Garden Week 2013: End-of-Season Garden Update

Back in May, I shared with you my fledgling garden along with some gardening tips. We’ve come a long way since then, so I thought it was high time for an update. We had an incredibly wet summer with record amounts of rain, which played a huge role in my gardening adventures this year. Spoiler: we had way too much rain.

Garden at BetweenWeekdays.com

In the Garden

This was the first year I was able to have a large garden plot, so I tested the soil a bit by planting plants sporadically to see what grew best where. Here’s how it all worked out:

  • Potatoes: I had a terrific crop of potatoes. I dug out 15 pounds! Despite all of the rain we had this year, I only had two rotten potatoes in the ground. I’ll definitely plant potatoes again.
    Potato Crop 2013 at BetweenWeekdays.com
  • Cherry Tomatoes: I planted three cherry tomato plants, and they have been major producers. We’ve loved having fresh bruschetta often straight from the garden. However, the plants became too large for my cages, so I’m going to have to rethink that for next year.
  • Tomatoes: My tomatoes have not done well at all. We ordered them from a catalog that had big promises of large, wonderful tomatoes. So far, my plants haven’t even been big enough to cage. I haven’t been able to can a single tomato this year. It’s been highly disappointing. The rain was a huge factor in my disappointing tomato crop, but I think they would have done better if I hadn’t done the catalog order. I know it works great for some people, but I’m not willing to try again.
  • Three Types of Lettuce: My lettuce grew very well during the spring, since it’s a cooler weather crop. While it was nice to be able to cut fresh lettuce whenever I wanted, I didn’t enjoy cleaning the leaves. Aphids were a huge problem for me, and I felt like I spent all of my time washing rather than enjoying my crop. I’m not sure if I’ll plant lettuce again.
  • Three types of Onions: Once again, the rain mainly dominated this category of food for me. What did come up though, was good, albeit small, but good.
  • Eggplant: Of my two eggplant plants, one drowned immediately and the other produced one eggplant before drowning.
  • White Half Runner Beans: I’ve shared two methods of preserving fresh beans (canning and freezing) this week, but what I didn’t share with you is that I’ve had a pitiful crop of beans this year. We just had too much rain. I’ve picked beans twice, but I wasn’t able to get a “mess” either time. I’ll be pulling up the vines soon and harvesting what’s left on the vines. I usually only like to grow beans every other year, but it looks like I’ll be trying again next year.Beans at BetweenWeekdays.com
  • Squash: I had squash for about two weeks before every single plant drowned. I should have had squash for at least two or three months.
  • Zucchini: My zucchini plants all drowned before they could even think about producing.
  • Lots of Peppers: Some of my peppers have done well, but some drowned and Travis accidentally mowed some down. I bought several varieties of bell peppers, but, so far, they’ve all been green.
  • Cucumbers: Cucumbers are my absolute, most-favorite food, so it was disappointing when they drowned. They lasted about three weeks.
  • Watermelon: I actually have three baby watermelons! I’m very much looking forward to enjoying my watermelons in a few weeks.
  • Cantaloupe: The rain sadly claimed my cantaloupe.
  • Strawberries: The strawberries were another win for the rain. I’m going to try planing strawberries early in the season next year in hanging baskets.
  • Peaches and Cream Corn: I managed to get about 15 ears of corn. Not great, but at least the rain didn’t completely ruin my crop.
  • Broccoli: My broccoli was beautiful. It was perfect. And then it rained for a week straight and I couldn’t get out to harvest in time. In hindsight, I should have put on rain boots and trudged through the mud. I’m actually considering growing a fall crop.
  • Cauliflower: My cauliflower didn’t do well at all due to the rain.
  • Herbs: My herbs are beautiful. The raised bed has allowed for better drainage. Normally, raised beds have to be watered daily, but I’ve only had to water twice.Basil at BetweenWeekdays.com
  • Grapes: I haven’t done anything with the grapes this year. I’ve heard that all of the rain made the grapes incredibly sour, which is definitely ringing true for my grapes. Plus, they’re shriveling very quickly. I need to do some research on raising grapes.

So, if you noticed, too much rain was a reoccurring theme for my garden this year. Luckily, there’s always next year!

2014 Garden Plans

Obviously, I have no control over the amount of rain we receive, but I do have control over some parts of my garden. Here’s what I hope to do differently:

  • The bottom half of my garden mostly washed away during early spring/summer rains. I might shorten my garden next year, or I might plant early crops on one end to account for spring rains and plant later crops below. I’m not sure.
  • I plan to focus on planting only what I know I’ll use. For instance, more cucumbers, less lettuce.
  • I’ve got to find a better solution for tomato cages. I have some ideas, but I’m definitely open to suggestions.
  • I really need to learn how to use the tiller. This year, it’s been too wet to till, but I’m hoping to get out there next year. I think Travis tilled once this year.

This wraps up Garden Week. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Gardening is a lot of work, but I always find it to be fulfilling and rewarding. In this season of our lives, it’s exactly how I want to spend my time.

GardenWeek at BetweenWeekdays.com

How did your gardens fare this year?

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All comments are encouraged and appreciated!

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