Every year I say “This is the year I will seriously garden” and then I get distracted. However, every year I get a little better. This year I had a nice spring crop of peas and lettuce and kale, transplanted out a healthy batch of tomatoes, peppers, and strawberries, and then planted a nice selection of melons, beans, corn, and basil.
Then I left town for a couple weeks and the garden exploded. Well, that’s not entirely true. I knew I was falling behind in the weeding department before I left and I made peace with the idea of having a weedy garden jungle. What I didn’t take into account was the fact that both the weeds and the “proper” garden plants would go through a major growth spurt and fill all available space, including the pathways and fences.
It’s not all bad. I’ve been enjoying a bumper crop of tomatoes, peppers, and basil plus a nice honeydew (the watermelon is almost ripe). My bean plants grew like champions although it turns out the cowpeas grew a lot better than the other varieties so most of what I’m harvesting is dried beans. I feel like I’m getting some good food out of the garden.
But it doesn’t look very pretty. Happily, I have very tolerant neighbors who don’t seem to mind as long as it doesn’t get into their yards. (I suspect a few of them are secretly pleased that the deer have been enjoying the unfenced areas of my garden rather than theirs.) I’m hoping to clean it up a bit over the next few weeks and start some fall crops. Now is the time to sow spinach, peas, kale, radishes, beets, and cold-season lettuce to harvest in the fall.
I also have a few pledges for next year
- Plant things further apart – especially kale and melons but really I planted everything too close together.
- Get those tomato trellises in early and keep the tomatoes under control.
- Put in more weed-suppressing path materials (old carpet works great; straw works okay)
- Commit myself to time weeding the garden (yeah, I’m really just lazy)
- Build more fences! My ugly metal-stake-and-deer-netting fence has actually done very well but everything outside the fence has been seriously chomped (especially my poor sunflower fort).
With a little luck, I’ll have 3-4 more weeks of tomatoes, a couple watermelons, and a nice harvest of popcorn to look forward to. Oh, and it looks like two of my experimental crops are setting fruit – garden huckleberries and popping sorghum – which is very exciting! I’m still not really replacing much of our diet with homegrown veggies and fruits but it’s nice to have a few treats and every year I feel a little more optimistic that I could be a homesteader if I really put my mind to it.
How does your garden grow?