Something Beautiful or Humorous: Apples that Eli painted

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Garden Envy

When we were out in Utah, I couldn't believe how beautiful my sister's vegetable garden was. It's a dream I just couldn't achieve out here. In Utah, they have 1) big yards. Yeah, that helps. 2) Sun, sun, sun! Things just bloom and bloom and bloom because once you add irrigation, it's vegetable heaven. 3) My sister is able to hire someone to come and weed! 4) I just don't hear stories of them fighting the squirrels, groundhogs, birds, and bugs. (Sometimes a curse that our home backs into woods!) 5) They decided to go for the gold and read books about it and do everything by the book. Maybe that would be more effective than winging it, like we sometimes do with our plants. They've got tarp over some of it, and nets over some of it, and it's elevated

so they can use fancy soil, and my gosh, it's beautiful. I am now regretting I didn't take a picture of it. Because it's a pretty exotic sight if you live in Northern Virginia.

I should have taken a picture of just the produce alone! Buckets of apples, tomatoes, onions, zucchini, melons, strawberries, I'm sure I'm forgetting 5 or 10 vegetables that they have out there. Remembering the zucchini that I saw at my sister's house that was longer and thicker than my forearm, I was laughing so hard when I harvested this cabbage from our back yard. It was the size of my fist!!!!! I tried to put a few baby carrot slices in the photo, just to give you a size reference.

The last 5 years that we've owned a house with a little yard, I've vascillated between enthusiastic planting of all the produce that I could arrange, and temptation to just give up. This year we tried a few new things, and a few tried and true. Tomatoes agree with our yard. If I wanted to, I could plant a CRAZY amount of tomato plants and torture myself by learning to can them, etc. But I think it was wise to stick with one small plant. It was the perfect amount to stick in our salads these last few months, and I think the cold weather will soon finish the plant off.
We tried green beans a few years ago in our back yard, and I think it would have been an amazingly beautiful and prolific plant. But a rabbit or a squirrel or something ate the leaves off the plant. Every time the plant would grow new beautiful leaves, the next morning, I would look out the window and just see bare naked stems. This year, I put the beans in the front yard and it worked great for a while, early in the season, then I think some bugs attacked it, and that was the end of that.

I tried herbs for a while, too. We had some success with parsley (succeptible to bugs, though!) and basil, but the cilantro, I just can't keep alive. Peppermint backfired on me because the plant jumped out of the planter, and now I have peppermint growing all over my entire back yard where there should be grass.

Oh, we do have a beautiful blueberry bush. But I actually forget that it's there, because the entire harvest is basically bird food. I guess we need a net. And a weeder, and a sunnier climate, and... and... and...

Also here's a link for you. The soup I made with our pee wee cabbage was a delicious, easy vegetable soup. But I can't give you the recipe!! It comes from the menu I subscribe to at So here's another link (below) where you can get a free sample menu, or subscribe if you want (if you use any of my links, I get a tiny commission.) On the site, you could also get a few downloads (they have freezer menus, where you can put together a bunch of meals at once, a menu of 10 dinners under $10, a menu that's a bunch of dinners from all non-perishable items- in case of emergency type thing, they have a salad menu, soup menu, lunches, breakfasts, even a detox menu... I love, love, love this website, and own all of the downloads I described & many more. Especially since you can count on the ingredients consisting of a lot of whole foods, not having high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fat & other yucky processed ingredients that are bad for you & your family.)


Dianah said...

Natalie. We went out to Utah this past Summer, I saw my sister's garden. I can't believe how much she can get to grow! For weeks maybe over a month after I saw her, she was telling me all the stuff that she was, did, and had to can. I guess they have a good, cheap, non-preservative healthy food storage.

Michele said...

I live in Utah and can't grow a dang thing. I have no gardening skills. I always think that it was easier to garden when I lived back east. I guess the grass is always greener. . . but then grass here is a whole new topic. These sprinkler systems are a pain.