Turns out that our garden grows mutant large produce. And lots of it. Our first clue was the sugar snap peas that took over the fence. The next clue was the sunflowers...
We grew the sunflowers from seed. We started half indoors and half in the bed. We bought a breed that grows to 10-12 feet because we thought that would be cool. The seeds created seedlings and we transferred them to the garden. Around the same time, we planted corn, tomatoes, zucchini, basil, lettuce and artichokes. We were ambitious and experimenting. My husband had prepared the soil with 50% compost. I built an automated drip irrigation system to ensure that we didn't have to think about the garden.
The sunflowers began to grow - looking pretty normal. By the third week, they were three feet tall. We began to wonder what was happening as they sprouted to 5 feet during a week of vacation. At eight feet, the zucchini started to be edible (and continued for a month). Still no flowers. At twelve feet, we decided to brace them so they didn't fall on the tomatoes. Still no flowers. At eighteen feet, we saw blossoms. Truly - enormous flowers enjoying the sun. And when they were done, we let them dry out. We'll revisit them on harvest day.
On the vacation where the sunflowers grew 2-3 feet, the zucchini were inspired. We returned home and noticed that one of the zucchini had grown beyond a foot in length and 6 inches in diameter. check it out. Even more impressive was that a week later - there were three more giant zucchini. Trying to keep up with the sunflowers.
On harvest day, we chopped down the sunflowers (after all, the artichokes and tomatoes need some room). We realized that we could harvest the seeds that the birds had left us and had a couple of thousand seeds when we were done. Now I need to roast them...
The sweetest part was how much the kids enjoyed our backyard gardening. They ate the lettuce, enjoyed the sweet corn, experimented and liked artichokes and zucchini - and are pretty psyched about sunflower seeds. Over dinner on Monday, we ate our last corn and had some zucchini (every day) with steak. Benjamin remarked that we grew everything we ate except the meat.
"Mommy, can we grow meat?"
"No honey, meat needs too much room."
"Meat walks around...and this meat on your plate used to say 'Moo'".
Laughter and discussion of other things to grow and where food comes from ensued. Good fun.