Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pinspired Home Garden Tour 2014

If I haven't made it clear before now, this post will definitely confirm that we are big garden people at Pinspired Home. I love having a yard full of nutritious fruits and veggies, ready for us to enjoy fresh in season and preserved all winter long. Even when we had a small lot at our town home, we were still able to maximize our crop yield and preserve diced tomatoes, salsa, pickles, peppers, and zucchini.

Now that we have more land, our garden is rather large. This year we're trying some new crops and  I'm excited to show you what we're growing. {Be prepared for lots of pictures!}
So without further ado, here is the Pinspired Home Garden 2014:

Our garden is roughly 80' x 25' and runs along the far end of our backyard.
You can see the garden behind the (functional but not pretty) swing set and trees

This is the view of the garden from behind the second chicken coop looking toward the wood pile. First you will see potatoes, peppers and tomatoes.

This is our first year growing potatoes. After some research, we chose to plant Yukon Gold, Russet, and Red Potatoes. We hope to harvest enough taters to last the winter, at least. We'll have to see how much we actually get
Potato blossoms are actually quite pretty!

We purchased 2 sweet banana pepper plants and started 13 bell peppers from seed. We will slice and freeze these to use in recipes all year long.

We're big tomato eaters. Our goal is to can enough diced tomatoes and salsa to last the year, and we have usually been able to meet this goal, even with our small yard at the last house.  However, last year was disappointing. We only were able to can less than a dozen jars of marinara sauce because our tomatoes got the early blight.
This year we took some precautions and our tomatoes are looking wonderful! Hubby started our Roma tomatoes from seed and we planted 28 seedlings for canning. In addition, we purchased 3 varieties of heirlooms and 2 cherry tomato plants for eating.

Next to the potatoes, tomatoes, and pepper are the broccoli plants. 

And behind broccoli plants is a raised bed of herbs and greens, two rows of Italian Kale, and two rows of onions. These were all started from seed. The broccoli, kale, onion, greens, and herbs are smack dab in the middle of the garden.

We gave broccoli a try last summer and it ended up being one of our best crops. I blanched and froze what we couldn't eat fresh and it was the greenest, most flavorful frozen broccoli we had ever had. It lasted us through February, and we were sad to go back to the store-bought stuff. This year Hubby started broccoli from seed and we have 17 plants in the garden. We should be able to get two harvests from each, and we'll probably plant another batch later in the summer. Our goal is to have enough to last us until spring!  :)

We planted oregano, dill, basil, and mint. Our mint is doing the best by far, which is good since we put it in our iced tea. We've been enjoying fresh oregano in our eggs each morning too - even Kiddo likes it!

The white bars are PVC pipe which we cover with clear plastic in the
fall to create a greenhouse. I guess we need to do some weeding. :)

We have a small crop of spinach and red leaf lettuce growing. We've never had a whole lot of luck with keeping our greens going when it gets really hot, so we don't plant a lot. Just enough to go on sandwiches or to make a small salad.

After discovering Sausage and Kale Soup, we decided to grow and freeze Kale for the winter. We could also use it in green smoothies, and maybe we will. I just hate cleaning our blender. :)

This is our first year growing onions. We're not sure what to expect, but it's fun to try something new. Unfortunately, we can't weed without pulling up the onions in the process, so this row doesn't look too pretty.

On the far end of the garden are the green beans, cucumbers, corn, summer squash, and butternut squash.

Green Beans:
This is another crop that we can. Last year we canned about 30 quarts and we have 4 or five left, which should last until we start harvesting green beans. These are another crop we planted from seed straight into the ground, so I have no idea how many plants we have. Once these plants stop producing, Hubby will rip them out and plant new ones, usually mid-to-late July. We can usually harvest into early September.

We were hoping to can pickles this year, but our cukes just aren't growing well. Hubby transplanted 4 of our 10 cucumber plants next to the butternut squash so they get more sun. We'll see if those grow faster. If so, we can adjust crop locations next year.
Hubby spread the used bedding from our chicks around the cukes for added fertilizer.

Hubby's family grew corn when he was a child, but this is our first year. We chose to purchase organic corn seed in order to avoid GMO's. To avoid all the corn coming in at once, Hubby planted two rows at the end of May and another two rows last week. He had to run string above the new corn because birds kept pulling the new seedlings. So far the string has kept the birds from pulling more.

Summer Squash:
We have 4 zucchini and 4 yellow squash, which we started from seed and then planted. We will eat some each week in balsamic sauteed summer squash or zucchini boats, but I will probably grate and freeze most of it for zucchini bread.

Butternut Squash:
Last year we planted sugar pumpkins for baking and we only ended up with two pumpkins. Meanwhile our neighbor planted butternut squash in the same amount of space and yielded well over a dozen squash. Since butternut squash can be used in place of pumpkin in recipes, we're trying them this year instead.

So there you have it - our 2014 garden! I'll be sharing updates every week on what we have harvested and tutorials for how to preserve your own garden (or farmer's market) goodness. Stay tuned for that and a tour of our small "fruit orchard."

Do you have a garden? What do you grow?

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  1. Our garden is looking good this year too! We're trying brussel sprouts for the first time and this is our 2nd take at broccoli (the first time we tried it didn't go very well). This year we're focusing on growing tomatoes as we've had two bad years in a row.... last year they never turned red and when they finally did they got the blight too - and the year before my husband accidentally planted ALL cherry tomatoes. So we couldn't can them. This year it's looking good so far!

    We also consistently plants potatoes, carrots, green beans, snow peas, snap peas, bell peppers, jalapenos, lettuece......

    1. Wow!!! This is the first year we didn't do a garden - but squash was the best crop we had. How do y'a'll find time to weed and keep up with everything with a little one?!

    2. Shambach's, that's quite a garden! Whoops about the cherry tomatoes - I heard you can make a really good roasted tomato sauce with cherries but I never tried it.
      Kelly, as evidenced by the pictures, we don't weed all that much. Hubby takes "the claw" (the blue and yellow thing in some of the pictures) and uses it between the rows to get up the majority of the weeds. I've heard good things about laying wet newspaper around plants to keep weeds out. Maybe we'll try that one year. In the meantime, our plants are doing really well. We think it's the chicken manure we mixed into the dirt for fertilizer. :)

  2. Whoa! That is quite the garden! Thanks for much for giving us a tour and for sharing on Show-Licious!
    ~ Ashley

    1. I know, we're a bit crazy about our garden. I guess you could call it our hobby. :)
      Thanks for the comment love, Ashley!

  3. Amazing garden! Puts my piddly 4 container plants to shame. lol

    1. Thanks, Ginger! I realize our garden is definitely larger than your average. When we lived in an apartment and it was wonderful to have a little fresh produce from container plants on our balcony. No judgement here. :)
      So glad you stopped by!

  4. Wow! It seems that your garden produces everything you need. I bet it can even serve as the source and center of your living. The vegetables look fresh and healthy. I can just imagine how fun and enjoyable it feels to just hang and relax in there with family and friends. Thanks for giving us a lovely tour, Kim! All the best to you!

    Raymond Quinn @ River Oaks Plant House


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