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The kids and I had such a great time planting and harvesting our vegetable and fruit garden last summer. So we’re giving it another go this summer as well. My green thumb may be more of a black thumb when it comes to houseplants and flowers but grateful I seem to be able to keep fruits and vegetables alive. Here’s a look at what we’re growing this summer.
What We Planted
This year we did a mixture of new and old plants. Last year, I was the decision maker when it came to what we planted. This year I let the kids pick out some of the seeds. I have to say that I’m pleased with the selections they made. They picked vegetables that I wouldn’t have considered planting otherwise.
Rainbow Swiss Chard | This was Bud’s (JJ) pick. Swiss chard is a leafy green that I’ve only eaten a handful of times. The kids have never had it at all. This will be our time trying the rainbow variety period.
It’s going to be interesting seeing what they think of the taste. Our experience growing these from seed has been mostly positive. They sprouted pretty fast. So far we have mostly reds and light purples. We had one neon yellow but it died after I transplanted it to a bigger container.
I’m hoping these don’t bolt though because the temps have definitely intensified. We’ll keep them in a partially shaded area for the time being. Also, I planted a second wave this past weekend to see if we can get some more neon yellow ones.
Beets | I was surprised when Moo picked these out. She’s not a picky eater but I didn’t think she’d find beets appealing. Our plan is to pickle the majority of them. We want to use some to try our hands at making an all natural dye for a tie dye T-shirt craft.
These took 6 days to sprout. We’re growing the Detroit Dark Red variety. Their vibrant red stems are so beautiful and will be a welcomed burst of color to break up the sea of green in our garden.
Alaska Peas | Bud helped me pick these out. He’s not a fan of beans but I am. Plus, these have been very easy to grow. Definitely a great seed to plant if your have kids who love to watch things grow.
Our sprouted in 4 days and are getting longer everyday. We trellised them up some branches we found in the yard. We’re keeping these in an area that gets sun in the morning but gets shady by afternoon when the Carolina sun is blazing. We just planted a second wave of these and can’t wait until they sprout.
National Pickling Cucumbers | The kids and I chose these together. We’ve been wanting to make our own pickles for some time now. This is our first year growing cucumbers.
We’re hoping they won’t be too hard to fruit. They seem to be doing well so far. I’m also going to try to plant a second wave for our fall garden because I heard they produce more in the milder temps versus the blazing hot summer sun we have now.
Cantaloupe | My mom gifted us these seeds via a cantaloupe she purchased from the grocery store. I simply rinsed them off well and left them to try on the counter before we planted a few.
It took about a week for them sprout. Initially, we planted six and three actually sprouted. So we’re planting 12 more the end of the week and hopefully we’ll get six to ten of them to sprout.
Watermelon | We had so much fun growing our Crimson Reds last year. The squirrels gave us a run for our money with these last year and kept eating our seeds. Then when they sprouted we had to save them from other critters.
Fingers crossed we don’t have that issue this year. Our seedlings have been safe so far. I’m making sure to give these lots of sun and consistent watering.
Green Bell Peppers | This is another crop we tried growing last year. Unfortunately they didn’t survive the deer. I’m ready this year though. Looking forward to having some peppers for my pasta dishes and my homemade salsa.
Grand Mix Bell Peppers | Did you know bell peppers can be off-white and ombré colors? We didn’t. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that we get at least one bush of off-white bell peppers and one of ombré ones.
We planted fifteen seeds and had almost all of them sprout. Can’t wait to see what colors we end up with.
Beefsteak Tomatoes | These are pick we all agreed on. Bud doesn’t eat tomatoes but as we discovered last year, he loves to watch them grow. We stuck with cherry tomatoes last year but decided to move up to a bigger variety this year.
We planted twenty-five seeds thinking only half would come up. Y’all, all twenty-five of those seeds sprouted! So I’m splitting the seedlings with my aunt who’s also growing a summer garden.
Zucchini | The first time I tried zucchini was on a trip to New York. We stopped by this Italian restaurant and had it fried with breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese. It was delish!
So now I’m growing my own. We only have three seedlings. Fingers crossed they all fruit and survive.
Green Apples | I’ve wanted an apple tree since I was a kid. I love apples. Like A LOT. Granny Smith aka green apples have always been my favorites.
So I took a seed from one and decided to see if it would sprout and it did. Y’all, I’m thrilled to be growing an apple tree. It’ll take a few years for it to mature but I can be patient.
Organic Pink Lady Apples | Motivated by my success with the Granny Smith seedling, I decided to try my hands getting an organic Pink Lady seed to grow. I planted about seven to ten of them. So far only one has sprouted but it’s thriving and doing very well.
Prayers up that we get more seedlings to pop up because I kind of promised this apple tree to my niece but I’d love to have at least one to keep for myself. Again we have a few years before this will be mature enough to fruit. Nevertheless it’s going to still be lots of fun watching it grow.
Spaghetti Squash | This is yet another seed my mom contributed to our garden. She made spaghetti using a spaghetti squash one night and I decided to save the seeds to plant. We only planted six and had three sprout. Out of those three only two survived.
Unfortunately we couldn’t plant more because I stored the remaining seeds too soon.They weren’t completely dry like I thought they were and ended up getting mold on them. Needless to say I had to throw them away. I will be purchasing another spaghetti squash and harvesting the seeds from it to seed if we can get it to grow in our fall garden. I’ve heard that you have less issues with squash bugs and pests if you plant them when the temps are mild. We’ll see.
Jack O’Latern Pumpkins | I’ve always wanted my own mini pumpkin patch and it looks like I’ll have just that this year. We all decided on pumpkins because we love them a lot. They’re just so cute. Anyways, we are looking forward to having lots of pumpkins to carve and decorate come October.
Our pumpkins were not that hard to sprout and seem to be thriving in their containers. I kept them in the shade for a while when they first came up but now I’m getting ready to move them to an area where they can get lots of sun. I’ll keep these well watered as well so that they don’t get dried out.
Lima Beans | The kids got these in a summer reading kit from the library. They have been beyond easy to grow. Bud’s beans sprouted in less than 48 hours. Moo’s took about three days to finally break through the surface. But they’ve been growing well since.
We did have a brief issue of some ants cutting the leaves but I think we’ve got that solved. I’m hoping we’ll see some pods starting to form soon. We’re probably going to plant more of these towards the end of the month because four vines just isn’t going to yield enough beans for a proper harvest.
Overall, our 2020 summer garden is looking very promising. The hardest part by far is going to be waiting for everything to mature. I’m super excited though that despite not being in our own place, we’ve managed to expand our garden and plant more than we did last year. You can follow along with our garden process here on the blog or over on my Instagram stories. I’ll also be posting video updates to my Facebook page and YouTube channel.
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Do you garden? If so, what do you grow?