In previous years, we fretted and stewed over every little change in the garden. Were the plants getting enough water? Are the squirrels eating too many tomatoes? Should arugula really be this spicy?
But this year, we're just rolling with the punches. Don't get us wrong -- our garden isn't without its problems. They're just not Olivia Pope-scale problems. The tomato plants are growing haphazardly. There are (no doubt) too many weeds.
But there are enough plants thriving that we're counting this summer's garden as a win so far.
We successfully grew radishes for the first time this year. They never got larger than about the size of a grape, but still, they were radishes and they had great, spicy flavor.
Our tomatoes are coming along spectacularly. We had decided to only grow small variety tomatoes this year. A friend started our plants from seed at his house, we transplanted them to our garden, and they took off. It quickly became apparent that at least two of our tomato plants are some sort of large variety. We had a one huge, beautiful orange tomato, but then the squirrels nabbed in and took about three bites of it before losing interest. Now, some other large tomatoes are on the way -- we'll see if they survive Squirrelmagedon (brought to you by the creators of Sharknado).
Carrots were a success again this year. They never got larger than 3 or so inches, but they're beautiful and bright orange and taste great.
And until the heat slowed their production, our lettuces were fantastic. We were even able to do a late June crop of arugula, due to unseasonably cool temperatures. We can't wait to plant more greens this fall.
We have a few varieties of chili peppers that are coming along nicely. There are Hungarian wax peppers, and spicy Thai peppers, and a few other plants we grabbed from our CSA. Last summer, we received some excellent advice from a reader: just toss whole peppers into a bag in the freezer, and pull from them all year when you need fresh peppers. It worked extremely well -- just as good as fresh. We plan to do the same again this year.
The most confounding experiment this year has been the summer squash. We have yet to successfully pollinate a squash -- having had trouble catching a ready female and male blossom at the same time. We still haven't given up, but with it already being mid-August, we're running out of time.
Other plants just haven't fared as well (they're just not into us, we get it!). Our Swiss chard never got to be a substantial size. Some bugs have been relentlessly munching on the kale. The basil just doesn't seem to have the same spirit this year.
And you know what? That's all A-OK with us.
We have plants.
They're (mostly) green.
And we're zen about it.