From Seed To First Frost

My garden ought to be in pictures, so I’ve done something about it. Now that it’s November, I’m nearing the end of the autumn garden. We had our first frost here last week. The heirloom tomato plant had to finally be retired, but I did hold out as long as I could. Now onto the photos:

September 23rd

September 23rd – I planted the seeds in my kitchen using recycled eggshells filled with garden soil. Later, when the times comes to transplant the seedlings, the eggshells will make good fertilizer. Less than a week after planting the radish seeds on Sept. 17th, tender shoots begin pushing toward the sun.

September 29th

September 29th – six days after transplanting the radish sprouts into the ground. The clover shaped seed leaves are common to many seedlings, including the arugula planted near this radish.

September 29th

September 29th – same day picture of my whole tiny garden patch. Note the long tomato vine and bushy basil still going strong. But pesto’s coming soon, oh hearty basil. Also keep an eye on the lower left corner of the garden patch. I have a garlic clove planted there as a marker and you will see it’s green shoots rising as the photos progress. In about 60 days, it’ll be a whole other head of garlic.

October 5th

October 5th – some larger leaves, not a lot of change, but a growth spurt is coming.

October 10th

October 10th – and THERE’S the garlic shoot! It started as a peeled clove from my kitchen. Also along the far edge of the garden you can see a few more garlic growing. I planted 7 of them in all, amidst the radishes, carrots, and arugula. The leafy ones in the foreground are radishes. The smaller ones in the background near the hose cutting are arugula. The carrots, the slowest growers, are interspersed between the radishes and only look like grass at the moment. Why a chopped length of garden hose, you ask? It is reputed to resemble a snake, keeping away garden raiders such as rabbits.

October 14th

October 14th – a preying mantis has moved into the tomato plant for a while. I love these bugs. Pretty well disguised, too, even after the photo cropping. My neighbor Carrie named it Alfred.

October 14th

October 14th – Where’s Alfred?

October 22

October 22nd – by the taking of this picture, the basil had run its garden course, about six months. I pulled it up, turned it to a lot of pesto, froze most of that, and am still enjoying it on my homemade pizzas and sandwiches. In the basil’s fertile place, I planted a second wave of arugula and radish. If you look closely, you can see a few red and orange tree leaves have begun to fall and decorate the garden.

October 23rd

October 23rd – a radish and garlic sunning together, protective serpent on duty.

November 3rd

November 3rd – lots of leaves now, on all counts. The garlic is nice and tall, the neighboring trees have commenced thorough daily littering. The arugula are just to the right of the still-standing tomato plant. Those arugula leaves are so fresh and tasty that I haven’t had the will to wait until they were enough for salad. I’ve been eating the tender, slightly peppery and rather delicious leaves right off the plants in the morning, two or three a day, when i go out to check on the garden. Garden fresh arugula: So. Good.

November 3rd

November 3rd – the garlic plant from the October 23rd picture (11 days later), relaxing with one of its neighbors. Those are arugula just behind it and the leafies in the back are radishes. The radishes are ready to harvest now, but the longer i keep them in the ground the bigger they’ll get, so i’m waiting.  I’ll pull up a few at a time to crunch with lunch as the cold weather bears down on us.

View from the corner garlic marker again...

November 9th – The morning after the first frost, I came out to check on the garden and there was my poor droopy thawed tomato plant. The last few tomatoes on it felt like water balloons after they’d frozen and thawed overnight. Here, it has already been cut down. You can see the cut stump of the tomato plant in the upper left of the photo.

Today, is more than Carl Sagan’s birthday. It is also the day I pulled the first radish out of the garden.

The radish on the right is my target.

He's going for it!

Fresh outta the ground.

Fraggle food!

The roots remind me of happy little running radish legs.  And I crunched it with lunch.

From the seed to the kitchen. YAY!

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About Suhail Rafidi

Suhail Rafidi is a novelist and educator whose works explore the destiny of human values in a technological landscape. You can find him on Twitter, too, @shelldive.
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