It’s been almost six weeks since I mentioned The Great Gardening Catastrophe of 2016, so an update is long overdue. Spoiler alert: not such a catastrophe after all!
While I saw a few indistinct sprouts here and there, the green beans absolutely took off like rock stars! They have truly been the instant gratification/plant encouragement that this millennial needed to continue with the whole shebang. Here is a picture of my very first harvest:
Ya’ll, that’s food. That I grew myself.
There weren’t many, so I ate Brussels sprouts with dinner that night and cooked up the green beans with some garlic and olive oil for my husband. His verdict? They were “tangier” than usual. Neither of us could determine if said tanginess came from the beans themselves or the amount of garlic I used to cook them, but another harvest is coming soon, so I’ll be able to taste them myself. Knowing nothing at all going in to this, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the green bean success. Just look at these babies:
The other plants have had tricks up their little green sleeves. When I first moved from the seedlings I started in the window to the raised bed, I labeled some popsicle sticks to mark which seeds were planted where. I had cherry tomatoes, san marzano tomatoes, green beans, basil, bell peppers, and cilantro. There is currently just soil where the green bean seeds went. There was one tiny sprout where one of the tomato plants was rooted, but it wasn’t extremely encouraging. The basil and cilantro, however, did great! Sort of.
You see I hadn’t viewed a full basil plant in some time. I’d only been using already picked basil leaves from the store. And while I’m very familiar with cilantro, this cilantro looked different. I kept telling myself that the green beans looked like grass when they first sprouted, so I shouldn’t be concerned. After a little while, when the plant grew larger, it still wasn’t very cilantro-like. But I don’t know anything about gardening! Maybe I accidentally bought some rare and unique cilantro? I plucked one of the leaves, along with one of the basil leaves, and brought them inside to taste. Naturally, I smelled them first. Nothing. This was extremely disappointing, given the delicious scents of both basil and cilantro. I tried to chiffonade the basil, but it tasted completely bland. At this point, I started questioning everything. Did I do something wrong with the soil? Is it just a poor plant?
At one point, I even asked myself if the basil were actually spinach, since I had purchased spinach seeds as well. After a coworker informed me that spinach won’t grow this time of year, though, I didn’t include the spinach seeds in my window-seedlings. Or so I thought. My “basil” continued to grow, but it did not resemble the flowering, centralized plant that I know and love. Instead, it was growing independent leaves. And the “cilantro” was getting larger and larger. For some reason, I never compared the “cilantro” to that one lonely tomato sprout on the other end of the bed, a whopping 36 inches away.
Then I went out of town for Memorial Day Weekend. When I came back, my plants were out of control. In case you’ve been living under a rock and aren’t aware, Texas has gotten a lot of rain. My garden is clearly loving it and looks like an actual garden. I took some more pictures and brought them in for the coworker above to take a look at and help me figure out the mystery. She looked at each picture for approximately 1.4 seconds before informing me that my basil was, in fact, spinach. (Don’t mind the weed growing off to the right. It’s gone now.) Sadly, from what I understand via the internets, I let it grow too long. If I eat it now, it’ll supposedly be bitter and tough. But it worked!
Oh, and that cilantro? Definitely a tomato plant. I still don’t know if it’ll be cherry or san marzano tomatoes since neither have grown any fruit yet, but I’m excited to find out.
While I’m slightly bummed that I missed the window on good spinach, and slightly more bummed that I don’t have a crazy prolific basil crop growing, I’m elated that this experiment wasn’t a total flop. To top it off, I did find some actual cilantro growing this week! It’s hard to tell in the picture, but that little guy is smaller than my thumbnail. He has some friends nearby though.
Because life is an ongoing surprise, we’ve decided to sell our house this summer and move (not too far away, though). The vegetable garden will unfortunately not be joining us unless any of the plants are easily moved into pots, but I’m truly excited to see how well it’s turned out and look forward to trying out even more vegetables in our upcoming home.