Notes from the Garden

My small garden has been going a little wild lately, with the amount of rain and the high temps we are having. So wild in fact, that our tomato patch started to form its very own land mass that we had to deal with it. I chose to sacrifice a few plants in order to free up some breathing room for the ones I left behind, and then we properly caged the ones left standing. However, the ones we pulled out had so many green tomatoes growing already that I couldn’t just throw them in the compost pile. So, I gathered them up and brought them in. And then had to decide what to do with them.

Someone online suggested fried green tomatoes, so I added cornmeal to my grocery list. I always loved that movie by the way. But I knew there was no way I could eat a billion slices of fried green tomatoes. So I stuck some in a brown bag to ripen and that left about five or six that still needed a purpose. After some googling, I found a recipe for Green Tomato Cake. Which frankly, sounded weird but we had all the ingredients, and Wyatt was up to try it, so we went for it. And it was good! Like really good. It is more like zucchini bread than cake in my opinion, but Wyatt wanted frosting on his piece, so I guess his was more like cake. We did not add raisins (because I loathe them) or nuts (we didn’t have them) but it still was fantastic.

I felt pretty proud of it! I am not a baker, I can make bread but struggle with anything else, and this turned out so good. Plus, I made it from scratch and from using up tomatoes from our garden! Now I need a plan for all the kale… so much kale….

Freeing up space and getting the tomato plants sorted paid off immediately in the garden as well. I went out the next day to find two red ripe tomatoes! We are going to have tomatoes in abundance this year! I plan on making salsa and lots of BLTs. Lol.

And that is it for the vegetables that made it. I know where I went awry this year though in my planning, and have a plan for next year. We are also adding in two beds next year as well – I like to do things bit by little bit. So next year, two new beds of veggies, another flower bed, and maybe a small pond if we get ambitious. I would love to do that this year but other projects take precedence. I keep saying in the fall, in the fall.. which is not that far away! I am going to have to reconsider my list of ideas and plans!

Our pollinator garden is always buzzing too, quite literally! I see flying creepy insects (like Great Black Wasps!) out there all the time, mixed in with cute little honey bees and adorable bumblebees. I had to look up Great Black Wasps, they are very intimidating looking in appearance, with huge black bodies and blue wings. I learned they are actually a friend to gardeners, as they kill grasshoppers and katydids – I love grasshoppers and katydids but we do have a ton! Nature at work, right here in this small patch of garden. Our pollinator garden is made up of so many different plants for butterflies, but other insects seem to love them too – as do hummingbirds! We have forget-me-nots and blanket flowers, verbena, black-eyed susans, nettle, butterfly weed (which I just learned is a type of milkweed, good for monarchs!), sage, rue, lovage, dill, bronze fennel (I always find black swallowtail caterpillars caught up in this plants greenery), lemon basil, and a cola plant. The cola plant was one I stuck in there years ago when I made a sensory garden for Wyatt – it smells just like soda, hence the name!

Another plan for next year is to remove what is left of the chain link fence and replace it. I want wood, something natural.

Our front garden area is full of yarrow. I saw it at the garden center and fell in love with it, so I planted like three or four of them. I also have brunella, butterfly weed, raspberry bushes, and lavender in that area, and I love to look out at it in the morning. This morning I saw a tiny bunny checking it out.

Gardening to me is.. a place to be creative. To buy the plants that call to me and find places for them. To provide shelter and food for insects and animals and for us as well. I love that I can change it up and add to it. And you can just keep going and going until you run out of room. You can buy plants or start from seed. There are so many options, flowers, veggies, night gardens, shade gardens, pollinator gardens. There is always something new and different to see when I visit the garden. I can’t wait to see what else we do with the things we grow this year, and I am already excited to start planning for next year.

Billy better get his shovel ready!

9 thoughts on “Notes from the Garden

  1. We have had too much rain this year and my plants seem to be rotting. I had some kale but my dad said it would keep growing – not this year. The tomatoes are growing but super slow. I have a few summer squash but they aren’t growing well either. Of course I am horrible at weeding.

    Katydids are probably what the kids were catching last week. We couldn’t remember what they are called. Our lawn was filled with them after the rain.

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    1. Oh no!!! Ugh our rain is crazy here too. We have had the rainiest July on record for Michigan. Of course here they were like, only one really good boating day! Lol. Not that we boat ever but I guess most people do. I hate weeding too, yuck. I try to do it in the morning or at night when the sun is down. Or in a light drizzle. The tomatoes – you could try cutting some branches/arms whatever they are called off of the plant to speed the growth of the ones you leave behind? And leave the bottom like 8-10 inches bare, just pull everything off. Roots and Refuge is a YouTube gardener and I love her. She has wonderful tips and her garden is amazing. Well its a farm but it is amazing. Is your squash mildewing from the humidity? All squash here is. I didn’t plant it this year but my MIL did and so did my SIL. They have that powdery mildew going on their plants. 😦

      We have so many katydids and grasshoppers. It makes me think of Little House on the Prairie! Which ones is that, On the Banks of Plum Creek. the one with the grasshoppers?

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      1. I have seen that YouTube channel and like it. I don’t see mildew on the squash but they are just small and don’t seem to want to grow. My dad says to pick them, toss them and wait for the next blossom to see if it grows bigger.

        I do believe that the grasshopper one is On the Banks of Plum Creek. That seriously gave me nightmares as a kid when I read about that! I skipped over part of that for Little Miss when we read it because I was reading to her at night and I didn’t want her to Have nightmares. 😂

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  2. Was about to call you a tease for talking all about the good green tomato cake and then not sharing the recipe. But scrolled back up and realized you had provided the link. Thank you!! I would leave out raisins, too!! Glad Wyatt was game to try the cake.

    Your garden is so well tended and responding so well to your love. I am not even a big tomato eater but your pictures have me hungry for one. How much space does it take up? Do you have a huge yard? We have only a small area where I could possibly do a raised bed. Maybe next year. Do you loan Billy out? Pretty sure PC won’t dig for me.

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    1. Lol! I have to be honest, I was skeptical of that cake. And I am not a huge tomato fan either! I hate that make things soggy. So gross. I can do BLT’s though. And salsa. Lol.

      We have a small house and a small yard. And these two garden beds are pretty small. My 5 x 3 for the veggies and then the flower garden is a half circle but I couldn’t tell the dimensions. Neither are large. 🙂 You can do a lot in a raised bed, or in containers. Container gardening is pretty cool actually, we did some of that last year because Billy hurt both of his wrists in accidents and couldn’t do any digging. And I would happily loan out Billy for your garden! LOL. If you want to do a few things, I would start with containers maybe, or a raised one. That way, no digging! You could make a salsa garden, with cilantro and tomatoes! Or a salad garden with different greens and herbs! I recommend lemon basil – we throw it in our salads and it so good. It just brightens it right up.

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