Three Months Later: An Edible Garden Update

We’re back with an edible garden update just a few short months since we planted it back in mid May. And the good news is that our little herb, fruit, and vegetable experiment was actually a success! Not only did everything live, but it thrived with very little labor on our part. Score! We were lucky to have a lot of rain fall in the late spring and early summer to establish everything, and whenever we had spans of hot dry weather we just used the rain that we saved up in our DIY rain barrel to keep things happy & green. That’s it!

We didn’t see the need to reach for any pesticides or even any fertilizer thanks to the nutrients from our backyard compost that nurtured everything since we used it to plant things back in May. So in the is-it-more-work-than-it’s-worth category, the answer is unequivocally NO! There’s really nothing like a fresh tomato or raspberry snagged in your very own yard. And our dinners are a lot tastier thanks to the homegrown herbs we now have on hand. Check out how tall our stalks of basil got (front right below). They’re practically up to my knee!

We also have more oregano, parsley, and swiss chard than we can even eat. And speaking of chard, we’re ashamed to admit that we haven’t even tried it yet! We’ve watched it grow bigger and leafier but don’t really know of any good chard recipes off the top of our heads. Do you guys have any suggestions for us? It’s a crime not to have tried our homegrown chard yet!

But lets move on to something we’ve eaten since the moment they appeared: our habit forming cherry tomatoes. We’ve been tossing them back like candy for the past month or so and we love that as soon as we pluck a few off our little plant buddy is already hard at work making new ones. It’s like a never-ending supply of sugary-sweet snacks. Here’s what they look like in the growing stage… not quite ready for eating.

And here’s where they end up right before we pop them into our watering mouths (which happened to this guy as soon as I snapped a few shots):

We actually purchased two different types of cherry tomatoes, so here’s the “golden” variety when it’s ripe. They get all vibrant and orange when they’re ready. Pretty, eh? And they look so great mixed with the deeper red ones that we also have growing nearby.

We love whipping up a super quick salad with some of our garden basil:

Just toss in a bit of feta and some italian dressing and it’s chow time…

But we can’t forget about our amazing raspberry bush that has us majorly whipped (we literally wait with bated breath for each burst of berries). There isn’t much in this world that compares to fresh garden grown raspberries.

So in summary, we highly highly recommend starting a little edible garden of your own. As long as you keep things watered while they settle in you should have a relatively easy go at it, and you can even grow oregano, basil and parsley in a pot on your windowsill or balcony. Easy peasy. Heck, speaking of peas, you can probably grow them too!

We’re also happy to report that we definitely got our money’s worth in the budget department. Our raspberry bush was just $9 at Lowe’s in the beginning of the season and we snagged all of our tomato plants and herbs for just $10 total at the farmer’s market! We’ve easily enjoyed at least $20 worth of basil alone not to mention all the other goodies we’ve eaten on a regular basis for the past few months thanks to our backyard before-dinner pit stop. Sweet.

But what about you guys? Have you been growing anything of your own this year? Do you have any pest problems or tips and tricks to share with fellow beginner gardeners like us? And what about those swiss chard recipe suggestions? Definitely spill those beans.


  1. Carol in Indian Springs says

    Beautiful! Unfortunately we have a lot of deer in our area – we live next to a state park – and they tend to feast on our plants and vegetables when we’ve grown them in the past. I may research some natural deer deterants and see if we can try again next spring.

    • says

      Hey Carol,

      We recently read what sounded like a great chemical-free tomato tip (maybe in Real Simple?). They suggested hanging small red christmas ornaments on tomato plants before they actually bear fruit so animals investigate those and realize they’re not juicy and delicious and move on. Then the theory is that once the fruit comes in they’ll remember the not-food ornaments and leave them alone. Has anyone actually tried this method? Any other tips for deer?


  2. Katie S. says

    Hi Sherry–we’re swiss chard fanatics! My fiance sautes it with a little olive oil & chopped garlic, then seasons it with salt & pepper. Super easy! The result is similar to cooked spinach. We enjoy it with our dinner at least 2-3 nights a week!

  3. ESBlondie says

    Thanks for the garden update! Everything looks great. I was wondering if you have trouble with weeds? Or how often (if ever) did you have to weed?

