is with tomatoes and onions. She looked really puzzled and asked me if that was some kind of soup. I started explaining the recipe to her which seemed to confuse her even more, so I just pulled out one of my blog cards and told where to look online to find my recipe. She shouted, “Wow, ya’ll! She’s a blogger!” Funny!

By the way, the okra was fried this time. And let me tell you something – it was fantastic! It will be making an appearance here very soon.

BeeBop spent Saturday afternoon mulching and cleaning garden and flower beds. Everything looks so neat and nice right now! He’s a hard worker, that BeeBop. Let me share some photos of what our garden is looking like right about now.

We don’t need a large garden – it’s just the two of us – so BeeBop built me some planting boxes into a hillside in our back yard. That’s A and Mag’s play area on the right. The planter boxes are on the left, back behind them are blueberry bushes and further back is a lovely swing under a shady arbor.

A side view of the planter boxes. The height makes working in the garden much easier!

This year’s tomatoes include one red beefsteak, one yellow, one striped and one…I don’t remember!

The garden peppers – one each sweet green, red and yellow. I like variety. Also, a new to me hot pepper. It’s supposed to be long and red with medium heat. That’s just the way I like them.

Of course we have a couple of yellow squash and several cucumbers. The trellis is already set for them to climb right on up as they grow.

Both the cucumbers and squash are already blooming. Now, if I can just keep the deer out of them! Last year they ate nearly my entire crop of squash and zucchini. Made a mess in the planters, too. That’s why I have the marigolds all around the edges. I read somewhere that deer dislike the scent and will stay away. We’ll see!

There’s also some zucchini in there, but somehow I didn’t get a photo of them. Oh, well, you know what zucchini look like!

A quick look at the blueberries. They’re loaded right now. And I need to come up with some way to keep the birds and deer off of them when they start turning color. Any ideas?

Now, I don’t just plant in the boxes. I have much more in pots on the deck. Let me show you.

I have a beautiful patio peach tree in a huge pot. There’s a bumper crop of peaches on there this year, but I don’t really know how to take care of them. Gonna have to do some research on them.

Also, a pot with a Sweet 100 tomato and a jalapeno pepper together. There’s a tiny baby jalapeno on there and it’s full of blooms. I like to mix plants in the same container. One of my favorite combinations is a orangey-red cherry tomato with purple petunias. Makes a gorgeous pot!

Also on the deck is this bush tomato. It’s meant for growing in a pot and is supposed to remain somewhat compact. First time trying this one. I’ll let you know how that works out.

Moving on around the deck I have a long planter with  mixed mesclun lettuces and radishes. This is my second crop of those this year. Easiest things I’ve ever grown.

On the other end of the planter is this pretty Ashley lettuce. It has a lovely red tone. Should be ready to cut in a few days.

Don’t forget the herbs! There’s a small rosemary, a spearmint and a strawberry jar full of oregano and sage that overwintered and is starting to revive now.

More herbs. Thyme, basil, dill (poor dill – I almost drowned it), pineapple sage and oregano.

And, last but not least, chives! That pot of chives moved here with us nearly three years ago. It was already about five years old then. And this year it has just gone crazy! I’m trying to think of ways to use them so if you have any great recipes using chives, please let me know.

So, there you have it. A tour of our little backyard garden.

Do you plant a garden? If you do, what are your favorite plants?

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  1. I just stumbled across your lovely space here and am so inspired!

    We recently relocated, and I left a pretty garden behind. Now I am trying to find the time and energy to start fresh. I think this summer I’ll stick to pot and planters on the deck, though. Yours look so good! How do you get them to thrive like that??

    1. Thanks, Aimee! I really don’t do anything special. Just make sure they get plenty of water because the pots do dry out faster. Also, I swear by Miracle-Gro. That stuff is magic!

  2. I LOVE living in the city, but these photos are making me want a house with some land in a major way. Some day! Your yard is beautiful :)

  3. I love how thriving your garden is. I wish I lived in a place with a backyard. I a little green thumb myself and I love to plant stuff.

  4. As to deer prevention … at the place where I get my hair cut, and where you go when you are in my “neck of the woods” there is a special trash can with a lid. Written on top is “HUMAN HAIR ONLY, SAVE FOR ANN”

    Or, I think it’s Ann. Anyway, when they sweep the floor, Ann comes and gets the hair, and spreads it all around her yard to keep the deer at bay. They say it works.

    Be forewarned – If you get any of that hair, spread it quickly and as far away from your house as you can. If you happen to take some, thinking that you will put it on your garden, and just happen to forget that it’s in your car, the mice will climb automobile sized mountains to get to it and eat it. And, they leave really stinky reminders of their visit. Voice of experience.

    Needless to say, the deer were playing nicely in my back pasture yesterday.

    Miss P

    1. Ewwww. Mice. Nothing in the world I despise more than a mouse. Nasty little things. If one got in my car, I’d just go on and trade it for a new one. Yuck.

      Thanks for the warning :-)

  5. So pretty, and you certainly have reason to be proud of your garden. I’m envious, since mine (with a winter hiccup) has been underway for 6 months now and is looking tatty and pooped in preparation for its summer hiatus. Love you story about, and approach to, cooking okra. Yum!

    1. I don’t think I’ve had okra any way that I didn’t like. Fried, boiled, stewed…it’s all good.

  6. Your garden is beautiful and all your herbs are so big and healthy. Everything around here is pretty small still. I would love to sit out among the plants and sip ice tea! Of course with a sprig of mint!

  7. Just gorgeous! I’m a garden rookie but I’m already impatient for next year so I move beyond containers and out into the yard. I need room for okra and squash!

    1. I’ve seen all those beautiful photos you’ve been sharing on Twitter, Karen! Your garden looks great to me. You’re way ahead of us here in North Georgia!

  8. Beautiful! I spent the weekend planting my garden, as well. LOVE it. It will be months before my tomatoes and everything else gets that big, though…can’t wait. I plant mostly heirloom varieties of everything…I love green zebra tomatoes and lemon cucumbers best, I think…

  9. I am GREEN with envy! I would love to have a garden exactly like yours!!! Unfortunately it would wither in the heat and be lonely when we are gone during the year. One of these days . . . . . .