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Well its nearing Hallowe’en and the garden has been dug up and composted.  We did have a few warm spells throughout the month but now,  the weather is getting much cooler and rainy. Typical fall weather has finally set in.

Our last harvest included:  10  eggplants, 3 butternut squashes and plenty of tomatoes.

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We also found 2 mini eggplants hiding and harvested them.

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As well as 2 mini butternut squashes.

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Aren’t they so cute when they’re that small?!

Alas, our 2012 gardening season has come to an end. The hubster and I seemed to have done a decent job according to our bounty that we’ve been able to enjoy throughout the summer as well as my packed freezer with processed veggies and homemade tomato sauce.  We’ve gained a lot of insight on the quality of our soil and what grows best where according to the amount of sun each garden bed received.  Now we can start planning for our 2013 garden! 🙂

Another pic heavy post about my garden. I love tracking its progress. I’ve learned lots this year and hope to remember everything needed for next year. I feel like its almost nearing the end and its just the beginning of August but there’s been a plethora of zucchini, squash, pumpkins and tomatoes so far and I fear that once those are done, gone will be my garden.

And now, time for the pics 🙂

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Budding butternut squash

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Butternut squash

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Cucumber

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San Marzano tomatoes

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Beefsteak tomatoes

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Roma tomatoes

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Beefsteaks again

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More beefsteaks

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Soon to be eaten beefsteaks 😉

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Bell peppers

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Jalapenos
(I swear these are more spicy then the kind you buy at the grocery store)

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Know what these are?

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Eggplants!!

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Beautiful eggplants

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Budding eggplant

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Almost ready to be picked eggplants.
Oddly enough, I bought Chinese eggplant seedlings and these are starting to look like Italian eggplants. No worries though, our home is filled with equal opportunity eggplant enthusiasts. 😀

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This is the former lettuce bed. There were 8 plants to start. I cut one to see if it would grow back on its own but the stump just died. The other 7 I left to see what would happen but the taller they get, they seem to ‘milk’ when you harvest the leaves. And they’re staring to flower. Definitely done for the season. Not bad for a 3 – 4 month run right?

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The group shot – herbs, jalapenos, peppers & leaf lettuce area.
Psst, that’s purple basil down in front that’s trying to steal the show.

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The slowly dying Italian oregano (which I have yet to figure out how to use!) and basil in the left planter and my flowering cilantro on the right. Cilantro doesn’t seem to be in my cards this year 😦

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Lastly…after some googling, I have deemed this to be purple basil.
Its beautiful to look at but I guess I should taste it and perhaps start using it?

Its almost that time where the garden is about to overrun my life with a huge bounty. We’ve been swimming in zucchini’s for a short while now and I think the tomatoes are starting to get jealous, thus them trying get their fair share of attention.

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Zucchini & summer squash along with a pumpkin & butternut squash. There’s plenty more not shown.

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Mmm….shredded zucchini – imagine the baked treats to come!

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Zucchini & summer squash – shredded, cubed & sliced ready to be frozen.

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Look at these lil beauties!

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This homemade saucy goodness brought to you by approx 4-6 large mixing bowls worth of organic, homegrown tomatoes. Mix of beefeaters, san marzano & plum tomatoes.

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Homemade basil tomato sauce all ready for the freezer, to be enjoyed a cold snowy day yet to come.

Funny story, when I let dad have a taste….I warned him that it wouldn’t taste anything like his usual jar of Ragu. This was made from home grown, organic tomatoes only. No sugar, excess salt and preservatives. His comments after a few spoonfuls “Very light taste. Tastes like tomatoes.” To me, that was a compliment!

At the end of last summer, I vowed to learn how to garden this year.  I had made the same vow the year before but didn’t take as much action as I’d have liked.  My dad is aging, he’s not as into gardening as much as he used to.  I need to absorb as much knowledge as I can before its too late.  Besides, who doesn’t love the huge pay off for all the hard work?  What’s better then walking out into your own backyard and picking out your veggies for your next meal? You know exactly what’s in/on them and where they’re from.  Dare I call my garden bounty “organic”?

Hubby said he’d garden with me (aka help me BIG TIME because I’m not good at it) since I have very minimal experience. I know how to water the garden, weed and harvest.   Dad also said he’d have no part in gardening this year as he was  ‘done with it’.    To be honest, I think he was tired of being the only one doing all the work.  (To be revealed later, dad does putter around in the garden but not nearly as much as he has in the past.  I guess old habits die hard ;))

This year, I dove in head first! Back in mid-late May, the hubster and I tilled the garden beds, mixed eggshells into the soil and fertilized it as well.  I picked up the seedlings for our future garden and they were planted.   Man was I ever excited!!

Then the boring part came…waiting for things to grow.  I watered religiously and weeded as needed – basically daily.

Now that I look back on it, it really *is* a lot of work to grow & maintain your own garden but its SO totally worth it!

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A few years back, we designed our backyard to be an enjoyable living space adding in the gardening aspects later.  Now the two styles live together almost harmoniously.  Turned out well if you ask me.

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The tomato bed – san marzano, beefsteak & roma.

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Pot – basil & Italian oregano.

Planter box #1 – jalapenos, red, green & yellow peppers
Planter box #2 – leaf lettuce

BTW: thats thai basil growing all rogue (bottom right hand of pic) Haven’t decided if we’re going to try to eat it/use it.

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In this garden bed – yellow and green zucs, English cucs, butternut squash, Chinese eggplant and  bittermelon.

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Large pot:  spearmint

Small pot: cilantro

Missing is one pic of the other large garden bed which is home to Chinese fuzzy gourds, Chinese long squash, bittermelon and pie pumpkins.

So far, the garden has produced plenty of herbs and lettuce. I can’t wait for the other items to start growing in!

Do you garden? What have you planted?  Any recipe suggestions for the herbs? (I seem to have a lot to use LOL)

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