Planting your own vegetable garden–are you prepared for the bounty?!

 

Like many retirees, we decided that with our extra time we should try our hand at growing our own vegetables.  Great idea, right?

IMG_1948

Well it is, as long as you are prepared to deal with the bounty that is likely to follow.  You will be amazed at how much can be produced from just two tomato plants or three hills of yellow beans.

IMG_4588

We keep our garden pretty simple.  Tomatoes, beets, beans, onions and green peppers.  We also plant a couple of hills of pumpkins–jack o’lantern type and giant.  We always participate in our local annual Pumpkinfest parade and like to have our own pumpkins to display.

Here’s the bottom line about planting a vegetable garden.   Plant one if:

vegetable-plants

1.  You love spending the time to prepare the soil, plant the seeds and then re-seed    should they not germinate the first time around.

IMG_1947

2.  You have the time to weed continuously (sometimes daily at the height of weed season!) because they can get away on you and before you know it they will out number the vegetable plants.

tomato_hornworm

3.  You don’t mind picking off the gross bugs that get into your tomato plants and stomping on them (I am nauseous just thinking about it!).

4.  You have lots of friends and family that would love your gifts of veggies.  If you  are lucky like I am, they will repay your kindness with preserves and sauces made from your gift.

IMG_3925

5.  You enjoy the opportunity to share the miracle of mother nature with the children in your life.

IMG_4217

6.  You love the idea of walking out your back door and picking your own fresh produce.

All kidding aside, it can be a really rewarding activity.  It can keep you busy year round.  If you choose to start your own plants the planning can start as early as February and the harvesting of some veggies doesn’t happen until after the first frost.  Once it starts growing, it keeps you moving and out in the fresh air (just don’t forget the bug spray–for some reason mosquitoes love the garden no matter what the time of day).

IMG_4268

It can provide you with the ingredients for some lovely homemade preserves as well.  I always get together with my mother and one of my brothers to do a day of salsa making.  It certainly helps to use up the tomatoes and peppers while providing an opportunity to spend some quality time with family.

IMG_1859

I am a bit of a glutton for punishment.  It is not enough that I have more vegetables than I need but I also have taken to picking fresh fruit that is grown here locally and trying my hand at jam.  Last year I made some blueberry jam using the Certo cooked jam recipe.  It turned out so well I will be making another batch this week.

DSC_0022

I have made some pretty tasty chutney, savoury jellies and chilli sauces.   This year I have used my bumper crop of yellow beans to try dilly beans.  They are supposed to be tastier than dill pickles.  They are fermenting in their jars now and should be ready for a taste in a couple of weeks. I will share the recipe with you if they turn out okay.

DSC_0025

Oh yes, if having your own garden doesn’t interest you, remember that your local farmers’ markets and roadside stands have all the fresh produce you could ever want.  And no dirty hands!

Do you have any favourite recipes for this season’s fresh offerings?  Share…..please!

Photo Credit:  1, 2

9 thoughts on “Planting your own vegetable garden–are you prepared for the bounty?!

  1. Pingback: TOP 10 Tips on Starting Your Own Vegetable Garden

  2. Pingback: Container vegetable gardening. Not just for small spaces. |

  3. Pingback: Homemade Jam. Lighten up on the sugar! |

  4. Pingback: Asparagus Gruyere Tart |

  5. Pingback: Think Rainbow when planning your vegetable garden. |

  6. We highly recommend buying heritage beefsteak tomato seedlings from Vickies Veggies in the county. we had the best tasting.largest tomatoes last year. This year I bought plants from a different source and we are so disappointed.
    Looks as if you have a bumper crop!

    • I love Vickies Veggies plants. I usually put in two varieties of her cherry tomatoes. Her plants are always hardy and have a great yield.
      Have you been to her Heirloom Tomato Tasting? Wayne and I went a couple of years ago and it is fabulous. You can try all her varieties and make a list so you know what seedlings to buy in the spring. Here is a link to this year’s event. http://www.vickisveggies.com/Tomato_tasting.html

  7. So funny that you posted this! We have been talking about doing a small garden next year! My brother in-law gave us some pointers last week about planting some corn. I will have to pick your brain further about the best way to start. We are thinking potatoes, corn, peppers, carrots and beans or beets and of course tomatoes for my fave: toasted tomato sandwiches!!

    • Sounds like a good selection of veggies. We gave up on sweet corn because the raccoons were enjoying it much more than we were! ; )
      We planted Roma tomatoes this year for the first time (along with our normal selection). I think we are going to have a bumper crop. I will share!

Thanks for leaving a comment!