A Summer Eating Extravaganza

Any time is a good time to grow something fresh for your family and your friends. Growing things is fun, relaxing and so healthy.

I have a very small garden in my backyard, about thirteen feet by six feet. I started out with just a couple of pots on my patio many years ago. I wasn’t sure that I could do it. But within a few weeks I had lettuce and radish plants peeking through the earth. I was so excited, and when we moved to this house, I got a chance to put in a small garden.

This year I decided to buy 12 onion plants, 12 string bean plants and 6 cucumber plants.

It was a cool spring, and I worried that my little plants might not make it through the early weeks. Then, suddenly one morning I went to check and they were all growing very quickly.

This week they look like this;

The onions were ready for me to pick a week ago. Onions out of the garden are so fresh and the onion flavor is so gentle, not like some of the really strong flavored onions you get in the supermarket. Onions can stay in the ground, growing bigger and juicier until the first frost in the fall.

The beans have been on our dinner plate for the past two weeks. All you do is pick them, rinse them in cold water, boil them for seven minutes, add a bit of butter, salt and pepper and you’ve got a lovely addition to any summer meal. Having fresh beans is lovely and SO healthy. String beans grow very easily and offer a wonderful plant-based protein. More on that later.

If you like cucumbers you will love having fresh cucumbers from the garden.

Like the onions and string beans they grow very easily. They start with small yellow blossoms like the image on the right, and in a matter of a few days reach the size of your typical cucumber. Fresh cucumber out of the garden has an entirely different flavor than ones bought in the supermarket. 

But here’s the best part about growing your own vegetables. For only a few dollars spent on plants or seeds you can save a lot of money on your vegetable bill. For instance, I spent $6.99 on a pack of six string bean plants. After a few weeks of growing they produced pinkish, white blossoms, and grew into this mass of plants shown on the left.

There is also a Marigold poking its orange blossom out through the leaves. Marigolds keep the insects away, something every gardener needs to take into consideration.

As you can see, the blossoms are beautiful, and if you look closely you can see tiny string beans.

As I began to harvest the beans I decided to keep track of how many I picked. It turns out that my cost for a pound of string beans was about .20Cents, while a pound of fresh beans in the grocery store is around $2.00 a pound. A huge saving, wouldn’t you agree?

And the beauty of growing your own vegetables is that you can grow them anywhere.

Potatoes grow really well among your perennials in your garden, or they can be grown along the edge of a compost heap in your backyard.

Beans and onions can grow anywhere. Planters on your deck are the perfect place for lettuce, string beans and onions. 

I’ve planted radish in among the flowers in my annual flower beds and planters.

This year I have two tomato plants growing on my deck in large containers. 

You can grow vegetables almost anywhere you have a bit of earth that you can water, and that has a little exposure to sunlight.  

And it is so pleasant to see something grow, something you planted. I started small, enjoyed the journey of finding what worked in which environment, and I’ve been doing it for twenty years. Why not join me? I’d love to exchange gardening ideas.

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