We finally conquered my raised vegetable garden today! More on that in a sec… :)
First, hi! How was your weekend? This was the first weekend around here that really felt like summer, and I spent most of it outdoors, twirling in the sunshine.
Starting with attending opening day of the Downtown Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning with my Mom. It was a ZOO with 40,000+ people visiting more than 250 vendors, but I feel like this officially kicks off summer!
Local farmers are about 6 weeks ahead of schedule because of the incredibly warm spring we’ve had, so there was a cornucopia of brightly colored flowers and produce to choose from.
Plus, Pupusas to eat! :D
Oh sweet, sweet pupusa – it’s been way too long!
These babies are a Farmer’s Market favorite, and are thick, hand-formed corn tortillas (more like pancakes they are so thick,) sandwiching fresh spinach and massive amounts of gooey cheese. They’re cooked ’til crispy on a griddle, then topped with crunchy slaw, and fresh salsa. Cray cray.
My Mom and I split a pupusa every time we come to the market, but this was the first time we have ever completely demolished the entire thing. Cough.
I walked away from the market with more than a full stomach, as I stocked up on seedlings for the aforementioned vegetable garden: basil, chives, cucumbers, kale, sweet 100 cherry tomatoes, and celebrity tomatoes. (Plus a few other plants I got from the store today that I am THIS EXCITED ABOUT.)
After the market, I dropped my Mom off, then picked up Ben to head to the YESS Duck Derby.
Thank you x1,000,000 to those of you who donated – they ended up crushing their goal!!!
The event was packed with families, but Ben and I still had fun walking around, listening to the live bands, and watching as 38,000 rubber duckies were dumped into a pond to “race” to the finish line.
None of our ducks won, and as a result we are not $10,000 richer (damn), but it was all for a great cause. :)
It was a hot & sticky afternoon, so after the duck derby Ben and I walked to a nearby bar to watch the Kentucky Derby on an outdoor patio with an icy cold beverage. I swear you could have heard the crowd cheering for Dullahan (the horse from Iowa) all the way in Kentucky. Another 100 yards and he totally could have won! Although, 3rd place isn’t too shabby either. ;)
Today my Mom and I got down with our inner gardeners, or rather, I channeled hers as I can’t keep a fake flower alive, and constructed a raised vegetable garden!
I’ve been wanting a vegetable garden for years, and finally decided this was the summer to do it. I’m hoooorrible at keeping flowers alive, but something tells me I’ll be better at vegetable gardening because you can really see and eat the fruits (pun intended) of your labor, ya’ know?
I’m planning on sharing all the steps tomorrow, but basically we built a frame, lined it with newspapers, filled it with dirt, then planted the seedlings.
In a few week’s time Ben and I shall be dining on home-grown cucumbers, tomatoes, chives, basil, kale, brussels sprouts (can hardly contain my excitement) and WATERMELON (OMG I cannot friggin’ wait to see if they turn out!) I also left room to add spinach, peas, and parsley to the garden. Just gotta find some seedlings first.
One thing that surprised me about the whole process was how hard gardening is (well, at least the initial setup). My Mom and I were sweating like little piglets as we hauled dirt, dug holes, and pushed in stakes. Definitely counting today as a workout day.
After getting mud caked from the tips of my toes, to the tops of my eyebrows, and even on my lips (how?!), I am now showered and resting uncomfortably on the couch. My arms and abs are already sore!
Ben’s got something simmering on the stove for dinner. He won’t let me look, and made me turn my head when he came in with the groceries. What is this boy up to, I wonder? ;)
Have a great night, everyone!
Do you enjoy gardening? Any tips for a rookie like me?
I love gardening because it makes me feel healthier, mentally and physically. In the summer, I love to get my exercise in by weeding and hoeing (you’ll have mega-strong shoulders and back by the end of summer). Anyhoo, the only advice I would give is to use a cucumber trellis so you can save space in your garden. It doesn’t look like you have a ton of room, and happy cucumber vines will go EVERYWHERE. And two, don’t forget to pinch back the basil to prevent flowering. Oh, and tomato cages or really strong stakes are a must for the tomatoes. Good luck with your garden!
As for gardening advise…purchase some Preen to keep the weeds under control. Finding time to keep on top of the weeds has been my biggest gardening struggle.
