Back To The Garden in 2016

Well hey there.

Yep, we're still here. In 2015 we took a little time to travel (Erin to Alaska, Scott to the U.K.), spend time with friends and family, hike and camp around western North Carolina, dote on our dog Loretta (she says her blog is coming soon!), and work on our two plots in the Winterfield Community Garden.

It's that last thing that we've found so rewarding as of late. Gardening teaches you patience. And that's something we I tend to have in short supply. 

Unlike many aspects of life today, gardening takes time. It requires hard work. And it demands water -- which we've had a little bit of lately. 

Scott pulled up our roots -- the okra roots

Despite the raging temperatures this summer, our garden plots did really well. In the third week of April we planted two cherry tomato, five heirloom tomato, two marconi pepper, two Santa Fe pepper, two eggplant (Japanese and Italian), Provider green beans, three squash, three cucumber, a row of swiss chard, and two rows of Red Burgundy okra. Marigold seeds went around the borders of our plots.

Some "experimental" red pepper seedlings failed so we bought some conventional plants at Home Depot on May 5.  A busy summer of watering and harvesting the garden each day taught me several things:
  • Weigh what you gather and write it down, at least for bragging rights.
  • One squash plant is damn well enough. If you plant two, you're crazy. At least gift the extra to Friendship Trays
  • Cucumbers will drag your cute little trellis net down. Use a hard surface instead.
  • Hold out hope for your peppers. They're late bloomers and at summer's end they'll start putting out. 
  • Get aggressive with your pest control. Our crunchy granola selves refrained from hard-core pesticides. Next year when little yellow worms start showing up on my green beans, I will show those suckers no mercy. 
  • You best like okra if you plant two rows. Eat it, can it, gift it away.
  • If you're going to direct seed, start early. Like in late February or early March, not April.
  • If you covet your neighbor's Sungold tomatoes, plant your own, silly. 
  • Don't wait until Labor Day to plant brassicas like Brussels sprouts, kale, etc. Sacrifice some of your summer space and do it by mid-August. 

How do I remember all this?

I've kept a garden journal -- a little spiral-bound notepad -- since our first foray with raised beds at our rental house in 2012. Rather than jotting things down in a notebook, I'd like to share here what we're growing, what we're learning, and how we're using the goods from our garden. 

The colors of Swiss Chard are welcoming in winter.

Right now we have the row of last spring's Swiss Chard still doing well, and some Lacinato kale and Siberian red kale that seems to like this rain. Tonight I plan to sautee some kale and collards with garlic, red pepper and olive oil. What's the health benefit? Looks like I get fiber, vitamins, beta carotene and even calcium. Woot woot.

If you're still reading, thanks. (You're probably related to us.) And also, let us know what you're eating, growing and enjoying. The comments section is the best place to do it -- or tweet us at @writeonerin or @R_Scott_Adams. Happy New Year!


  1. Yes, I am related but delighted to see you "back"!!
    Love the photos, as always.

    1. Thanks so much! We appreciate all readers, especially those who birthed us.

  2. Replies
    1. Haaaaay KG, thanks for reading - and commenting. Hope you have an equally yummy 2016!

  3. Yum, I like the sound of your plans for cooking. It is such a wonderful feeling when you can cook things that you have picked from your very own garden. Yesterday I was feeling so blessed. I had a meal in which five different things came from my garden- well, one of them was from my neighbour but I gave him the tree.

    Bert Aguilar @ Rainfill Tanks and Curved Roofing Supplies


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