Harvesting The New Garden


zucchini potatoes and tomatoes 

When I started this garden, I didn’t have high hopes. Due to several factors, I had not put a garden in the ground for years. There were the raised herb beds (self-sustaining for the most part), and I planted garlic now and again in the raised bed, and occasionally grew a tray of greens inside, but a full scale, planted-in-the-ground garden had taken a back seat to everything else going on in life. We supported, and still support, our local farm markets for the vegetables we wanted. This year, even before pandemics and stay-at-home orders, I felt the pull of growing vegetables again.

So I fenced in a 32’x32’ section of the old pig pasture (which was a 100’x100’ garden before that), did a couple of rounds of tilling, hoed trenches, and started planting. Potatoes, onions, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, and various brassicas filled the in-ground garden. Jalapeños, poblanos, and more brassicas went in the space available in the raised beds. I put down straw, said a little prayer, and hoped to get something edible at the end of it all.

The weather warmed, the weeds grew, but so did the vegetable plants! Lovely rows of onions, a tumble of potato plants, tomatoes spilling through the cages and needing retrained up the wire. The cucumbers didn’t make it (I think they were too small when I put them in), and the brassicas were enjoyed by some rogue chickens (and a plethora of cabbage worms – how had I forgotten about cabbage worms?!), but the zucchini were oozing in every direction, and the blooms on the peppers started to get my hopes up for a harvest.

close up of potatoes

It took several evenings to get the 3.5 rows of potatoes dug, but I ended up with about 10 pounds of smallish potatoes. The brassicas were a complete loss, as were the poblanos. Did you know that chickens love poblanos?! I couldn’t figure out why I had a pepper hanging there one day, and by the next day, it would be gone. Until I saw the culprit noshing away at one. They didn’t bother the jalapeños at all, so the harvest from that was about 15 peppers from 3 plants. The zucchini? That’s the one plant I knew would do well – I’ve never killed zucchini yet (knock on wood...). They are still blooming, but so far, five large zucchinis. Most of those went in the dehydrator for zuke chips.

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