Radishes are one of my favorite things to grow because they're so fast – these took just about a month from planting to harvest. I enjoyed them today roasted with olive oil, salt, and pepper. But I'm still convinced the best way to eat them is with bread and butter.
Six and a half months ago, when I planned out a vegetable garden, I secretly hoped that gardening would be my new thing. A new passion. As it turns out, it's not, and that's totally okay. It doesn't mean I'm going to give it up. I'm sure I'll be back out there next spring, sowing seeds, putting markers in the dirt. But it's more of a, "Hey, gardening? Let's just be friends," rather than an, "I love you, gardening. I can't get enough of you, gardening."
One aftereffect of trying on a new hobby for size: newfound appreciation for those who do it well. I have a hunch that some amount of talent and intuition is required, but mostly I think it's fervor that is vital above all else. You put love into it, you get love back. The next time I pass a neighbor's flourishing vegetable patch, I'll have a keener sense of just how much work went into making it that way.
The last edibles to come out of my garden are a handful of small potatoes and two itty-bitty bell peppers. I would've let the bell peppers hang in there for a while longer, but I worried about blight, especially with loads of rain in the forecast. (It's downpouring as I write this.) The peppers are so small, and they didn't even taste any good, but at least I can save the seeds. It's not entirely a bust.
Thanks for following along these last several months! The rest of my gardening posts can be found here.
Admittedly, I've neglected my garden some in recent weeks. I think I got a bit discouraged by some failures: the first broccoli head ended up flowering, my zucchini plant produced squash that only grew to about three inches and then shriveled up, and there are still no peppers on my bell pepper plant. But... finally... tomatoes are ripening! And I managed to grow a few carrots. And, not pictured, a small head of garlic. It'll be a small harvest this year, but a tasty one.
I've been enjoying the fruits of my labor – the radishes, strawberries, and snow peas in particular. There's a tiny broccoli head starting to grow, and my bell pepper plant is getting big, and the potatoes I shoved in the ground two months ago have sprouted. Overall, there hasn't been enough yield to significantly affect what I buy from the store, but it's still rewarding and fun and a great learning process for future gardening.
I was right about that first round of pink beauty radishes I tried growing—they went to seed. But I planted more, and these turned out beautifully. (It only took a month!) Today I pulled a few of them up and enjoyed them sliced thin with bread, butter, sea salt, and chives. I've run across this combo several times but for some reason never tried it until now. It's quite delicious.
Do you have any favorite ways to eat radishes? I think I'll throw a few in salads and try roasting a pan of them, too, once more are ready to harvest.
Since I'm growing so many things this year, it would be too tedious to give updates on everything, but here are a few highlights: the zucchini plant's leaves are getting big and gorgeous, strawberries are fattening up (one ripened quickly and was quickly consumed), the lettuce and cilantro are hanging in there, and even my one little watermelon seedling is showing some promise. I have very low expectations for the watermelon, since Seattle's climate isn't at all ideal for it, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to try, right?
The good: I've had a lot of progress with my veggies these last few weeks. The tomato plants look so big now compared to the last time I showed them to you. They're in the process of being hardened off and will be transplanted in another week or so. The snow peas are still doing well, and a few of my spindly broccoli seedlings even started to strengthen up. Oh, and garlic! Did you know you grow garlic simply by sticking a clove into the ground? Pretty cool. But it does take many months until it's ready for harvest.
The bad: I think my radishes have bolted (the leaves are growing, but there's no radish to be found when I've gently pushed aside some dirt to check). I'm going to give them another few weeks and then maybe pull them up... or let them flower and grow some seed pods instead. Have you ever grown radish seed pods? They sound delicious.
(pictured above: carrots, garlic, broccoli, lettuce, snow peas... and cherry tomatoes, a bit wilted from a few hours out in the sun.)
Do you have a favorite way to start seeds indoors? Since this was my first time, I used a seed starting kit (like this) but the peat pellets have tended to dry out pretty fast. I like the idea of making pots out of newspaper, so maybe I'll try that next time. I've been eyeing this tool that would make it even easier.
Of the seeds I've started indoors, the snow peas and the tomatoes have done the best. I repotted the tomatoes once their second set of leaves showed up, and spent last week hardening off the snow peas and then transplanting them into the garden. But my broccoli seedlings are spindly and weak; I'll be happy if even one of them turns out well.
Other progress, from seeds sowed directly outside: the radishes are doing well, and carrot and lettuce seedlings are just starting to peek up, and so is a stalk from a buried garlic clove. It's starting to look like a garden instead of just a barren box of soil, and that's a wonderful thing.
(pictured above: snow peas, pink beauty radishes, and cherry tomatoes.)
Last summer I grew a handful of tasty tomatoes but failed at my other vegetable attempts. I'm more hopeful about this year. Ever since the first hints of spring, I've been weeding, sowing flower seeds around the yard, and planning a garden. The raised bed garden I built is only four feet by four feet, but I'm using the square foot gardening technique (from this book), which stresses organized dense gardening. I could potentially grow sixteen different things just in this one box. (And, of course, the designer in me appreciates the grid.) I'll share more as it progresses.
I've been wanting to grow vegetables for the longest time. The longest time. Eventually, I'd love to have a full garden. But I'm starting off slowly. I bought one small tomato plant, a container, and some potting soil. I gave it a smidgen of plant food, and I've been checking it almost every day, watering it when the soil feels dry, watching it get bigger. The fact that it's actually getting bigger somehow seems miraculous to me.
At first, its leaves didn't even touch the first ring on the cage. They've shot up past it now, and I'm sure I'll have to add a stake pretty soon. I know tomato plants can be finicky, but I'm hoping for the best. Fingers crossed.
Hi! I'm Rachel, and these are bits of my days and things I like. I run the online shops Elephantine and Mignon, am a fiction writer, and live in Seattle with my husband and two cats. Read more about this blog...
This blog is a mix of my own photos + images by others. Please link back if you share one of my photos on your blog. Email me if you'd like me to remove a post that features your images.
A small disclosure: I occasionally use affiliate links as a way to pay for my blog fees. In other words, I earn a tiny commission if you end up buying the item from my link. The posts are entirely curated on my own. I do not have sponsored posts.
This blog design and all original content ©2017 by Rachel Ball / Elephantine.