Marissa Duque-Duenas 05.06.2012
Hi Iowa Girl,
I don’t like gardening, but certainly I love Pupusas I was amazed to see PUPUSAS EL SALVADOR on your blog. I was in New York last year in June and had the opportunity to visit the Summer Farmers Market in Queens and enjoyed the pupusas. They are so tasty!. I’m from El Salvador living in USA for the last 32 years and enjoy so much when people have the opportunity to taste Pupusas and actually like them.
I really enjoy your Blog.
Have a nice day.
Annie @ What's Annie Making 05.06.2012
That pupusa looks fantastic! I love summer farmers markets so much. And good luck with the garden. We’re trying to garden a little bit this summer too. So far the only thing that looks good is the cilantro.
Jim Simmons 05.06.2012
I like your garden. I am impressed . you are so handy. I pulled an ice cream bucket full of radishes today. Am going to picle them. cut the spinach today.dug and ground up horseradish root today. wow,hot. love the early spring. checked my black raspberries today. loaded with soon to be berries. will make sugar free jelly and regular jelly. I enjoy your page.
Baking Serendipity 05.06.2012
I love your garden! I’m so excited to move home to the midwest (Ohio!) and live in a place I stand a chance at growing something. The Arizona desert has not been kind to all my attempts thus far!
Lisa @ Fit in the Midwest 05.06.2012
Love your garden! We’ve been considering making a raised bed, but will probably stick to container gardening again this year. My tip is to watch the plants really closely. Last summer, our roma tomatoes started getting brown on the bottom. We still aren’t sure what caused it, but it was so disappointing. Good luck!
I went to the one of the farmer’s market in our region and it was so tiny compared to yours. I can’t wait until summer when there are lots of veggies available.
I just wanted to let you know what the brown spots on the bottom of tomatoes are. It’s called blossom end rot. Most of the time if you put a little more lime when you plant it will prevent it. Also, (at least here) you can buy a liquid called blossom end rot treatment and you spray it on them and it will help with the future tomatoes that grow. :)
Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious 05.06.2012
What a fun trip to the farmer’s market. I’d love to try that pupusa!
Sounds like a lovely way to kick off the summer weekends! And the garden looks great!
I am so (vicariously) excited to find out what Ben’s surprise supper plan was! Aaaaand have been inspired to finally go through with the plan I have each year to make a patch of my backyard into a little garden (that, in my dreams, is mostly full of garlic and potatoes).
Elena Ballam 05.06.2012
Jealous of your weather!! This weekend here in the Twin Cities was cool, cloudy, and RAINY. Hoping for some sunshine this coming week!
We hit the farmer’s market too… and when my mom & I walked by the pupusa stand, I told her that you talk about those on here! I opted for a smoked turkey sandwich… the breakfast burrito was what I wanted, but the line was around the block!
I am not a big gardner, but I do like working in the yard and it totally counts as a workout. One tip, you really should not be wearing open toe shoes when drilling or using power tools.
nice job, altho you have too much stuff in too small an area…..especially if you have viney things in there such as watermelon. i bought myself a very small lightweight Honda tiller and it works great for small gardens. and i also put down newspaper after everything is planted, then mulch on top. get some good heavy duty tomato cages, not the thin cheap spindley ones. gardening is fun! Enjoy!
This is terrific! We just built raised beds here! Two of them. It was so much work, building, digging, and shoveling! ALSO – I have done quite a bit of mission work in El Salvador – so seeing you eating papusas is AWESOME! Not many people here know what they are! Hope they were delicious!
We’re just getting into gardening! We don’t have the option to have a box like you’ve just setup because we live in a townhome. Instead, we bought two tomato plants and put them in big planters. If we don’t kill these, we’ll expand and get more!
Cheri Sanny 05.06.2012
I loved the cauli “rice”… do tell about this pizza?
Mrs. McFall 05.06.2012
I have yet to have the pupusas at the farmers market – but I will be 1st in line next time I go down there! The only gardening tip I know of is that clematis love love love lime! (not the citrus fruit lime).
What did Ben end up making for you?
nicole @ I am a Honey Bee 05.06.2012
I love gardening!
For our watermelon make sure they don’t sit in any water after it rains or you water it bc they will get funky. they spread out a lot so make sure they don’t over run the other things you planted.
Love gardening! This is my third year and I am still a rookie! haha. But have learned that good quality soil is key, and even then there is a lot of weeding involved! Also, make sure to research companion gardening :)