We got back from a five day trip to North Carolina a few weeks ago and the garden was suddenly huge. The kale was finally full-grown (and full of caterpillars, sadly, but they can be picked off), the lettuces that had fed us for months shot up and bolted, as did the arugula, though the flowers it sent out were so pretty that we didn’t mind. We had radishes, lots of cherry tomatoes on a plant we hadn’t expected much from, and our sunflowers were taller than the both of us.
While we were gone we kept talking about the garden (we missed it), wondering what would grow and what wouldn’t. The summer has been hot so far; too hot for lettuces, though I keep planting seeds and trying. The spinach and sugar snap peas dried up too, but the kale is still going strong. We have two kale salads each a week, and still have new leaves growing all the time. We eat something from our garden every day: mostly green onions and herbs, and radishes whenever they’re ready (which is pretty often; whoever said that radishes grow quickly wasn’t lying).
Mostly we’re excited about our cucumber and squash plants. So far we’ve been able to eat one summer squash—the rest of the squashes on the plant got blossom-end rot and died. But we have another plant in the raised bed that is huge and looking a little more promising. And the cucumber plants look even better; we think we might be eating cucumbers within a week.
Drew is excited for cucumbers, but I’m holding out for the zucchinis. We can’t have too many; I want enough to grill and give away, and I wouldn’t mind having another excuse to bake. Especially this, and maybe a vegan version of this.
I’ve become really camera shy ever since I stopped doing outfit posts, but when Arden told me she was coming to Nashville and asked me if I wanted to be on Boots and Pine I couldn’t say no. It’s been a favorite site of mine ever since she started it. I love her photos and the inspiring women she interviews, and even though I was nervous it was way too much of an honor to turn down.
Here are some of my favorite photos from the shoot, featuring my sister Lauren’s house, the 6 outfits I probably wear the most, some awkward poses (I’m out of practice), and a cute dog to hopefully make up for them . . .
I guess I spoke too soon when I said that we were going to keep our garden limited to the front bed and a bunch of containers out back. We meant to, but we kept getting more plants and seeds—too many to fit into pots and the already full front bed—and also we just got hooked.
So Drew built two raised beds, and we made some hippie trellises inspired by the ones on the British gardening shows that I’m still obsessed with. After re-watching Alys Fowler’s show I moved onto Monty Don’s and Carol Klein’s vegetable gardening programs. They’re not nearly as good, at least to me. The hosts are a little too excitable, the music can be random and bizarre, and the gardens are huge and overwhelming, but I still love watching them and learning from them. And like Alys’ show, they’re beautiful and completely escapist for me.
Gardening is escapist for me too, but I think I like it most because it’s all so new to me. There’s so much I have to learn still. I can read lots of books and watch lots of shows/Youtube videos and still have no idea what I’m doing. At this point our garden is kind of a gamble; some of it’s working and some of it isn’t, and it will probably take us years to get a good handle on it. Which is fine by me.
So far we’ve been getting enough lettuce and spinach to eat every day. We cheated a little and bought 6 red lettuce plants from Gardens of Babylon, halfway grown, but the spinach and lettuce mixes were grown from seed and are big enough to eat. We have kales and bunching onions and sugar peas that should be ready in a month, some cherry tomato plants germinated months ago under lights that are amazingly still making it, and the herbs survived the winters and have grown back much bigger. We planted a few patches of wildflowers that are growing faster than anything else in our garden. Plants that aren’t doing so well: the broccoli (I planted it too late or too early; it’s small and faded and bug-eaten and doesn’t want to grow any bigger), carrots (they were slow and I ripped them out of the pot and replaced them with something else, which I kind of regret now), and the strawberries (the birds get to them before we do). We just planted cucumber seeds and zucchinis and yellow squashes, which should hopefully start producing in the summer, around the same time the sunflowers start popping up over the fence (sorry in advance, Lauren!).