My wife is the real gardener and I’m mostly involved in a labor capacity. We try to grow things that are both successful and that we like to eat like greens, root vegetables and spicy peppers. In the past we have canned a good bit of this stuff we grow making jalapeno and habanero salsas with varying success. More lately, we have been experimenting with fermentation which uses far less energy than canning and results in some fun and gross experiments.
Garden 2017: This was by far our most successful early year planting. We had a good plan and got our seeds in early. We continue to expand our role as organizers for the garden and my wife has begun planning volunteer activities with local organizations to improve the garden and the surrounding area. At this stage, we are happy enough with enrollment and the operations of the actual cultivation that our efforts are starting to focus on making the lot on which the garden sits more visually appealing to the community in the hopes that it will draw more people in. On our personal plot, the planting has been mostly focused on greens and our arugula is growing really well. In our second plot, the leeks are coming in nicely which is gratifying because they have challenged us in the past.
Garden 2016: This is our second year participating in the Tipton Community Garden. We took a more active role this year by helping recruit gardeners at neighborhood meetings and so far have been quite successful.
Garden 2015: This is our first year as part of a community garden. It has been a great experience, and the organizers have been great at getting people to contribute. The garden features a great composting system and the plot itself was donated after a house was torn down. We primarily grew greens (kale, arugula, beets and beet greens, radishes and radish greens, red leaf lettuce). We experimented with a fall garden and it’s been really productive. We grew Carolina Reaper, according to Wikipedia, the hottest pepper on record and a bunch of other peppers as well as some zucchini and carrots.
Garden 2014: We were living in a duplex in 2014 and had limited space and freedom to build permanent structures so we built raised beds out of cinder blocks that we set upright so we could plant smaller things like basil, thyme, and oregano in the the holes. For whatever reason, we had an amazing crop of habaneros in this garden (I think we got the plants from Lowe’s or something) and we ended up making a fermented hot sauce from peppers. Over a year later, we’re still waiting to process the puree into a hot sauce. We also used an indoor incubation method my wife learned from her grandpa in which we plant the seeds indoors under UV lights around March and by the time the weather is good enough to plant the seeds have developed into pretty hearty plants. It seemed to work.