    • says

      Hey ESBlondie,

      Good question! We put down a nice thick application of mulch to keep things moist and happy but the bonus of mulch is that it cuts down weeds by around 99%, so other than snagging a random sprout every few weeks there has been zero weeding. Wahooo!


  4. kajr says

    We love swiss chard! My favorite way to prepare it is to roast the stems with a little olive oil and salt for 20 minutes or so. Add the leaves and roast for 5 more minutes (until they start to wilt). Then stir in a little light cream or half-n-half, top with grated parmesan, and brown for 5 more minutes. It’s delicious.

  5. says

    You guys should try making your own rasberry jam this summer! That way you can enjoy it all winter too. Or I once saw Ina Garten make her own jam to eat the very same day with breakfast. I did a quick Google search and there were tons of recipies!

  6. says

    Hey Guys! As new home owners and gardeners, we don’t have a clue what we’re doing but we inherited an English garden and an herb garden. I’m worried I’m killing everything in both gardens because I don’t know how to prune or even what is what. Any suggestions on a great gardening book for beginners or an online resource? Thanks!

  7. says

    I also planted my first edible garden this year. I’ve had some disasters… like my dill and snow peas (it got too hot here, WAY too early), but my tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, rosemary and basil are flourishing. I’m growing Roma tomatoes, and they are sooooo tasty and have more flesh than the ones at the store. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my sweet banana peppers grow so much faster than the green bell variety, and I would highly recommend you pick some up for next year. Like yours, mine has been such a fun little project that I will continue it year after year.

  8. mribaro says

    Yummy swiss chard! I like to cook it in salted boiling water for half an hour, then strain it, put in a salad bowl and generously pour olive oil over it (like you would a salad). One can also add one chopped garlic, a sliced hard boiled egg or two sliced cooked potatoes. Take at least half a kilo per person – you’ll see how the large amount that hardly fits a huge pot wilts down to a small side dish size :) Buon apetito.

  9. says

    Everything looks great! I am jealous. This was the first summer we lived in our house and we were not able to plant an edible garden because our yard is so shady! We just haven’t figured out a good place to plant things yet :(

  10. says

    I recommend ‘You Grow Girl’ by Gayla Trail (she also has a website:

    Did any of the seeds you started from scratch work? You mentioned that you bought everything at Lowes or the Farmers Market. I had luck with my Farmers Market finds but my seeds were a huge disappointment!

    • says

      Hey Heather S,

      Our seedlings were a huge disappointment as well, but in their defense, it wasn’t their fault. We learned that our low-e windows were to blame (since they reflect light to keep the house cooler, our seedlings weren’t getting the full sun they needed). Lesson learned. And the good news is that we save enough energy costs with our windows that we don’t feel bad snagging little plants instead of starting things from seed. Hope it helps!


  11. LauraC says

    We just moved into our house in April and we got to enjoy fresh raspberries this summer – enough that I made a couple of batches of rasp. jam! (Freezer jam, couldn’t be easier.) Though I have to admit, it was run-of-the-mill to me since I’ve grown up with oodles and oodles of raspberries and have made jam since Middle School. My parents always have raspberries coming out of their ears, so we eat them fresh, make jam, and freeze them for toppings thoughout the year. One of the perks of living in the Pac. NW!

    As far as gardens go, the beds already here at the house were too far gone to be of any use. We cleared the area, hubby spaded, raked, leveled and smoothed the area and we planted grass. The plan is next spring to build some nice raised beds and we’ll get our veggies next year!

  12. Lesley says

    This looks amazing! I’m so jealous. This is my project for next year (once we can find a dog-free place to house it).

    Oh, and it’s dangerous to show fresh tomatoes & raspberries to a pregnant lady. That’s my new craving for the day.

  13. says

    Although my black thumb doesn’t contribute to the bounty of fresh munchies in our garden, my husband’s green one does!
    We have grape tomatoes (our third year with the same plants! They keep coming back!), cucumbers, spinach, basil (I would eat basil anything!), oregano, mint, and at our lake house, a garden FULL of raspberry bushes! YUM!

  14. Jessica says

    Hi, I have a silly question. How are you picking your basil? Are you cutting them off at the stems? plucking off each leaf? I never quite fully understood how exactly to pick herbs in the correct manner to allow them to keep regrowing. Thanks in advance!

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