All of the optimism and confidence I had after last year’s adventure in gardening was squelched by this year’s experience.
I was a lousy gardener this year.
We had incredibly cool temperatures during the first half of the summer. Then it got ridiculously hot. Then I got ridiculously lazy. I also made some critical mistakes when planting. I had small pest problem that took care of some of my plants. I forget that the harvest comes during our busiest time of year.
I learned that careful planning is crucial. I learned that gardening takes work. And water.
I planted my tomatoes and my beans too close together. I planted the beans against the garage wall. As the tomatoes took off, they sheltered any sliver of sunlight the beans would have liked. In the end, I harvested a handful of beans from several plants.
I didn’t thin my carrots enough, and so I was proficient at growing baby carrots. Until the tomatoes behind them took over their sunlight and slowed their growth too.
I had broccoli and was even able to freeze some, but a late summer mini vacation distracted me, and my broccoli flowered before I was able to get to it.
My green pepper plants got shadowed by the broccoli and the leaves decimated by something. This is the second year I have tried to grow green peppers and failed. I think it’s a sign to give up on them. My basil did well, but I didn’t have a clear plan for what I was going to do with it. (I’m not a huge pesto fan).
The wild raspberries in my neighborhood were extremely late this year. The berries were small, and they’re weren’t very many of them. I picked a couple of pints, but didn’t freeze any this year. I think the heat was just too hard on the plants this year.
The tomatoes did very well. I had lots of tomatoes and they turned red in waves. The day before our first hard frost, I ran out and picked every green tomato I could find (easily 100 of them) and laid them on a card table in my basement. They are now turning red. We ate a lot of tomatoes, and I’ve frozen a lot, too. I’m looking forward to having fresh tomatoes in sauces and soups this winter.
I didn’t carefully weigh my harvest like last year, but I’m estimating I probably harvested several pounds of carrots, about 40 pounds of tomatoes, and a few pounds of broccoli.
My garden did provide us with food – and certainly enough food to justify the money we put into it this year, but it wasn’t nice to look at, and its shortcomings haunted me every time I went into the backyard.
I cleaned out my garden beds and will get some mulch to help it out over the winter.
I’m thinking ahead to what I’ll do differently next spring. I know I will plant broccoli and tomatoes again, but I’m not sure what other vegetables or herbs I will plant. I’m also planning a long overdue project – to start composting. I know that I will be much more careful about what I plant and where I plant.
As they say in baseball, there’s always next year.
How did your garden grow? What will you do differently next year?