It's not the abundant harvest I had hoped for but at least I'm learning enough about gardening to know what I need to change for next year.
A few months back I went to the garden center and picked up a bunch of starts for my vegetable garden. I got the garden area all cleaned out and the soil turned. Once the plants were in this was what I had:
My beautiful garden was clean and full of promise. Today this is what I have:
In a matter of three days the weeds have overtaken the garden! In addition you may notice that there are no strawberries as they were dug up a few weeks back and put in to pots that can be moved indoors at night in hopes of keeping the squirrels away.
The peas actually produced really well but since there were only two plants we never have been able to harvest enough of them at once to actually use them in a meal. L isn't very fond of raw vegetables so even though the peas went in for him, Whohead and I have been eating to two or three pods that have ripened at a time right off the plants. Since they have done well in the garden this year they will be planted again next year but will most likely have 10 or so plants instead of 2.
The herbs are doing really well. The basil (pictured up front) and cillantro (not pictured) have both already been used in a few dishes and are marvelous! As a matter of fact I used the cillantro in some homemade salsa I took to a block party last weekend and every last bit of it was eaten. The garlic (pictured in back...the stalks) is growing really well but to be honest I don't know how to tell when it's "ready" so I haven't pulled any of it out yet.
My precious tomatoes seem to be struggling. I think part of it is I don't think they got enough water early on and so several tiny tomatoes that were growing were stunted. The Roma plants (2 plants) have only managed to give me a combined total of 1 tomato . It is still trying to mature so I haven't even been able to pick it yet. Both plants have flowers on them so they are still trying to produce but I'm seriously considering trying to transplant them somewhere else in the garden that has better sunlight. I think the mulberry tree is just shading the garden too much.
The Sweet 100s should just be called Sweet 1s as it too has only managed to give me one tiny fruit. It's pretty funny as it looks like a single pea growing on the plant. The grape tomatoes are really the only plant that it thriving as currently it has 3 or 4 really good clusters of fruit. I'm looking on the bright side as these are great for sharing so Whohead and I don't have to fight over who gets to eat the tomatoes.
As for the bigger tomatoes the only plant of the three I planted (Early Girl, Beefsteak and Jubilee) that is giving any fruit is the yellow variety Jubilee. So far we have 3 medium sized tomatoes and I am thrilled! They seem to be doing pretty well but I know that if all of them had had more sunlight we might be having a better crop. I haven't given up on the beefsteaks yet as it also has flowers but no fruit yet. The early girl is pretty much a lost cause as it just doesn't seem to want to grow at all. I think I did discover the reason however. The neighbors behind us have their garage about 2 feet from our back fence. It appears that a tree has taken root between the fence and the garage and sits right next to the tomatoes. I think that it is robbing all the nutrients and water out of the soil and my early girl plant is taking the brunt of it. I keep trying to remember to walk around the block (I've never met these folks or even seen them for that matter) and ask them if they could kindly cut down the tree. In addition to hindering the growth of my garden in another year or so that tree is going to wreak havoc on not only their back fence but the foundation in their garage as well. Since there no real usable space back there I highly doubt they even know it's there.
As far as what I have learned for next year. First off, I think I will swap where the walking path is and where the garden is. The walking path gets far more sunlight and less shade. I know it's going to be a pain to pull out all that gravel that the POs put in but I figure I can probably get it removed when the crew is here to work on the basement and just get ride of it with the construction waste. I am also thinking that that I will test the soil in the hostas bed at the back of the house (make sure there is no lead in it) and use it next year for my tomatoes. Those beds tend to get full sunlight during the day and assuming the soil is safe should really give us some good fruit.
In the meantime, the raspberries that I tried to salvage by planting in a container never really took...so I have a large cedar pot that I am seriously considering moving one of the roma tomato plants to in hopes actually getting more than one tomato from it this year. I'm just wishing it was large enough to hold both of them.
Hi there! In response to your tomato issue do plant them in large clay pots next time in full sun. I put four plants into a large clay pot last summer and had a bush that was four feet tall anf at least that across. We love tomatoes but wasted alot because we literally had hunreds. I had an ongoing one and a half quart bowl in the fridge for most of the summer. I had a large garden in our very first home and the pests and birds did too much damage. Now I keep them on my deck where the slugs and worms don't have a chance and we don't have a squirell issue. But they do need full sun and constant watering in the heat of summer to produce a larger size and more of them. I also feed them with the veggie food. Have fun!
Wonderful website by the way! Have you any updated photos of your cute little doghouse that you started "growing" this past spring? I LOVE the concept, and will be using your idea for a "cathouse" in the back yard of our bungalow we just closed on yesterday!
Thank you and you should be so proud of your wonderful work in progress:)