I have been trying to grow a backyard garden for years now. Though we have grown some things that were edible, I can't say I've really had a lot of garden success. Every year I read and study and try to make it work. Raised beds. No raised beds. Water in the morning. Water at night. Try hybrids. Buy local seedlings. Fertilize. Compost. I have put so much effort, time, and money into it but at the end of every growing season, I feel like it was a bust.
Last year every single one of my tomato plants died for obscure reasons before I'd harvested more than a handful of tomatoes. All of my squash plants were taken by the bugs. It was discouraging.
This year I decided to do things completely differently. I am growing things I've never grown before. I started everything from seed. And I'm loving all of my little garden plants like my own children. So far, fingers-crossed-do-not-let-this-jinx-me-for-heaven's-sake, everything is going so well. Better than good. The best garden I've ever had . . . so far.
If you follow me over on Instagram, then I'm sure you've already heard my bragging. I'm just so excited about this garden!
Here's what's working in the garden right now:
For the first time ever, I am growing lettuce and it's the easiest thing to grow! It's beautiful and best of all, it tastes amazing! Feel like salad? I'll just step into the backyard and get you one. How's that for awesome? I got the Gourmet Allstar Lettuce Mix seeds from Johnny's and I just followed the instructions on the seed packet. Ta da!
We also have spinach and this is my favorite right now! I've been picking huge bowls of baby spinach leaves every other day. It's amazing. And though I think that as it gets hotter this row of spinach isn't going to keep producing, I plan to plant even more rows of this good stuff for a fall crop.
I'm growing the Emperor Spinach seeds from Johnny's and haven't had a bit of trouble. It tastes great and it's been dinner almost every night for the past few weeks.
Often the spinach just gets tossed with whatever is in the fridge and a homemade dressing. We've also been making our favorite Strawberry Bacon Spinach Salad often while we have these bounteous greens just out the patio door. Tonight I made Aimee's Spinach Salad with Grilled Strawberries - I saw it this morning and knew that it needed to be on my table right away! It was amazing. Grilled strawberries are perfectly genius! (And I did add blue cheese to the recipe as Aimee mentioned in her post - perfect!)
Coming up soon in the garden, I've got three kinds of squash (butternut, kabocha, and zucchini) as well as two full rows of green beans! The only tomatoes I'm planting this year, after last year's fruitless hard work, are cherry tomatoes, but I'm planting five of them just to be safe. We also have two kinds of cucumbers in the works right now and loads of herbs. So far, everything is looking good and surviving this crazy New Mexico weather.
I'm just so pleased with how it's going so far. Already, this early in the game, we've eaten more from our backyard garden than any previous year. I've already got seeds for the fall garden too!
How about you - are you growing a garden this year? Tell me about it? What are your favorite things to grow? to eat?
Congrats on your flourishing garden this year! It's definitely a struggle, but I have found success with some things and am still working on others. We are in NY are our season is short. But for the past few years my family does well with tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers, carrots, lettuces and tons of herbs. For the life of me I can't find much luck with onions or strawberries. I'm hoping to expand a little more this year as we are adding more boxes and planting more.
I like to do slightly raised boxes, they'e a little easier to tend to it seems. It's great you are already harvesting, we've only been able to plant in the last 2 weeks and won't be harvesting much until later July. Good luck! Gardening is a labor of true love!
What great lettuce success! That's something I never managed. I just couldn't get the thinning and harvesting right before it turned all wet and mouldy on me.
Ha! My post this week is all about gardening too. It wonderful to it all growing and happening and to get the kids, or in my case, my son involved. I'm not particularly green fingered though and leave everything to my husband he does an amazing job, whilst I cook with our bounty. So job.
Thanks for showing off you lettice pics 😉
I have wanted to start my own garden for such a long time! When I was little we grew grapes, pears, pomegranates, cucumbers, apricots, and tomatoes. I hope to fill a garden with all those things and more someday. Good luck with the rest of it!