Garden - 2011

I am not much of a gardener.  I have little time for it, and have never been much of a vegetable eater.  In the past couple of years, my taste for veggies have grown a bit, but my available time for gardening is still pretty much non existent.  I have enjoyed reading AtHomeDaddy’s attempts at growing a garden and even (at times) felt a little jealous that he is able to grow a little bit of a garden even in the “middle of the desert” (aka Texas) and I gots nothin’ going on here (not even “snow peas”… Get it?  SNOW PEAS??) – but I (easily) got over it as his posts progressed each year! 

Dad at Sister'sOn the other hand, my dad is a HUGE gardener.  He is all about everything “garden”.  If it grows in the ground he will try and grow it.  He is retired and spends all day, every day in his garden.  My sister seems to have gotten my father’s interest in gardening.  She now maintains three (?) garden plots. 

(Photo is of my dad helping my sister put in her first two garden plots.)

What seems like forever ago, I did put in a small garden (6’ x 8’) in our yard per The Mother of Five’s request.  For a couple of years we did get some items out of the garden.  Cucumbers, Zucchini, and pumpkins. 

I had little to do with the planting, maintaining, or enjoying the fruits of the garden (except mowing around the pumpkins – which spilled over the edge of the garden and took over a portion of our back yard).  But largely over the past two or three years, our garden has produced little more than some quite hearty varities of thistle and various other weeds (that I simply mow over a couple of times a year) and the infrequent cat turd when one of our (or one of the neighbor’s cats, or all of the above listed cats) left there for me. 

This spring, I received a call from my dad.  A neighbor was moving out and invited all the other neighbors around to scavenge his (quite large) raspberry patch.  My dad took a number of plants for himself, then contacted the Mother of Five to see if she wanted any.  She did and now it was my job to pick them up. 

Once they were at our house, we talked about what to do with these (perennial) plants – finally deciding to convert the largely unused vegetable garden into a “berry patch”.  We would plant the raspberry plants in a portion of the garden and strawberries in the other (both, which I do not like to eat).

This was the condition of the garden before any work was done…  May 07, 2011

Disaster Garden - May Disaster Garden - May  

The Mother of Five and the girls worked on getting it weeded and turned over (no small task I may say.  The root systems of these weeds were quite entangled, thick, and difficult to remove.  I added a little bit of elbow grease of my own, and by the end of the day had the garden looking better than it has in years!

 Garden - May Garden - May

We started off with the freshly exhumed raspberries and a singular rhubarb plant that my wife had from last year, but never actually got around to planting.

By the time we were finished placing the raspberries and rhubarb, the garden looked something like this.

 Garden - May Garden - May

From here, it was a waiting game.  As you can see we still had about 1/4 (+) of the garden space unused. 

Michele had bought some flowers for the pots on our front patio from Pearson’s Greenhouse (the greenhouse we patronize (which just happens to be less than a block from our house)).  When she was checking out the attended threw in a free “Sun Gold” cherry tomato plant (They sometimes do nice things like that at Pearson’s!)  That got added to the garden next to the rhubarb. 

Since I do not like raspberries, or rhubarb, and we still had some space left in the garden, I ran to Pearson’s Greenhouse myself – on a mission. 

I wanted GREEN PEPPERS!!  (I LOVE Green Peppers!)

They had none.  Instead, the attendant offered me some discounted “Gypsy Peppers”.  He said that his distributer had dropped them off, and that he did not know much about them.   I took a chance and bought four plants, if for no other reason than to fill the empty space in the garden.

Here is what the garden looked like on 06-24-2011 after weeding and planting the four Gypsy Pepper plants.

Garden in June  Garden in June  Garden in June  Garden in June 

Garden in August




And as of today (08-08-2011) this is what the garden looks like after a quick weeding and my first “harvest”.






Garden in August  Garden in August Garden in August  Garden in August  

What did I harvest?  Three “Gypsy Peppers” and a Sun Gold Cherry Tomato!

Bountiful harvest

Having researched them a little bit, I have discovered that Gypsy Peppers are considered a “sweet pepper” and have a taste similar to “banana peppers”.  This is GREAT NEWS as the Mother of Five LOVES banana peppers on her subway sandwiches!  I found a recipe for “easy” method of canning gypsy peppers.  I’ll be canning them and we can use them on our home-made sandwiches!

I have quite a few new peppers coming out, and tons of tiny little tomatoes!  In a few weeks, the garden will be pumping out peppers and tomatoes at an unprecedented rate! 

I am finding that I am enjoying the garden more than I thought I would.  It’s a struggle at times (trying to find the time it needs) but I get to it when I can.  I have found that I can spend shorter amounts of time with it, as long as I check on it a little more often.  I have been dealing with it about once a week, and spending about 30 minutes just weeding, etc. 

As you can see in the photos, I have put some posts up in the corners and plan on putting a small fence in to keep the cats out, and since next year the bushes will be full of raspberries, I will need to keep the birds out too.

Next year, I am thinking about finishing off the “berry patch” and adding a second (maybe a little bigger) vegetable garden – and doing a better job of PLANNING it out.  Planting more of the things I like, and the Mother of Five likes (cucumbers, Zucchini, and full sized tomatoes…)

Despite being a BIG FAN of “Good Neighbors” (or for anyone reading this from the other side of the pond “The Good Life) I don’t think I’ll be giving up my job for a lifestyle of suburban self sufficiency anytime soon..


  1. I am impressed. Congratulations on your harvest and future harvest! The garden looks lovely!

  2. I have had a garden of varying sizes every year since becoming a homeowner. It is often neglected (time is not my friend, either), but I enjoy the novelty of eating fresh fruits (blueberries, raspberries) and vegetables. My new mower ( has somewhat revolutionized my gardening. It is the first time I have had a bagger, and I have had the boys mulch the garden in grass clippings, which virtually smothered and eliminated the weed population. Now, I can actually SEE my vegetables!

    Nice job on the garden!

  3. Your garden looks fantastic! I tried a couple years to grow pumpkins but we just don't have enough sunlight in our back yard.
    Your post also reminded me that we got three raspberry bushes from a friend of our about three or four years ago. I remember planting them but forgot they were even in our yard. I think I will visit the spot I think I planted them in tomorrow.
    PS;Those peppers look good.


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