Monday, July 7, 2014

New Mexico Veggie Garden

Now that it is summer its time for lots of backyard BBQ's and entertaining in the backyard. Let me show you around our backyard...

I love gardening! I mean, it's a lot of work, but so rewarding! Our old house didn't have near as much of a garden as our new house. So this is larger than we are used to. AND... when I say large I mean Large! I have over 150 edible plants and over 50 different varieties. Sheesh! I never would have thought. But I am loving this challenge.
My hope is to take you on this journey with me and to inspire you to start or grow your own backyard garden too.
I am not a gardening expert, nor do I consider myself having a green thumb, it's all about learning as I go and enjoying this beauty of it all.

Some plants I have started from seed and some I planted as store bought seedlings.

Here is a peek into my backyard...

Here is my spearmint plant. Did you know that these things grow like weeds??? 
Really! They are ground covers and they will get -OUT OF HAND! Make sure you put these types in a pot. If you really wanted them buried in your yard bury the pot but keep it in a pot unless you want it to cover the ground. 
Some people may want that. It helps to keep the surrounding plants cooler and keep water from evaporating as fast. When the ground is shaded by ground covers the water stays in your soil longer.

This container has no edible plants, but I sure do love the purple and grey combo together.

To the left of the pond I have 3 raised beds and a few flower pots. 

Let's start with the first pot... This is a dwarf Mayor Lemon tree. "A lemon tree in New Mexico?", you ask??? Yes!... "Does it bare fruit", you ask?... 

As long as you keep the conditions right they will survive. I have been reading a lot about lemon trees and I was surprised to learn that too. I really love lemon in warm water in the morning but to keep up with buying lemons... Well, lets see if this helps.

Next up... Garden bed #1. 

I have onions in the front and marigolds plants to keep the pests away. I also have green, red, yellow and orange bell peppers in here.

One of my onions bolted which means that it grew a huge stalk type thing and flowered which also means that the onion bulb is dividing and no longer edible... (Sigh!) But with the bad comes good... These flowers will also contain seeds that I can collect for next season...Yaaaay! I don't have to buy onion seeds anymore!

This thing will be beautiful in my garden once it starts flowering.

 These are my tomato plants. I have three different types... Beef Steak tomatoes (which are HUGE!), medium sized, and cherry tomatoes. These plants are massive... Taller than me now!

On the top level (Garden bed #2), I have Summer squash, Zucchini, Beets, Cucumbers, Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Mini pumpkins, and Large Jack-o-lantern pumpkins (which I planted in the spring so that they would be ready to harvest right on time for Halloween! *Crossing my fingers*), and 8 sunflowers that are supposed to reach 10 feet tall (EEEEK!).

These are my Summer Squash up from and my Cucumbers are way in the back and over the water fountain/pond.

Here is a close-up of an un-pollinated cucumber and flower. So excited to have fresh cucumbers!! 
*Edited. I ended up hand pollinating these. For some reason the bees would not pollinate them. I wanted to make sure we would get a harvest. (I will be talking about hand pollinating in a later post).

Here is a better look at my cucumbers...

Here is my beets. I really love fresh beets in my salads. Phillip likes to juice fresh beets along with carrots and ginger.

Here is a better look at my Pumpkin plants. I have mini's and the huge jack-o-lantern variety.

Here is one of my zucchini plants. These things grow so quickly. The next day after I took this picture, The larger left zucchini was so massive..., you would not believe it.

This is another non-edible flower pot. I keep pretty flowers around for the birds, bees and butterflies.

In my Garden Bed #3 I have Swiss Chard, Rainbow Chard,  Cauliflower, Peppermint, Rosemary, Lettuce leaf, and spinach.
Chard is my absolute favorite to grow. I harvest and eat it every morning with my eggs. Sometimes I will add bell pepper, onions and spinach... whatever is available.  I just sauté it all up in coconut oil. Try it!!! I promise it is soooooooo yummy!

Here is my lettuce leaf plant. This thing saves me every time!!! I always get to thinking of what side dish to make when I am in the middle of making the main entrée, and I am so thankful that I can just throw together a last minute salad with these tasty leafs.

Here is my spinach. These 9 plant were so sorry looking when I took this photo. Then, literally the next day they started growing like crazy. I will have to update this photo later.

Now to the right side of the pond/water fall...
Don't mind my messy garden hose and messy play area... just keeping things real ;-)

Here it is... On the top garden bed (garden bed #4) I have sunflowers, snap beans, cabbage, broccoli, and oregano.
The lower garden bed (garden bed #5) I have asparagus, cucumbers, Celery, rainbow colored carrots and orange carrots.
The side garden bed next to the play area (Garden bed #6) I have strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and a grapevine.

Here is my cabbage patch...

Here is one of my broccoli plants. With the crazy grasshopper infestation this year, my poor broccoli plants have seen better days. The Grasshoppers loved to feast on these and luckily they survived, but took a beating.

Here is another plant that Makena planted... Snap beans. We can not wait to harvest this bean stalk.

One of my oregano plants. 

I use oregano a lot! Mostly when I am making a pot of beans. I don't ever cook my beans with any fats (lard, pig feet, bone, bacon etc...) I use lots of herbs and seasoning. The flavor is amazing!

I was really excited to try growing asparagus! As I read more about them I realized that you really have to be patient with these. They produce every OTHER year!!! EEEK! well I am going to try it anyhow and try and be patient since I really love asparagus.

Here is my celery plants...

...and this one I planted after buying, chopping and eating the celery and sprouting it in the kitchen then planting it in the garden. That was a fun experiment. Now it is flourishing! 

Here are my crazy cool carrots.  The left row are my rainbow colored carrots (actually called kaleidoscope carrots) and the right row are my regular orange carrots. I can't wait for Makena and Andrew to harvest these. Makena had helped my plant all of these tiny little seeds and I told her about all the crazy colors... but I think she forgot already. We will see.

Right next to my garden bed I have a little garden table with these bright orange colored flowers. I love this little sitting spot. It gets good shade in the evening which is a perfect little spot for me to read while I watch the kids playing in their sand pitt/ swing set area.

I also have a berry patch where we have several plants (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and a grapevine).

Here is one of my strawberry patches.

This concludes my backyard...

My front yard has some lavender and a few flowers for color. Here is a quick peek.

Here is one of my lavender plants. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE lavender. It is my favorite to cook and bake with. I will have to share some recipes one of these days.

I hope this has inspired you to do a backyard garden too!
To see a dish that I made using lots of things I harvested from my garden see my Zucchini Lasagna post from last week.

Do you garden? 
What is your favorite things to grow in your backyard? 
Please do share some of your tips and tricks with all of us. Like I said I have a lot to learn and would love ideas and feedback.
I hope you enjoyed my yard tour! Please comment with any questions. I love hearing from you guys!

Come back to view my indoor garden and where I start my seeds. 

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