The Continuing, Further, and Not Yet Finished Adventures of a Wannabe Urban Gardener

It has been some time since I've posted anything about my make-shift suburban garden. For the most part there has not been much to add since the garden has been... well... growing. I haven't been adding to it, but I'm letting this year's growth run it's course and am making plans for next year.

Tomatoes

Oh, do I have tomatoes. This picture was taken last week. This week the tomatoes are about red in colour and are all over the vines. It is at the point where I have jokingly suggested growing pigs so I can grow my own bacon and tomato sandwiches.

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Grapes

I might actually get some grapes this year! I don't speak too much about the grapes because I really do not give them much tending. I bought my first pair of grape bushes years ago - I want to say 7 or 8 years ago - when my oldest son was obviously younger. The first couple years the grape vines grew, struggled, died. It was a repeating pattern: grow, struggle, die. The cycle of life.

It had gotten to the point where I usually just let the vines do what they want (which was to die), but I never had the heart to actually pull them out because of the emotional attachment I have with them to my son. This year I decided to give them a little more love and began to feed and fertilize them again, and it might actually pay off with a couple bunches of grapes!

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The amount of vines and leaves necessary to grow a bunch of grapes is astounding, by the way.

Corn

My corn is growing really well, and I'm thrilled about this. More than the corn, I want the corn stalks for autumn.

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I am, literally, growing this corn in left-over cat litter buckets. They are just the right size to hold a yard of soil, and seem to be just the right size to grow a stalk of corn. You can see the corner of one of the buckets in the next picture. My make-shift corn field is definitely going to grow in size next year.

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Pumpkins

I planted some pumpkin seeds in June, late in the season for pumpkins, and was concerned that I was too late.

Well.

This is how they looked a month ago.

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This is how they look now.

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@bdmillergallery, if/when these begin to fruit, I'll gladly trade you a pumpkin for a watermelon. I just need to keep the squirrels and birds away! I covered them with a net this weekend, and think now it might be time for a scarecrow!

Mint

My mint has not dissapointed. I have multiple varieties and I've started to harvest and dry.

Here are a few handfuls of Berries and Cream mint.

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Washed, picked, and placed on a dehydrating tray they look like this.

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And, dehydrated, they begin to look like this.

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I have a really neat herb holder that I've earmarked for mint. I definitely have enough variety to fill all five pockets.

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The big issue with the dehydrating process is that it takes sooo looooooong to do. At a bare minimum I dehydrate the mint for 12 hours at 90 degrees Fahrenheit. I have some other herbs to do as well, but the mint is my favourite; I like to mix it with teas, and I can assure you, it works really well!


(c) All images and photographs, unless otherwise specified, are created and owned by me.
(c) Victor Wiebe


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Here in Western Mass, there's no way I could store dried stuff in a box like that. It would be a mass of mold in days. This summer has been unreal with humidity in the 90's most days. Once I finish dehydrating, the instant I turn off the dehydrator, I put the material in glass canning jars and seal it with the vacuum sealer attachment. It's the only way I can store dried stuff. Just a heads up....

That's a really good point, and one I had not considered. At all. The humidity here isn't horrible right now, but I will probably need to think of something more permanent. Thank you for the advice!

WOW your garden is doing amazing I am seriously impressed, mY Dad was a great gardener he loved his garden and was always so proud of it and he would have loved this post

Hey, thanks so much. I find it really calming and pleasing to do, at least when it isn't a gazillion degrees in the middle of summer. I really love watching the things grow.

I hope next year to give it a go doing a bit more gardening, I feel my Dad looking down from above telling me to step it up and get my act into gear with the backyard

You continue to impress, Victor. That was me fangirling over your garden. Especially the corn. You are the first person I know of that grows corn in repurposed cat litter buckets. I used that cat litter, I needed a couple of buckets... because that was cheaper than going to Lowe's and just buying a bucket. 😐

I have a good friend that owns a huge Vineyard and I just about passed out to see what it really entails to grow grapes. I had a small rack of them at the shore. I wonder if I can get them to revive? It was kind of cool to grow them and a pomegranate bush. I had no idea they would grow there, but, they do. Very well, I might add.

Such a great job on the garden. Can you imagine what it would look like if you actually put that stuff in the ground and let it go? They would fine you for running a farm stand without proper licensing.

Great job! I can hardly wait to see the next update!

Haha, thank you so much! I have so many of those cat boxes I keep finding new uses for them. They're good buckets and I hate throwing them out. I've even thought of using them to build my own Roman victory arch. meow.

I will admit, one of the reasons for using the buckets is because the soil I have is awful. The Newark, DE area has two creeks aptly named "White Clay Creek" and "Red Clay Creek." I kid you not, the soil is little more than clay, and my yard is full of it. Planting above ground in buckets has been more successful than straight in the ground. But I do have the buckets! What I really want to do is find a way to grow wheat. I'd love to be able to bake one loaf of bread from my own wheat. Hopefully I wouldn't burn it.

We have plenty of clay here. It is awful. Every year, I was putting 30 plus bags of Miracle Grow potting soil in the ground and mixed it with the clay. Eventually, it wins and the flowers grow nicely now. Also, you can always do a raised bed or hugelkultur. That might actually be nice. You could even build it. With man tools. :))

Oh! A Roman Victory Arch! Something I never knew I wanted until I did. I am sure I can find a victory that I need to be honored for.

Wheat in the raised bed!I know on the Eastern Shore, some grow winter wheat. I know you have probably considered it and decided not to for some reason, but, I think it might be easier to water and care for. You just want to be different with those buckets, "fess up!" All your neighbors are probably jealous!

My dehydrator and I are on a first-name basis. My father gave me one when I left home and I still use one. One of the girls came with me to the Shore this weekend and I have a gazillion blackberries bushes that are growing on trellises to keep them neat. And we picked enough to make 3 cases of blackberry jam. Yep. Thirty-six jars.

You should totally grow them! They are so easy and abundant!

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