Saturday, July 21, 2012

What's Growing in the Murray Yard?

Last year's garden never quite took off the way I had hoped... we had a big snow in May, mysterious black spots on my tomato plants, and not as many hot hot days for growing.  This year's garden is so much better! I love to garden but most of my techniques are based on trial and error plus a few things I have read or heard people say. . . so I generally have no idea what I am doing right or wrong in any gardening season.

Over the last few years (especially with a small child and dog) we have tried to be mindful of the kind of fertilizers we are using in the yard.  This year we got some great advice/ products from our local nursery and have used all organic fertilizers and compost to help our yard grow.   Basically, we traded chemicals (even "safe" chemicals) for poop-based products.  The lawn gets an organic chicken poop fertilizer.  Our dog thinks this is the greatest thing ever and rolls around the lawn after we use it.  It's kind of gross.  The garden beds get a sheep peat and compost mix, and the fruit producing plants get a bat poop based fertilizer (bats eat and digest lots of fruit... somehow this makes fruit trees and plants grow better fruit?)

Rob bought me an apple tree for my first mother's day when I was pregnant with Charlie.  It did not grow a single apple for 3 years. Kind of sad when your mommy gift can't make fruit? Well, this is the first summer we have had some apples... thank you bat poop and the woman at the nursery who suggested it.  We started off with about 8 apples, but a certain curious little boy picked a few that were within his reach and now we are down to about 5.    Just waiting for them to turn red!

I was worried about my plum tree when it blossomed in late February... surely a freeze between February and May would kill all the little fruit buds and we would have no plums again like last year.  Colorado's fickle weather pulled through this year with some ridiculously hot weather and no spring freezes and we have plums... lots of them!

Our blackberry bush also has a ton of fruit this year... but they are a little small and sort of sour so I need to figure out something to do with them.  Any good blackberry recipes out there?

Charlie has his own little patio tomato plant.  He waters it (drowns it) everyday and is very patiently trying to wait for those tomatoes to turn red.  Sometimes he is not so patient and comes to show me he has picked a couple little green tomatoes, and usually has taken a bite.   Today was an exciting day because a couple of them are yellowish and turning red and he noticed!

We've got our regular herb garden with onions, parsley, basil, rosemary, mint, oregano, and a little cilantro... but I have been a little lazy this summer about actually using the herbs in our meals.  Spaghetti sauce from a jar or go pick stuff from outside?  I have chosen the jar, sadly.   One of my favorite things to do (which hasn't happened yet this year) is to cook chicken kabobs on the BBQ on skewers of rosemary sticks...yum!

In the first big garden bed, our strawberries came back abundantly this year!   I had to build a tent of tulle netting as the berries ripened to keep the birds out (they will literally eat ALL of them if I don't).  We also have purple kale, green kale, carrots, lettuce, arugula, lettuce, and cucumbers growing in this one...

Kale is one of my favorites and one of the most nutritious foods around.  I typically bake it into kale chips or just marinate some leaves in lemon juice and olive oil to soften them up a bit and eat them raw.   Lots of good vitamins for pregnancy in kale like iron (dr. says I am iron deficient) and vitamin K! 

I love baby arugula in salad, but sadly the rollie pollies loved it more this year and every leaf has hundreds of tiny holes.   They don't eat any of the other greens, just the arugula.  I love the color of our lettuce (you can see a sad little arugula leaf in this picture too)...

Our other big bed has our tomato plants, squash, and a pepper plant.  We just ate our first ripe tomato yesterday! I will admit, some veggies don't taste THAT much different when you buy them in the store... but not tomatoes.  Grocery store tomatoes can't compare to the ones that come from the yard. 

My California friends and family are probably laughing at my little plants because your garden looked like this 2 months ago and your gardening season lasts from March to November! Gardening in Colorado is no piece of cake.   You can't plant until mid-May and even then there is no guarantee the plants will make it through crazy hail and storms that creep up in the summer.  

I love our little garden plants at the Murray house and I think there is nothing better than eating from the yard! Every night that we eat from garden I "announce" to Rob which plants came from outside.  I didn't get a very excited response the first time (I know, I know, I could not believe there was an absense of excitement over vegetables).  Well, the family has learned my expectations and now gives me the "OH WOW" that I ask for - ha!

What's growing in your yard?


  1. What's growing in my yard? Weeds. :( I want your garden and produce but without the work. I especially want your fruit and kale. Boo. Good job on all your work though! It looks like it is paying off.

  2. Come on over... I'll share my kale.