Earth Bag Garden - July, 2011

As the summer advanced, I was extremely pleased with the progress of the new earth bag garden, which surpassed my expectations. I was a little concerned about not tilling the soil and was worried that the roots of the vegetable plants would not grow past the sod line of the original ground level. But, as you can see, the vegetables, apparently had no problem finding footing in the new soil and, once established, have grown into quite a garden.

As you can see, the garden has progressed quite nicely. The zucchini I started from seed are now producing fruit and the string beans on the trellis are producing beans which will soon be ready for the first picking. The cucumbers are starting to bloom and there are green tomatoes on the tomato plants.

Pound for pound, zucchini is the most productive of all of the garden plants so far, followed closely by the string beans, for now. I have been making zucchini pickles like crazy and have vaccuum sealed frozen grated and sliced zucchini for use in the winter months. I have made several batches of zucchini bread, which freezes very well. NOTE: If freezing bread made from zucchini, remember that muffins thaw faster and are perfect for school lunches taken out of the freezer in the morning, packed into the lunch box, and will be perfectly thawed by lunch time.

The heirloom cucumbers started from seeds are growing at an astounding rate, and soon, I hope to have enough cucumbers to make my favorite bread and butter pickles, jars of which barely make it past the Christmas holiday season, as I give the pickles and jams as gifts...and we eat them almost a pint jar at a time!

The zuchini are starting to produce small zucchinis which I try to pick before they get over 6 to 8 inches long, while they are still tender and the seeds have not had time to get too large. Even when being diligent about harvesting the zucchini, there will be times that you will find one that you missed! These large zucchinis are still good to eat, but, the seeds are usually removed when cooking, as they get quite large and are not as tender when left too long on the vine. I usually make the bread with the larger ones as they are easier to grate.

The tomatoes are starting to produce fruit, and, if we get a week or two of hotter weather (This summer has been cooler and rainier than usual), they should start turning red. I doubt that I will have enough of my own tomatoes to can, but there is nothing better, to me, than picking a perfectly ripe tomato and eating it in the garden as I harvest the rest of the vegetables. and, although I try very hard not to eat bacon (too many additives and preservatives for me) having bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwiches is one of the great pleasures of summer.