Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, How does Your Garden Grow?

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2 years ago

"Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockleshells
And pretty maids all in a row."

- Mother Goose

By Blanche Fisher Wright- Dover Publications, Public Domain

My little brothers are ten and eleven years younger than me. I often served as a babysitter for them. One of their favorite pastimes was being read to. They absolutely loved nursery rhymes. We read from Richard Scarry and from The Real Mother Goose (pictured above).

Every single time I go out to my garden I remember those days spent reading to them. Especially the above nursery rhyme - for obvious reasons.

This year has been an incredibly, wonderfully wet year. Our garden is exploding. It looks like a jungle. I thought I'd share some photos and a few stories to go with them.

Before we get started, let me remind you of the beginnings of the gardening adventures. You can read about them here if you haven't already: https://read.cash/@JonicaBradley/propagation-not-propaganda-d96ce724

Now that you've had a chance to catch up let's get to the meat and vegetables of my gardening adventures.

Three heads of cabbage. I harvested the first head a couple of days ago and started eating raw. It is delicious, crisp, and a little spicy.

Most years, we start our garden in April. Our climate is normally very dry and very windy. The gardening season starts later, here than in other places. We have harsh winters with snow and ice. This year we had the harshest of all winters.

If you've paid attention to world news, you'll know about the big Texas freeze in February. Many Texans lost electricity because the power grid was over-taxed by people trying to stay warm.

We had some more late freezes this year. We started our garden with pepper plants, but they froze. All the little seedlings wilted and turned black.

We bought more seedlings, and I also started a few seeds indoors.

Black-eyed peas I started from seed. I can't wait to eat these lovely beans.

The combination of rain and cloudy, misty days has caused all of the vegetables and herbs to explode.

The weeds, too. Several years ago my husband got a motorized tiller for his birthday. Last year he used it to till up the dirt around the plants. He thinks he tilled a bit too close to the roots of some of the plants, possibly damaging the roots while trying to till up the weeds.

This year he has created flood irrigation beds around the plants. This has the added benefit of preventing the tiller from damaging the roots by getting too close to the roots.

We still have to pull a lot of weeds by hand.

My husband has a lot of extra work due to the rains. He has to mow and weed whack every few days. The weeds will grow up along the electric fence, rendering it basically useless, unless he keeps them under control. We need the electric fence to keep predators out, and to keep the goats in. I don't think the sheep would wander too far. But there is a saying amongst goat raisers, "If water can get through, goats can get through."

The weeds and grass in the pasture are also growing out of control. Our animals can't keep up.

Our middle pasture. The grass and weeds are growing so fast the animals can't keep up. They eat and eat and eat all day, but won't eat enough for us to avoid mowing.

It is very soothing to sit and look at all the green, even though I'm allergic to everything as far as the eye can see.

Hidden amongst all the green bushiness are dozens of tiny green tomatoes.
One tiny green tomato

I really love fresh tomatoes. I make everything from salads to sauces. I include tomatoes in my omelets and I often fry up the green tomatoes for a tart, crispy appetizer.

My favorite by far is fresh tomato soup and a garden pasta sauce I make with roasted squash and tomatoes. It's really delicious. I can eat just the sauce by the spoonful. It helps that I have fresh tarragon, oregano, sage, and basil to add to the sauce.

I know I'm an excellent cook and I would do very well even with vegetables bought at the grocery store, but something about growing my own food adds an extra spice to any dish I make.

My husband is a picky eater and prefers meat and potatoes. Having the vegetable garden really increases his vegetable intake. We aren't getting any younger, and we can no longer eat whatever we want without health consequences. Picking food from the garden and cooking it right then and there is better for our health. My husband is willing to eat more homegrown vegetables than he would eat from the store.

When we were traveling in South East Asia, we were amazed at the availability of the veggies. When our host family wanted to make Pho, they would prepare the meat and the noodles, then go around their home and pick leaves right off the trees. It was always delicious.

Having a vegetable garden reminds me of my travels.

One of 3 grapevines. This one makes seedless table grapes.

I don't just cook things that are considered traditional veggies. I love making food from all over the world.

I make Mediterranean Dolmas and Armenian Sarma. Also called stuffed grapeleaves.

Grape leaves harvested from 3 different grapevines.

Like in Laos, I collect what I need from the living growing things around me. In this case from our grapevines.

Grapevine shading the strawberry patch.

There's nothing like fresh picked food.

Stuffing a grapeleaves with meat and rice
Rolled grape leaves

I haven't been harvesting like I should and I'm being overrun by vegetables. It's a pretty good problem to have.

The swiss chard is trying to take over

I hope my friends like swiss chard because I'm going to have to give a lot of it away.

It'sa kale forest!

I have a condition called Hashimoto's. This condition causes me to have very low levels of thyroid hormone.

