Garden progress, praise and woes

We endeavored to create a vegetable garden this year. All of the gardening books we consulted advised starting small.

We didn’t listen. (Photo is from mid-July)

We planted:

7 zucchini/ summer squash plants

14 roma tomatoes

6 banana peppers

18 green bell peppers (actually I think a few were supposed to be red, but I picked them before they turned)

3-4 eggplant

3 pumpkins

A packet of carrot seed

Swiss chard

lots of spinach

4 broccoli- only 2 plants survived

a row of beets

3 cantelopes

3 watermelons

a row of radishes

And I just planted a fall crop of broccoli, lettuce, spinach, kale, and collard greens. I’m hopeful that those will continue into October, before it gets too cold.

We harvested several prize zucchini, like this one. This guy weighed 5.2 pounds- almost as much as the dog.

We had some issues with rain this summer- it rained ALOT. ALOT. ALOT. As a result, I *think*, some of our veggies experienced “blossom end rot”- where the bottom part of the fruit or veggie is black or rotted. This happened to ALOT of our zucchini. I had started out thinking that I planted too many zukes & summer squash, but due to the rot problem, I had to throw out a good amount. Thankfully my overplanting allowed us to have a great zucchini and summer squash supply in the kitchen. At this point in the year, I have ripped out all of the squash plants that have stopped producing and have just a single summer squash plant with about 4 mid-sized squash on it.

We planted a few sunflowers along the back of the left garden bed. What started out like this in the windowsill:

Turned into this:

Most of the sunflowers grew over five and a half feet tall. We’re now waiting for them to yellow & droop so we can cut them & hang them to dry to harvest the seeds. Next year I want to find a different location for these guys, since the blooms follow the sun all day, you couldn’t SEE them from the house. You had to walk around the back of the garden to see them in all their yellow glory. From my kitchen window all I saw was the backs of the flowers. Not what I had pictured. Oh well. Live and learn, right?

We’re getting lots of tomatoes right now, but the plants look kind of sickly. We neglected to put tomato cages around all of them when they were small and by the time we got around to it, it was really tough to do without killing the plants while threading them through the support cage.

We’re still waiting on our melon patch. You can see a few cantelope (middle and top) and watermelon. We’re also waiting on our eggplants- we planted a variety and it looks like we’ll have a white eggplant and a purple/white one. There are some green ones too, but we don’t know what to do with that?

The beets were awful. I’m never planting those again. They smelled bad, they tasted funny, and when I cleaned & cooked them, the whole house smelled like “farm” as my husband described it. Yuck. I don’t know if we’ll do another melon patch, it seems to take up alot of room and thespace could be utilized in a better way. The carrots don’t seem to be doing much, I don’t like radishes so I shouldn’t have planted them, I want more swiss chard, more broccoli, spinach, and leafy vegetables. The mesclun salad mix didn’t work out as well or as long as it did when we planted it a few years ago at our condo- so I’m thinking head lettuce next year.

I need to research more about root vegetables before deciding to do those again. I’d like to start a strawberry patch and an asparagus patch next year. Our grapes will be in their second year next year, so we might get a few fruit from them next summer!

All in all, the garden was and continues to be a fun family experience. Here’s hoping to a good fall harvest and a late arriving winter 🙂

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4 responses to “Garden progress, praise and woes

  1. Very impressive start!

  2. What a great garden! I am VERY impressed about the melons given where you are. Do you know the FedCo seed catalog? Looke them up, they’re in Maine and specialize in heirloom varieties and things that grow in northern climates.

    There’s a late blight getting everybody’s tomatoes. We’ve grown an eggplant called Black Swallow (or something like that), it does well in the short growing season. I like beets, but especially the red ones, roasted (skins and all, the skins peel right off after), and then with gorgonzola cheese.

  3. For the tomatoes…my parents caged theirs this year and they still fell over because they were too heavy. You should be able to pound in 2 x 4 or 2x 2 stakes and tie them up…much easier than caging at this point. Good luck! Next year I’ll have a garden too 🙂 yay!

  4. The garden looks great! You guys really had a great haul this year. We experienced blossom end rot too due to the crazy amounts of rain we got.

    My advice, write down what you loved and wanted more of so you will be better able to plan for next years garden. I always forget to do this and sometimes end up with things I don’t like. Beets really are an aquired taste. My hubby says they taste like dirt, but they really are good for you.

    How is your pregnancy coming along? I’ve only got 3 more weeks before the little guy shows up (maybe less).

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