Thursday, August 1, 2013

Gardening 101

Ha!!! 101, 102, 103…. I could go on. This year was our first attempt at Gardening, and of course this family cannot do anything 101, it was 1001, HUGE! Well huge for a first garden. 

I figured we ended up with 30+ tomato plants with 6 different varieties, we had 20 cucumber plants, 8 Jalapeno plants, 20+ green pepper plants, 40+ green beans, 8 Okra, 10 sunflowers, 15 corn, 8+ zucchini and squash and a few potatoes. 

 Let me start by saying Mr Man and I got the garden out WAY too late. We did not realize this until things started to get sun scorch and we thought we lost a bunch, most made an ok comeback.
Sun scorch was not our only issue, our first batch of cucumbers were wonderful, I made about 7 quarts of different types of refrigerator pickles. 

Bread and Butter Pickles 
But then something odd started happening, I would notice these slimy little of piles next to my baby cukes. Turns out, we had an invasion of the pickle worm. In case you are wondering what they look like, go here: Pickle Worms. The pickle worm is the work of pickle worm moth that comes at night and lays it’s eggs and enters the pickles when they are small but really any size. The cuke is ruined for the most part. There really is no cure for this, except to plant in cooler months; they are most prevalent in June and July in Florida. Note to self: next spring we will plant cukes in late February.

Cukes top left, Jalapenos bottom left,  Okra bloom top right, Green Pepper center right and Okra bottom right

Our green beans produced within 2 weeks, we got about 4 nice bunches before the heat destroyed them. Same note to self: plant earlier!

Our tomatoes seemed to have taken forever. We have had aphids, hornworms, a few unknown caterpillars and pesky green grasshoppers. 

Tomato Horn Worm

The larger tomatoes we used to make (of course) BLTS, so YUM! The smaller tomatoes produced lots, I have used them to make 4 batches of bruschetta. 

My recipe for bruschetta is super simple and so delicious.  Please feel free to click and print the link below to add to your collection 

I have had about 40 jalapenos so far and the obvious thing to do with them was make poppers, but those would be gone in one meal! So I decided to make jam with them. I made Raspberry/Jalapeno, Peach/Jalapeno and Blueberry/Jalapeno. They have netted me about 21 jars. Not too shabby! We are not done with the Jalapenos, we have LOADS more to harvest. 

The green peppers are just now starting to produce, the plants still have not gotten very tall, about 1 ½ feet or so. Again, heat.

The corn was a big flop, we may yield 2 ears in the end, heat and caterpillars. 
The sunflowers are so pretty. 

My daughter took this one in the garden, how beautiful with the bee!

The zucchini and squash were a bust, I do have 3 squash growing now. From what I understand, the bees don’t like the heat and do not pollinate well in the summer.

The potatoes also, heat, no good.
The Okra was awesome and so beautiful  The blooms are a magnificent display of God's paint palette (pictured above).

We did everything organic, all pest control and feeding. We used rubbing alcohol in large mouth containers all around the garden to plop the bugs in. I am certainly a garden ninja. Make no mistake, I am screaming all the while using my ninja skills to pick the bugs off of the plants and getting them into the jar. I sound like darth vader as I say “diiiiiiiie”. I often hope I am not being taped, I would hate to watch myself back as I attempt to assassinate these creatures.
We are defiantly going to try again in the fall. I loved every moment, I keep telling everyone that it was cheap therapy.
Here is a one day harvest from our garden:

We are going to expand next spring. I can’t wait.

I encourage you to try your hand at a couple of container plants or a full blown garden, they taste so good knowing you had a hand in them.
Peace, Love and EnJoy

Please feel free to check out a great blog on homesteading. You will love it!


  1. We started our garden from seeds they are just know growing buds. We have cucumbers onions okra tomatoes broccoli lettuce and more I am sure we have a little over 60 days to harvest. Putting them in ground this week end wish us luck. Its our first garden as well. Yours look amazing. Any secrets on how to make the jam? And how to can the cucumbers so I can pickle them. Your sunflower made my day. Its beautiful.

    1. Yes, I will be posting info on the jams and pickles. Jam takes patience. The refrigerator pickles are super easy. Keep an eye out for my next post!!
      Good luck with your garden, take pleasure in it all, even the bugs! The moment you stop enjoying it, it will become a chore. Stay on top of it, Make rounds daily for the bugs. Become familiar with them so that you know which are bad and good.
      The sunflowers makes my day too!!