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Earlier this year, I grew a small variety of vegetable garden seedlings in my master bedroom. After they were ready to transplant, I built an L-shaped garden bed and began my first-ever vegetable garden. I was pretty darn excited. And now, I’m sharing some of the first glimpses of a happy, healthy garden!
It’s tomatoes. It’s basically a lot, lot of tomatoes.
The other veggies are growing in (a few peppers, some spices, cucumbers, and more), and they will be ready to harvest within the next week or so. But the first to ripen by a long shot are the two varieties of tomatoes. We’ve already had so many, we’ve given some to neighbors, friends, and my parents.
Keeping Fresh-Picked Tomatoes Fresh
We pick them at the first sign of red, and allow them to ripen a little more on the kitchen windowsill.
If I remember correctly (K ordered the seeds and he’s the one who actually deserves most of the gardening maintenance credit!), we planted both grape tomatoes and ‘Fourth of July’ hybrids. I’m personally thrilled that we’re seeing such success with the garden. Perhaps it’s the only thing about all of this rain I can be happy with; it has interrupted nearly every other outdoor project as of late, but the garden did just fine all by itself!
You’ll probably notice that we don’t have a cage around our garden. Yet, the squirrels and other pests haven’t yet been much of an issue. This is one of the more frequent questions I’ve gotten regarding the new garden, so I figured I’d share my overall thoughts on what we might be doing right (I wouldn’t really be able to point to anything we’re doing as a deliberate pest-preventative move, but I’m thinking it’s a combination of several things that just happen to be working out for us):
- Stella (the long-haired dachshund) loves to chase and dig for all manner of small animals if they come within the fence line. I’m thinking that she’s a big factor in why our yard has been less appealing to these animals who might otherwise come for our food.
- It’s possible that the scent of her and Charlie’s urine in the yard is a warning. (I’m only thinking this because I’ve heard “predator pee” is something some gardeners use, such as wolf urine, along their property lines.)
- Both K and I are in the yard almost daily to work on the shed, deck, and other yard-related projects. So, we are there each day to also pull off the ripe tomatoes, correct vines that are trying to reach to the ground, remove any dropped fruits to the compost pile, etc.
- I’ve been seeing a lot of the ladybugs that I added last year
- For slugs and other so, K has been using a spray of some kind (I’ll have to double check with him on what it is, but our neighbors didn’t have much success with most of their garden this year despite a similar setup, so this seems to have made a difference in our results versus theirs).
I tried my first tomatoes from the garden just a few days ago, and they are SO good! For simple posterity’s sake, I uploaded the video clip of me trying them (after a day of working on the shed, so I look like a stinky mess). I don’t have any good recipes to share with them yet, but they are perfect in a tortilla with scrambled eggs in the morning.
I think the peppers will be next, but the cucumbers are quickly coming in, too!
If you have a garden this year, have you harvested anything yet? I’m tempted to DIY my own little harvesting basket soon; carrying it all in one of our shirts at night is easy, but also kind of gross with how sweaty we are with the build projects.
Speaking of, here’s a quick glimpse of the new pub shed! Not complete yet of course, but I’ll have more of that for you later this summer. I feel like I’ve been working on this thing forever. But after getting the paper on the roof, it feels like it’s finally drawing to a close. From all the things I’ve been learning, all the second-guessing, all the problem-solving… that is going to be a LONG series to cover, so be prepared for a number of posts in that series once the deck series is finished!