How Does your Garden Grow?

I had planned on a weekly update of our garden this summer, but it just never happened. Now that the weather is decidedly Autumn-esque and we’ve started prepping our fall garden I thought I’d give a recap of our summer work:

For most of the summer we had to fill trash cans with water and haul them down the street to the garden. We had a lovely deep well, but no way to get to the water until almost the end of July when we finally found a pump we could afford. Needless to say, our garden didn’t get watered as often as it should.

The view from the top

We planted greens, snap and shell peas, carrots, onions, red and yellow potatoes, a few varieties of tomato, pole beans, bush beans, beets, turnips, cucumbers, broccoli, cabbages and a three-sisters planting of corn, more pole beans and various squash and pumpkins, sunflowers and zinnias.

Lettuce greens are one of my favorite things to grow because they come so early and are almost fuss-free. It got hot so fast that they did bolt pretty quickly, which was a shame. But we have a cold frame of sorts that we’ll try with winter lettuce this year.

The peas were planted too late for much success. Ah well.

The onions, all three hundred sets, perished in the heat.

The carrots did ok, but they aren’t very happy in our Virginia clay. More sand in those boxes for the fall.

The potatoes are fine, not as sweet as last year’s, but decent. Ironically, I think next year we’ll plant a bag of sprouted store bought potatoes like last year, rather than the super expensive, not as tasty organic seed potatoes we bought this year.

The tomatoes did just fine until the day the chickens realized how tasty they are and ate all they could reach. We are just now getting red tomatoes again.

The beans did gang-busters and we had so many we had to stop harvesting. Didn’t care for pole beans as they are extra squeaky to the teeth and not as sweet as bush beans, so no pole beans next year.

The beets and turnips were HUGE, but woody and bitter from the heat and lack of water. We’ll replant for the fall.

The cucumbers were fine, if not terribly prolific. But they were planted as an afterthought and in such random locations that it was hard to find them.

The cabbages suffered the same fate as the broccoli. At harvest I pulled off the chewed laves only to discover that there were no unchewed leaves and the buggies had taken up residence in the very center of each head. A total loss.

The broccoli did really well when the chickens were around to peck them clean. Eventually they did more harm than good to the other veggies and they were banned from the garden so the broccoli suffered. The heat didn’t help either. We’ll try again.

The three-sisters seemed such a good idea, but alas I think we’ll try something different next year. It may have worked better if someone small and thumbed (a raccoon?) had not pulled down all the corn, and thus all the pole beans climbing the corn. We got not one single ear of corn this year *weep*. The beans either rotted on the ground without support or, surprisingly, grew really well anyway, covering the squash and making it hard to find them at harvest time. We couldn’t find most of the zucchini until it was almost too late. The butternut squash did amazingly well until the day (while we were on vacation) the chickens discovered how tasty they are and ate all the ripe ones and pecked festering holes in the not-ripe ones, just to check. I cried. Lots. And called the chickens every unflattering name I could imagine. We did save a few, as well as several acorns and sugar pumpkins. But my bumper crop of butternuts is decidedly no more.

The flowers did beautifully and graced our table and window sills all summer long. I am so glad because all my zinnias froze in a freak cold snap last year and I saw nary a one. This year I couldn’t possibly pick them all.

Harvest, Aug 2

Harvest, Aug 5

Harvest, Aug 29

Snap Peas; they got planted too late again this year and we didn't get many

As much trouble as we had in the garden we still managed to preserve a few jars of pickles, a bag or two of frozen sliced carrots, two jars of freezer tomato sauce and about a zillion bags of frozen green beans. We still have potatoes in the ground and tomatoes on the vine. We managed to incorporate something from the garden in almost every dinner this summer (generally a side of steamed green beans or brocc). Not too shabby! Here’s to hoping that the fall garden is at least as successful.

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2 Responses to “How Does your Garden Grow?”

  1. Loved reading about your garden Bergen. Your family is so impressive!

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