This is at least our third or fourth year  of having a garden. There is something extremely satisfying about going outside and picking a meal right out of the garden. It’s like I’m getting back to my pioneer roots–pun most definitely intended. But I though always have big ambitions, I always feel a bit disappointed. Why are all my tomatoes holey? Who is eating my zucchini plants? How come I have so many big healthy green bean plants but they only seem to yield a handful of beans at a time?

This year I planted seeds in a starter tray. I was very impatient for them to sprout and finally they did. Then, strangely, all of my little sprout-lings started to turn brown and die. More water, I thought. They need more water. But alas, I was wrong. All of my sprout-lings died an early death, never making it into the ground. It turns out I had “over-watered them.” I didn’t even know that was possible. I quickly started my second batch of seedlings, knowing that I would be getting them into the ground later than I had hoped.

Now my garden is bursting with giant zucchini plants,  squash plants, green beans, cucumbers and sweet peas. The peas are my favorite and unfortunately, not exactly thriving. I pick off three to four that are ripe at a time but not even close to enough for a side dish at for dinner. Same with the green beans which are my second favorite….I’ve gotten a few handfuls but nothing more. At this rate, I feel like I’d have to plant an acre to even come close to feeding our family.

The zucchini, my least favorite vegetable, seems to be the easiest to grow. My plants are huge–huge–and are yielding plenty of zucchini. So far I’ve made zucchini stewed with tomato and onion, breaded and baked zucchini slices, and I just made an incredible pot of zucchini soup. Even Cooper likes it. I think I’ll just stick to the soup and freeze a few batches. There’s something about harvesting my garden and “putting things up” for winter makes me feel like I am pioneer on the frontier, like one of my heroes, Laura Ingalls Wilder.

My cucumbers–I can’t even find them. I think they are hidden somewhere under the giant zucchini plants. I don’t know if they will yield anything or not because they are not getting much sun. Today I even thinned out my zucchini plants to let some sun down to the lowly squash and cucumbers. I tried to transplant it to the edge of the yard, but I just checked and it’s flopped over and wiltey. Oh, well. I have plenty more!

As some of you know, I’ve started composting with worms–red wigglers to be exact and man do they go through compost quickly! It’s amazing just how fast they can turn a few pounds of vegetable scraps and leaves into a dark, moist, juicy (yes, juicy) soil. Though I’ve read the best time to mix in compost to a garden is at the end of the season, after the dead plants have been removed or right before you plant. However, I couldn’t wait so I’ve been digging little holes next to my plants and dropping some compost in, hoping that the rich soil will act like a shot of organic plant food for my veggies. I don’t know if it’s working but it gives me an excuse to play with my worms and dig in my garden.

Have you been gardening this summer? What did you plant and how are things coming along?