Food From the Garden

As I’ve mentioned, our garden hasn’t done so well this year.  We started late, and then we barely got any rain this summer.

But on Friday, Chef brought inside a watermelon and a turnip.

Yes, that little tiny green sphere on the left is a watermelon.

We didn’t have high hopes for the little guy.  In such a small fruit, could we even hope that it was red inside?  Could we hope for sweet and juicy?  Still, the plant was dying so we knew that the fruit wasn’t going to get any bigger.  It was time to harvest him and see what he had become.

After slicing the watermelon in half…

We discovered it was red!  And juicy!  And tasting it proved it was sweet, as well.  Chef and I shared it, which meant that each of us got about three little bites of watermelon.  But it was yummy nonetheless.

We discussed the garden and our plans for next year.  Instead of planting all the seeds in each packet, we will be more selective.  That should allow more space for each type of fruit or vegetable to grow, and allow us to replant later in the season if needed.  The lettuce has done very well, so I’m sure we’ll do that again.  I am disappointed that we didn’t get any pumpkins or squash, so hopefully next year we’ll have better success.

Did we save any money this year by having a garden?  Probably not.  We have not had to buy any lettuce, which has been nice.  We should have an okay crop of turnips, and while turnips aren’t something we ordinarily buy a ton of, they will make a nice addition to some meal.  We had a few really nice cucumbers, as well.  We’re hopeful that, with what we’ve learned this year, we will actually be able to save on our grocery bill next summer.

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Lynn Hoyt
    Oct 20, 2010 @ 21:04:26

    What a cute watermelon. Reading of your experience with the garden this year took me back to when I read the Little House on the Prairie series to our kids. I wept more than once as I read it, because I was sensitized to how much they depended upon the garden, and then ended up losing most, if not all on more than one occasion. Thankfully you were not banking on it, but I trust next year it will actually yield much better.
    I never thought I would hanker for a chance to do some gardening, (did too much spading when I was a kid) but lately I’ve wished we had some land to put out about a quarter acre of garden.

    • Karen, the Small Town Runner
      Oct 22, 2010 @ 14:14:14

      No kidding! The Little House books really make you appreciate grocery stores.

  2. Tracy
    Oct 21, 2010 @ 10:56:09

    That’s what happened to the watermelon at our CSA. Bummer!

    • Karen, the Small Town Runner
      Oct 22, 2010 @ 14:15:01

      My sister suggested we *try* for little watermelons next year and sell them, advertising them as “personal watermelons.” (:

  3. Rachel
    Oct 22, 2010 @ 11:26:25

    We had huge watermelons from our CSA. Also what seemed like millions of turnips. Squash was more uneven because their plants were attacked by squash bugs. I was picking tomatoes this week, even. The weather this year was weird and I was decidedly too lazy/busy to water properly. 🙂

    Start early, plant a lot of seeds and then thin to the recommended spacing after they germinate. This will seem cruel–ripping out potential veggies!–but you must or the plants will be overcrowded later and stressed. Some things, like peas and some greens, can go in super early, like March. Also, I don’t remember if you’re planting straight into the ground or if you prepped it first, but if you have that heavy clay soil like we do in our yard you might want to amend it first with compost.

    I’ve also had some luck starting seeds indoors, but this requires space and proper equipment. Frequently my vision exceeds my grasp. 🙂

    Do you listen to You Bet Your Garden on NPR? His advice frequently boils down to compost and raised beds, but I’ve found it very informative. Also, here’s a good link from the Purdue extension with planting times: http://www.hort.purdue.edu/hort/ext/Pubs/ho/HO_186.pdf

    • Karen, the Small Town Runner
      Oct 22, 2010 @ 14:17:34

      We’ll definitely start earlier next year, though I don’t know if we’ll start indoors first. That might be more equipment than we’re willing to spend the money on right now. We did plant straight into the ground. Our soil seems okay — not too much clay, not too much sand. Kind of pebbly. We’ll likely mix with compost next year. We did try to thin things; the turnips especially seemed to appreciate that.

      Chef does listen to You Bet Your Garden (I always seem to miss it — I must be doing something else at that time of day.) He’s gotten some good information there.

  4. stephan
    Oct 28, 2010 @ 13:34:16

    HELLO Cats and Kittens! Yes I do listen to You betcher GARDEN!

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