It was such a promising spring… I had so much motivation, I planted nearly everything I intended to although there’s always a few things that I don’t get around to planting, like kale- boo hoo! I was even staying on top of the weeds and I thought I was pretty clever with my inter-planting. I’m not really sure what happened, exactly…but I really did not get much harvest this year!
For starters, ALL my fruit bushes that started out as expensive sticks ended up as…expensive sticks. I’m guessing they didn’t “take”. Huge bummer! I was really hoping to get them established this year so that soon I would have fresh berries from our own yard! I’ll try again next year!
Although my arugula came in quickly and was plentiful, I actually MISSED the harvest and it went to seed! I just never had a chance to make my huge batch of Italian Wedding soup, which is really the only thing I want the arugula for. I think I can still re-plant that though, so all hope is not lost. We did have several fresh salads off the Romaine and spinach, though. Yum!
I planted two watermelon plants. One was brutally murdered by the lawn mower, but the other is thriving nicely!
I even have two watermelons already…although they are both quite small still. This picture was taken mid-August. I’ll have to get an updated picture soon.
The basil was probably the healthiest crop in the garden. This is amusing to me because I’ve tried to grow basil so often before and never had much success. But I’ve made tons of pesto from this one plant, bruschetta, and sometimes I just like to go pinch off the flowers just so my hands will smell delicious all day!
My cucumber vines were doing amazingly, and then all of a sudden dried up and died completely.
I kind of suspect I may have overcrowded them. Next year just ONE seed per square. No one needs 4 million cucumbers anyway.
The snap peas were AWESOME this year! (It’s hard to tell from this picture because the peas are sharing a bed with three kinds of potatoes and of course, weeds) This was my biggest triumph because I LOVE snap peas madly, and have never been able to get a respectable harvest from them! I finally figured them out though, and had as many as I wanted this year!
The pea harvest is over, unfortunately, but I have no complaints there! I did inter-plant potatoes in there, which I will not do next year. I think it is fine, it just made for a lot of extra vegetation as well as made it a little harder to weed. I have already harvested the white and red potatoes, but the sweet potatoes aren’t quite ready yet.
The saddest part of this year’s garden to me is my tomato plot. I have no idea what happened, but just like with the cucumbers, the plants completely dried up. The green tomatoes still ripened, and at least on the cherry tomato plants I had plenty of tomatoes, but on all my canning plants there’s hardly anything. Fortunately, my parents planted tomatoes this year and had tons of rogue plants come up and do well, so they’ve given me enough to stock my tomato sauce supply.
One thing that did bring a smile to my face though was watching my Dagny-girl eat her cherry tomatoes straight off the vine. The only reason I even planted them was for her!
The cherry tomatoes did pretty well, and I’ve made plenty of “sun-dried” tomatoes (using the dehydrator) that will last me at least a year.
The green bean teepee turned out so cool! I’m so glad we did this, and the kids have loved picking beans off it.
I’m going to plant something else on the teepee next year though because I didn’t really care for the stringy texture of the pole beans. I’m going to stick with bush beans from now on.
The asparagus patch did pretty well, albeit the constant fight against weeds. Asparagus is supposed to take three years to mature, and enough shoots came up this year that I feel confident that in two more years I’ll be frying asparagus straight from my garden!
One of the more unique-to-me crops this year was the cilantro. I’d never successfully grown it before, nor did I ever know that coriander seed was another harvest from cilantro. Ironically, I didn’t use ANY of the cilantro. I forgot. I did, however, harvest fresh and dried coriander, which I’ll detail in a different post. It was fun!
We only got a few strawberries. Honestly, this has been mostly a weed patch all summer. It seems like every time I go out there the weeds have doubled. Three times now I’ve completely cleared the weeds and still they persist in returning. The June-bearing berry plants kept getting uprooted by pesky chickens and I don’t think there’s even one plant left, but fortunately the ever-bearing plants seem to have survived and even sent out shoots! I’m looking forward to that crop next year!
The pumpkin plant started off healthy, and then decided to drink coffee or something because it never hit puberty. It looks like we’ll be buying a pumpkin from Pumpkin Pete again this year! That’s ok, even though I really wanted to over-decorate with pumpkins this year, we had a lot of fun playing at Pete and Gwen’s last year!
All in all, it was rather unsatisfying. I was kind of hoping that I would be a professional gardener by my fourth year of gardening, but still I persist in making mistakes. My biggest mistake was fairly obvious, and that was using compost that I had thrown weeds into last year. (Duh). This year the weeds went into their own pile, and what little kitchen scraps and chicken manure I have went into a weed-free pile. I’m not really an advocate for composting. I’ve tried it several times and generally lose interest halfway through the season. Anyway, next year, I’m going to return to Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Gardening concept and make fresh Mel’s Mix to put in ALL my beds. That made it so much more fun last year to hardly have any weeding to do AND get a nice healthy crop. If the budget allows, I’d also like to do a little landscaping to “pretty up” the space.
Lastly, I’m also going to plant garlic in each of my beds next month. (I’m going to try to remember, anyway! Someone remind me!!) I think that will help fight any diseases/fungus that may think has a home in my garden.