I woke up early this morning. It felt like Christmas or maybe my birthday. Today was harvest day! This year I planted my first garden. It was small but it was organic and vegan. For the past several weeks I have been able to go outside and snip a little basil or rosemary to chop up for dinner. Not much later I started gathering a few kale leaves every day and the past couple of weeks I have had fresh tomatoes almost every evening mingled in with a few very tangy fried green tomatoes. Heaven.
But today was the big day. While I have pulled a few carrots, today I harvested the remainder and all my potatoes. Digging into the earth I had no idea what I would find. Potatoes can be a mystery. Unlike tomatoes or kale that proudly let you see when they are ready, potatoes and carrots are a bit more shy.
So how did my first organic, vegan garden turn out?
Strawberries: I only got a very few berries but the plants have taken over and have vined out and sprouted up new plants among everything else in the garden! I had no idea they would do that. But friends have told me that next year I should get a good crop of berries.
Basil & Rosemary: I planted regular basil and Thai basil. Both did amazing and the Thai basil produced the most beautiful purple tops. The rosemary has done wonderful but I planted too close to the tomatoes.
Kale: sadly my curly kale was taken over by my tomato plants but my dinosaur kale grew huge. I’m surprised by that since the snails did get to them a few times. I wanted to be completely organic and vegan but I didn’t ever find a really effective way to keep the snails out of the garden. Yet, I did still manage to get a very nice quantity of kale.
Carrots: I learned that I need to do two things, make sure I am spacing them better and to harvest a little earlier. I ended up with some very small carrots where I planted to closely and also some really freakishly big guys. Not sure how the big ones are going to taste.
Potatoes: I tried the growing in a barrel (or in my case a bag) method. It was so easy. The purple fingerling potatoes really produced a good number of potatoes while the other potatoes could have waiting a little longer before harvest. Like with the carrots I think my spacing was a bit off. Still, for my first year not a bad crop.
Tomatoes: I planted 2 varieties this year. One was beefstake and the other a smaller tomato but I’m not sure of the variety. The smaller ones are turning red while the beefstake are still growing in size. I admit, a few have been sacrificed for fried green tomatoes. Right now I have what I consider an amazing number of tomatoes on the vines. I don’t think I could be happier with how these are turning out.
So overall, gardening has been a wonderful experience that got me outside enjoying my backyard more and became kind of my way to unwind from my fast paced work life and slowdown a bit.
The seeds for my winter garden arrived a few weeks ago. Next up winter spinach, onions, and garlic.