I kind of fell off the gardening update bandwagon and didn't even realize it until I sat down to write a different blog post. Sorry. I'll allow that other to further ferment and do my best to catch you up on what happened in the garden the last two months.
High summer never did arrive...or if it did it was only for two weeks at the very end of August...and the garden certainly felt it. Certain plants just never thrived the way they should have, :(. But all-in-all I am pretty happy with this, my second year gardening. I definitely learned some things to implement next year. We will take the tour round, bed by bed.
Bed 1, which housed my "spring produce" of lettuce, spinach, and peas died out in mid July. They all three produced amazingly well.
8 lettuce heads and 2 spinach heads, re-planted as they are pulled, was the perfect amount for our family. A steady and manageable over-flow. I was particularly pleased with the lettuce, as last year I found it kind of bitter and soft. Thru experimentation I found that a good watering right before harvest made my lettuce crisp and wonderful. Also, I think the cooler weather this spring helped :)
The peas we could have used more of. We harvested a small bowl nearly every morning and yet we could have used more. What can I say? My kids enjoy peas more then anything else out of the garden. Oh, yes, I had mentioned that I planted 30 peas at the beginning of April, and 30 at the end. In all honestly, it seemed like they produced equal amounts and at the same time. In the future I will probably just plant them all at once- at the end. Germination rates were much better with that planting, and it gives me more time to get all the beds in order.
I had planned on doing an August re-planting (for fall harvest) of all three, but alas never got around to it. Dare I admit the weather and limited success of the year has gotten me down? Instead I planted a ground cover and let the bed rest.
Bed 2 housed my green beans. I planted both bush and pole beans, and surprisingly (to me) the bush beans produced a lot better. I planted bush beans last year as well, and after being talked into it by many, many people decided to try pole as well...and I've got to admit that next year I'm going back to bush only :)
Some of that, I will admit, is just that I hate climbing plants...I can never find a cheap/easy to install/low maintanance/well functioning trellis system. Dangling yarn worked great for the peas...not so well for the beans (which are much heavier plants).
I was doubtful about fitting 9 bush bean plants per square foot (ala square foot gardening method) but I didn't notice the plants suffering any...although finding the beans was a bit of a jungle!
Bed 3 belonged to my corn.
Poor, poor corn. It looks very pretty but I'm not sure it will produce anything. We will see. Either way I think this will end my corn adventures. Its too cheap, too hard to get a harvest, and takes up too much space! I'm going to use this bed for potatoes next year. My current potato bed (as we will later discuss) is too shady.
Bed four is where I kept my tomato and carrots. The bad news is, while the cherry tomatoes are doing wonderfully (not that I've enjoyed many or even really had much of an idea of how many there are- the kids keep eating them!) my full tomato plants only have 1-2 small tomatoes per plant. Grr!! Tomatoes are Josh's fav garden food and after the wild success I had last year, this is really disheartening! I'm blaming the weather. My tomatoes got really really damaged from the cold early on and I dont think they ever recovered.
Next year I'm going to re purpose the green bean trellis into a makeshift hotbed (adding some clear plastic). No cold tomato plants allowed!!
The good news is the carrots did amazing!! All 120 of them ;) We've been picking a few for snack or dinner every few days since mid July and we've really just made a dent. They are good now, but after the first frost of the year they will be even better (if there are any left!)
Bed 5, the last but not least of the raised beds was the squash bed. 2 Zuchinni and 3 Winter Squash varieties. The zuchinni did ok...just ok, and its zuchinni! Like the easiest thing ever to grow!
The winter squash is a pretty utter failure. We have 1 between the 3 plants. Part of the problem was a major bug attack early in the summer...and this is the area where my green beans were kept last year (which where also attacked by bugs!!). Not sure what to do about that. The other part was the cold weather, I suspect. The kept growing huge gorgeous flowers that fell off :(
Oh well. I will try again next year, and probably squish a few more plants in. They are pretty spaced out and I realized that if they get too crowded I could always let the vines grow "out of the box" as it were. I want at least 3 zuchinni I think, and 4 winter squash...maybe 6...
In the fruit bed I had strawberries which produced pounds, and pounds, and pounds of neverending fruit. Honestly I got sick of strawberries and had to start giving them away because the yard smelled of jam from all the rotting berries left on the plant. My children wont even look a strawberry in the face, and its been a month. So yeah, that was successful.
The raspberries were in their first year so no fruit, but the look like they are doing well. We will see what happens next year. They still seem rather teeny to me.
The potato/onion bed was a last minute addition. And poorly chosen, because it only gets about 5 hours of sun a day. The onion never did survive that hail storm in June, they slowly died after that. The problem is that our roof dumped the hail right onto them :(
The potatoes look like they are doing well, above ground. They sprouted the most lovely little purple flowers. We will see soon how well they did below-ground. Hopefully well, because I want to see some purple pototoes!! Either way Im going to move them into a raised bed next year where the will get more sun.
And I think this previously-known-as-the-potato-and-onion bed will become a flower bed. There are plenty of partial sun flowers I can plant in there and Zeke's flower garden was a complete and total fail. I need to just accept the fact that that particular section of our yard is the "dirt box". I planted squash in it last year...which got trampled by a digging boy. And this year I planted flowers...which got trampled by 2 digging boys. They never stood a chance. If I want a cutting garden, its going to have to be on "my" territory.
As far as my corner herbs go, I hate to admit it but I almost never used them! Oops. I made pesto once with the basil, and salsa with fresh cilantro once, and fish with fresh dill once. I'm just not in the habit of having them I suppose...
They did look really pretty when I let them all flower :)