My 3rd year of gardening!
Gardening is something I have enjoyed this year so much more than the first 2 years I tried. I thought it was going to be so easy – it’s a little more involved than just planting and watering!
The first year, I planted cucumbers too close to everything and realized quickly that the vines from the cucumber plant were strangling other plants! My daughter Claire and I made the quick decision that summer to take that plant and rip it out.
Last year I attempted tomatillos. I had visions of making my own green salsa – but even though the plants themselves were growing great, and the paper outer shells were growing, the actual tomatillos never got bigger than the size of a grape! The same goes with varieties of red tomatoes, they never did well in my garden.
What’s working this year:
Fast forward to this year, because of COVID-19 we didn’t want to go to a big store like Home Depot, so we ended up going to a local greenhouse in my town called Good Earth.
Vegetables I planted are: several types of tomatoes (roma and midnight snack cherry tomatoes), green bell peppers, banana peppers, 2 mixed kale plants, green beans, basil, serrano peppers, onions.
The most beautiful vegetable in my garden by far is are these midnight snack tomatoes. Midnight Snack is a unique indigo-type cherry tomato that ripens to red with a beautiful glossy black-purple overlay when exposed to sunlight. This coloration comes from the accumulation of anthocyanin pigments, the same reason blueberries are blue and contain healthy antioxidants.
All the vegetables I got for my garden were baby plants, not from seeds. The Midnight Snack tomatoes are green on the bottom with the black indigo on top, when it ripens, the green turns red – so beautiful! I also moved the location of my tomatoes where they get more full sun. When watering tomato plants, they like to be watered at the base of the plant.
Serrano peppers – or any peppers in my garden I can grow with no problem. I’ve used the peppers to put in my salads, to make homemade salsa .
It’s so exciting going out to my garden or as I call it, my baby farm – seeing what has grown, what needs attention, watering, etc…. One tip is staying on top of the weeds. I kind of let the weeds get a little out of hand, so one day I spent an hour or so pulling up all the weeds and realized that by not doing that, it as sapping nutrients from my plants. Now I am keeping all weeds out of my garden.
Water as needed, I’ve been watering just about every day – or every other day since we’ve had 90’s a lot in Chicago this summer and not a lot of rain.
Remove weeds often. Next year I would lay down weed protector. You can lay that down first and then make an opening to plant your vegetables and that helps from the weeds growing.
Make sure to space your plants as suggested! When the plants are so tiny, you never think that they will grow out so wide.
Plant squashes, cucumbers, green beans apart from other plants, they grow and will attach to other plants.
Tomatoes like full sun, so plant in the sunniest part of your yard and definitely stake them as they get bigger, or get a large cage so they can grown up as needed.
I would love to hear your tips and tricks and what is going great in your garden!