This is pertinent to my gardening because of all the kale. I can eat as much of it as I want, but I can't eat it raw.

If you have low thyroid, please cook your kale! Boiling it for about 7 minutes should do the trick.

Squash plant I started from seed.

My squash plants are thriving as well. I can't wait to make some zucchini fritters. I also use zucchini in a wonderfully moist chocolate cake. Yes! Really! It's amazing.

Baby squash. Isn't it cute?

I won't know what kind of squash I'll have until they get bigger. I started a lot of seeds. Only 2 made it to be transplanted. There were a couple of storms and hail broke the delicate stems of those seedlings.

Two squash plants will be more than enough for my family!

squash plant - type unknown

Harvesting leaves, squash, and tomatoes is a lot easier than harvesting cabbage.

Cabbage head almost ready for harvesting.

There are a couple of ways to harvest a cabbage head. You can just pull the entire plant. You'll only get the one cabbage. Or, you can do what I do.

You have to cut the cabbage head out of the base of the plant.

Harvested cabbage. More cabbage heads will grow around the city part in the center of the cabbage plant.

When you cut the cabbage out, several new cabbage heads will grow from the cut out center. You'll have cabbage all season.

Volunteer. Watermelon probably.

Sometimes there are seeds that get left behind or tossed to the side. That's what happened here.

My husband has extra watermelon seeds and he just threw them on the ground. The next year (this year) a watermelon plant started growing. It'll be great to have fresh sweet watermelon.

My new pullets. The brown girl will start laying soon. The others have some growing to do before I can harvest eggs.

Plants aren't the only things I grow for harvest. I raise egg layers, too. I'm be able to harvest eggs from this group in a couple of months.

The pretty brown hen should start laying in just a few weeks.

When I get enough eggs, milk, and veggies, I look forward to making a delicious quiche.

If I could invite all of you over for brunch, I surely would. You might have to pull some weeds and wash some dishes, but I'd feed you well!

Until next time!

3 green cabbages and 1 green tomato.
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Lead image: Hollyhock flower on my front porch; photo by Jonica Bradley

Image 1. By Blanche Fisher Wright - Dover Publications, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6951833

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2 years ago

Comments

I will put Kale on my list of things to try in the future. Cabbage is already on my list of things to try. Zucchini in chocolate cake sounds interesting as well so I think I will try that too when the weather cools down. I enjoyed the tour through your garden.

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2 years ago

I so love reading about your garden and gardening adventures. I can almost taste the freshness of all the veggies!

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2 years ago

ohh there's so many veggies in your little garden :"( it would be cool if i can get a garden like that one day

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2 years ago

I don't know much about container gardening, but I have seen many people with very little room grow veggies (and fruit) in containers.

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2 years ago

I'm gonna give container gardening a try soon UwU i did myfair share of searches on it so i think I'll be alright

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2 years ago

Wow! What a nice tour round your Garden. Back at home we also have a small garden where we plant tomatoes, bitter leaf, pumpkin, maize and other stuffs. My Dad tends to it like a father doting on his child.

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2 years ago

Every time I see a new fruit or vegetable growing I squeal and goo over it like it's a baby.

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2 years ago

Rain can turn all plants green. This shows that season matters when growing plants. Your pepper witherd just because of cold due to freezing. I don't think I have seen this plant called kale before but I will find by all means to find it. With what I can see, you are good in planting greeneries. This is great and indeed awesome... The fact remains that eating vegetables is very much important as such it will make the body look fresh

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2 years ago

Kale is a superfood. It has a wide variety of vitamins and minerals and antioxidants. A quick Google search will give you a lot of information.

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2 years ago

Wow you have a lot there. Btw, are you married?

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2 years ago

Yep.

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2 years ago

I'm married and has three kids.

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2 years ago

I'll wash the dishes! And help with harvesting. Thanks for taking me around your garden, and making me envious for all that you're able to grow...

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2 years ago

You're welcome! I love cooking. I really don't like to clean up after, though.

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2 years ago

And there you go... I'll clean up after you cook. hahaha. I really enjoyed the read and photos. Hope you're feeling much better now.

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2 years ago

I love to plant. But I do it in pots and some in the ground. Because I have is the garden of my house. I like all your vegetables they are so beautiful. I don't know how is your pumpkin chocolate recipe. you should post it. I eat my pumpkins in so many ways but never with chocolate.

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2 years ago

It's actually zucchini, but pumpkin would be good also.

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2 years ago

That is a lot of plants and wow! A spacious land for planting! If mom had that big of a land, she could have planted a lot more vegetables too! She was able to grow, papaya, ampalaya, upo, eggplant, and patola, and more i can't remember now.

Ypu have green hands, the plants love growing with you!

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2 years ago

Certainly this year. I feel grateful for all the rain and my husband's hard work, too.

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2 years ago