Summertime means garden time. However, I am no professional gardener. Join me for a Summer garden tour while I discuss what I have learned this year.
Gardening is fairly new to me. We always had gardens when I was growing up. I remember long rows of vegetables and tall stalks of corn. While I walked the garden and played beside it, I never took to it or was very involved.
Now that I have the opportunity to have my very own Summer garden, I am learning it all. Learning slowly, that is.
Since we moved in the middle of the growing season, I have only grown a few things this year in a very small space. But something is better than nothing and I am proud of the harvest so far!
I have dreams of a large pumpkin patch, berry patch, cut flower garden, vegetable garden and orchard. I have it all mapped out in my head. But slow and steady wins the race and I have shown myself this year that I am not as on top of things as I would like to be with this years Summer garden.
What we have grown this year in our Summer garden
Like I said before, we moved in the middle of the growing season which means a late start and the lack of a garden space established. I decided to plant anyway and use this season to really start small and learn the basics.
Keith built me several raised beds. I have a total of six but really only planted in four successfully. These were great for this season. I plan to eventually move them and repurpose them but they have done really well this year.
This year I planted two types of cherry tomatoes, roma tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, onions, yellow squash, cucumber, bell pepper, green beans, peas, and strawberries. I have only had success with the tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, green beans and peas. This was disappointing to me in the beginning but I have taken notes on what went wrong.
Mistakes in our Summer garden
Over-planting and overcrowding
I was way too excited and planted too many things and too close together. I was warned about this and failed to listen. My tomatoes took over and went crazy. In the same box, I had yellow squash and peas. The tomatoes crowded both the squash and peas and smothered them out. Luckily, my tomatoes are doing great so I have gotten something out of that bed.
I did not lose anything in the carrot and potato bed but it was very difficult to dig up my potatoes without digging up carrots. I did think about this when planting and spaced them out in the bed but my bed was still not large enough for the amount that I planted without digging more up than intended.
My plan to avoid this next year is to not plant so close which seems obvious. But I also plan to grow our garden into a no dig style garden and utilize my raised beds for another garden project. This will also help with my trellis issue.
The worst of this was for the green beans and tomatoes. I did cage my tomatoes but not fast enough or with strong enough cages. They eventually were too big and I did not have any trellis’ to support them with. This also happened with my green beans as well, they just are not as heavy and have just grown around themselves.
Next years plan involves cattle panels to trellis my plants. These need a bigger space and would not have worked with my current garden layout so I am very excited to get the new garden space going for next season!
Okay, I did know better than this. This was not from a lack of experience but from negligence. I put weeding off until it was too late and I had a jungle. I have been working on the weeds now but after letting them go so long, I am not even making a dent.
Spacing my plants will help this next season but also not being a lazy gardener will help.
This is something I have struggled with specifically from an organic standpoint. I am growing organic which really limits my pest control. I have not done much to fight pests because this was not a major issue this year. I did have some armyworms but not many and have not seen much damage from them.
I have heard to try peppermint oil in a spray bottle to help with pests and will give this a try if I see anymore pests.
I did expect to have more issues with deer and rabbits due to the location of my garden and the lack of a fence but I have not noticed any issues with this. Thank goodness!
My initial plan was to also plant a cut flower garden. With limited space, I decide to stick to a few flower types in between plants (they were crowded out) and in containers. I love to have flowers to make arrangements for our home as well as flowers adding color around the property.
I am really considering moving my garden boxes to the new garden location and using them for a smaller garden space, possibly for cut flowers or berries. I have not fully decided and usually go through several plans before committing.
Did you plant a Summer garden? Are you a new gardener or experienced? Let me know!