Your Vegan Neighbor’s Summer Garden (2012)

Well, I decided that it’s about time I should show you all my garden I keep talking about so you know I’m not just making it up! It does really exist!

We kinda got a late start to our garden this year because we missed out on planting the early leafy greens, like spinach, kale, and even carrots… but I should be able to grow those easily as late summer/fall crops. This is our 4th year of having a garden in this plot so our soil has become really nice and rich. And of coarse, I need to thank my husband for all his hard work including all of the tilling and row-making!

I am super proud of our garden this year because we grew the entire thing from seed (except for ONE plant) and it’s all organic :)  All our tomatoes are heirlooms.  Ahh… life is good when you have a garden!  I can’t wait until every plant is producing!  I won’t ever be able to decide what to make! Right now our choices are limited to basil, cucumbers and blueberries! (It may be time for some blueberry pie!)

This year we decided to try laying down this nice breathable weed guard that was given to us by my in-laws (thank you again!!) and it has worked out BEAUTIFULLY and saved me god knows HOW much time from having to weed the garden!  Definitely worth the small amount of extra effort!  The water absorbs right through the cloth and into the ground after several minutes.  It has done a fantastic job so far! I have it weighed down to stay in place by using empty juice jugs filled with water and potted plants.

Summer Garden : heirloom tomatoes, jalapenos, cucumber, green pepper, chili peppers, eggplant, collards and okra… and mint, cilantro and basil also.

I live in Georgia, and what I find grows abundantly with little effort (aka all you have to do is water it) is cucumbers, okra, figs (tree) and blueberries.  We also planted  eggplant, collards, green peppers and chili peppers, and jalapeno, none of which are producing just yet, though these all seem to have really started growing better since the weather got hotter.   Collards seem to grow great here, but they must be checked daily for little green worms that like to eat the leaves up. I really hate picking them off, but it is necessary… and on the bright side, I haven’t noticed them as much since it really started getting hot! In fact, since the latest heat wave, I swear our collards have doubled in size.

My favorite ways to eat okra are fried or grilled!

Cucumber and apples make the BEST fresh juice! Who knew!

Cant wait to make and preserve tomato sauce for the rest of the year!!

Our tomatoes are finally starting to get bigger but they are still pretty small and green.  In fact, they have grown quite a lot since I took this picture (above) about 2 weeks ago! We also have had great luck with our herbs (cilantro, mint and basil) which all grow great with little effort, besides watering regularly.

Here’s a good shot of the garden where you can see the weed guard… That’s the eggplants and green peppers in the front row, okra behind that and you cant really see the collards well behind those.

We have been getting a bowl full of blueberries DAILY!! We have 3 bushes right now but I say we plant 3 more!! You can never have enough fresh organic blueberries!

I’m trying to grow kale and cauliflower in containers just for the heck of it. These two plants aren’t supposed to grow well in hot weather, but I have them in pots under my front porch, so I guess I’m kinda just doing an experiment. The kale is actually lookin like its growing pretty good!

This year our garden has actually NOT been eaten by deer.  I seriously can’t believe it. We have never gotten so much out of our garden before because the deer usually get our cucumbers, blueberries and figs before we get a chance. We have tried hair clippings around the garden, fishing line, and even peeing around the garden on occasion to deter the deer, and we have never had luck. I swear we tried everything to keep the deer away…… So… This year we tried something new. We used a store-bought spray that you spray around the border of the garden.  It stinks. It’s basically made of rotten eggs (which is why we never tried it before – it’s not really vegan). But it apparently works.  The way I see it, is sometimes you gotta weigh your options. In this case, we decided to buy this spray so that we can save LOTS of money on vegetables. Our family eats a lot of vegetables.  And so far, we have not only saved money, but we have also been able to share the bounty with our family, friends and neighbors.  And that outweighs the cons in this case in my opinion.  (When you consider that after the deer eat your plants once it forever stunts their production if it doesn’t kill the plant entirely.)

Today is the 3rd day of temperatures over 100 (with a recording breaking 109 two days ago) so needless to say, we haven’t been doing much working in the garden (or even being outside) the past couple days.  I gotta say… and I’m sure my garden agrees… I can’t wait for temperatures to cool down!

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