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My Garden 2016: Mean & Green

05. August 2016

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My garden is off to a good start this year. Sure, it looks like a total mess, but at least it's producing. It's just a little hard to navigate.



First up, let's look at those beans! I've always had luck growing green beans, except for the year there were rats in my garden. Yes, rats. There was so much rain the sewers overflowed, so I think a few stowaways made a new home in my garden. But other than that, I've never had issues with bugs or mold.

CanningCrafts green beans

Every time I go out to pick beans, I can't help but think of a Joe Tex song called Papa's Dream. It's on a Joe Tex vinyl record called Spills the Beans that I bought at the flea market this summer. I had never heard of Joe Tex before, but I was drawn to the album because of the sleeve art. This is one of my favorite records, and Papa's Dream is one of the best songs on it. Joe sings "Man look at them beans. And look at that corn. And I bet them watermelons must be 3 feet long. Man look at them tomatoes. And just look at those beans. Man I bet if papa was here, he'd sure be pleased." So this is the song that plays in my head as I pick beans.

Joe Tex Spills the Beans record


Tuna Fish Joe also LOVES to eat raw green beans. He usually waddles over to grab a few to crunch on. Sometimes he'll throw them up in the air to catch them too.

Tuna Fish Joe eating green beans

Now, on to something that didn't do that great in my garden — broccoli. This is the first year I planted broccoli. I read it wouldn't get as large as the grocery store varieties. It looked pretty good when the head was the size of a baseball. I'm not sure what happened next. I guess I lost track of it, and it bolted. My mom told me I waited too long to pick it, and it would be bitter. I figured I would cook it anyway just to see how bad it was. The florets tasted fine, but the stems were rough. I'm not sure if I'll plant it again next year. If I do, I will be sure to harvest it earlier.

CanningCrafts broccoli

CanningCrafts broccoli

Dill WEED. It's called that for a reason. It's a nuisance. I last planted dill about 7 years ago. It faithfully comes up every year along with 500 cherry tomato plants. I usually leave a few dill plants, but it got out of hand this year. I couldn't reach in to pick swiss chard or beans without getting a face full of dill. So I decided to eliminate it for good, but not before it went to seed of course. It'll be interesting to see how many volunteers there are next year. Dill looks pretty when it flowers though.

CanningCrafts dill weed


CanningCrafts dill weed

My tomatoes look good. Although it's clear they aren't the varieties I thought I purchased. The Yellow Pear Tomato turned out to be a standard cherry tomato variety. One of my Beefstake tomatoes is also a cherry tomato plant. Now add that to the 500 volunteer cherry tomato plants that came up, and I have 501 too many! The Berkley Tie Die plant, if that's what it actually is, looks good. 

Berkley Tie Dye Tomato

Heirloom Tomatoes

The Amish Paste tomatoes around my Japanese Tomato Rings are out of control. This year I plan to can stewed tomatoes and perhaps spaghetti sauce. If my husband has his way, I may put up some salsa too.

Japanese Tomato Ring tower

Volunteer tomatoes, potatoes, and dilll are growing in my swiss chard and carrot rows. Thankfully the swiss chard hasn't suffered from overcrowding. I've been wilting chard, endive, and kale in bacon drippings and glazed onions. My father-in-law calls this Killed Greens. I call it AMAZING!

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard


Tuna Fish Joe with heirloom tomatows

So how is your garden doing so far this year? Do you get excited or angry at volunteer plants that take over? I'd love to hear what you planted!

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