Saturday, October 31, 2009

Garden on the Deck: Retrospective

Habaneros from the deck garden (taken 10/5/09).

When I was young, my dad used to plant bulbs in the Fall that would come up every year, out in the backyard. And I remember the distinct smell of my homegrown tomatoes, picked from my grandparents' giant garden. That was really, as close as I had ever been to 'gardening.'

This year's deck garden was a first attempt to grow anything other than a house plant. I have to thank my friend Elizabeth for getting me started with so many lended pots and buckets, gifted spinach starters, sweet pea seeds, and guidance for how to get things growing. I had no idea how much I would enjoy the process (or that Chris and I both would appreciate eating things we had grown). And oh the tomatoes.
April 14, 2009 (above): In my mind, the garden is finished already. I've planted a few things and I don't know what I'm doing, so I figure I should start off small.
May 17, 2009 (above): A month passes and things are growing. Maybe this won't be as difficult as I imagined? The spinach explodes and we eat it. The peas are climbing the banister and all of our starters from Casey Farms are doing great. I'm hooked. I go back to Elizabeth for more containers -- this time, giant buckets for the tomatoes. I convert one of our laundry bins into a container for the last tomato plant.
June 28, 2009 (above): Another month passes and the back deck is nothing but green. Veggies growing full blast and we can't seem to use the basil fast enough. We'll have enough pesto in the freezer for the whole winter. Chris plants hot peppers and I learn about bolting. At some point I start collecting & drying spinach and cilantro seeds (below), for next spring.
Cilantro Seeds (7/25/09).
August 16, 2009 (above & below): In July and August the deck looks more like a jungle than a deck, and we're overwhelmed with incredibly dense and flavorful tomatoes. I resort to freezing tomatoes whole, to make sauce at a later date.
Jungle Deck, 8/16/09.
September 5, 2009 (above): Even in September and October, new veggies are appearing -- a single regular pepper (the jalapenos don't survive) and as of 10/31, we're still getting little fat crisp habaneros (top photo). The red onions look great, but I have no idea when to pull them up.
October 5, 2009 (above): We finally pull up the red onions and they're perfect. They went right into a salad - it would've been a shame to cook onions grown in the garden. I assume it's over - there's nothing left, right?
October 31,2009 (above): Can you believe I took this picture today? Our last tomatoes, still making a go for it, despite the freezing temps this month. As soon as they loosen up on the vine, I'll bring them in, to ripen indoors. Truly amazing. And this may be the only time I've ever said, I can't wait until spring.