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.
How about you - are you growing a garden this year? Tell me about it? What are your favorite things to grow? to eat?