After another disappointing year with the vegetables in the raised beds, I have decided to plant flowers and make a little cutting garden of sorts. (Literally the best producer I had was the volunteer tomato plant by the raspberry bushes.) Here’s my inspiration:
Echinacea, sunflower tower, climbing roses, and lavender
Clockwise: The raspberries are spreading magnificently.
This one has some turnips and radishes growing in one row. The rest is a weedy mess. I need to pull the weeds and this will be where the tomatoes, and more beans are planted this weekend.
This one has some turnips and radishes, cucumbers, zucchini, and bush beans growing.
We have had so much rain that I have no need for the soaker hose, and I can hardly keep up with the weeding. So around the edges of these raised beds are especially bad. I went to the farmer’s market last weekend, and it seems most people are leaps and bounds ahead of me (some had tomatoes and zucchini, but it was mostly potatoes, greens, onions and strawberries). With the mild and rainy spring we’ve had, everyone who got their garden in early seems to be thriving. How does your garden grow?
(Clockwise) Early morning run around Downtown Nashville, Wildfire damage around the Bud Ogle cabin area in the Great Smoky Mountains, Daffodils blooming in Metcalf Bottoms, Hyacinths coming up around our local library and park
It might be frightfully cold outside right now, but it hasn’t stopped me from garden planning and spring dreaming. Our beds are about 7′ x 10′ and we have two of them, so I want to maximize space yet not overpack and inhibit growing. (that, and watering more are my biggest garden mistakes)
I like to get seeds here. I also plan to invest in a new soaker hose and weird plastic owl. And try a diy project or two- a cage to protect the strawberries and some stepping stones. (like this, but less expensive since I want a handful of them).
Last weekend, we cleaned up some of the outdoor pots and raised beds.
In the raised beds, we pulled out our teepees and tomato cages, and the ropes on the vine frame. Then pulled/mowed down all the overgrown weeds. We still need to till and fertilize and cover for the winter, but it was a nice start to at least get rid of the eyesore that was the raised beds.
We emptied the outdoor pots that were fried and added some pansies around the house. Depending on the severity of the winter, we can usually keep those alive until spring. Especially in pots that I can bring close to the house when it gets below freezing.
I repotted the eucalyptus into a larger pot and brought inside. It was parched and my hope is to nurse it back to life over the winter. I’ve put it in a sunny location so it will receive lots of sunshine, yet hopefully stay in a more temperate environment so it can regain health.
And our kale is growing stronger! I might move this to the back of the house for more sunshine as the weather gets cooler, but we are still receiving high 70’s/ very sunny days so they will stay in the front of the house, on the shady side, for the next month or two.
I looks quite laughable, but after the disastrous results of the summer garden, we’ve decided to start a little slower for fall/winter and just grow some kale in containers. No weeding is really necessary, only watering. Hopefully I can manage that!
This year’s home garden was a learning experience for me. With two raised beds and a handful of containers, we didn’t harvest very much at all this year, and especially during June and July when the weather was its most brutal.
Top reasons it went wrong:
- Too much variety. A handful of beans or peas isn’t worth the effort.
- Not enough weed control.
- Not enough water. Planting too close combined with no rain and few sprinkler sessions meant very little growth.
- Growing lavender or rosemary from seed was too hard. The small seedlings always died after transplant.
- Bunnies (and possibly my dog) ate my berries and nibbled on my tomatoes.
- Cucumbers didn’t vine up the trellis. I think they were planted too far from the trellis.
- Teepees failed. My wooden teepees were too big for the peas to vine. And as you can see in the photo above, my bamboo teepees were too weak to properly hold my tomatoes and withstand summer storms.
Hopefully we can learn a better way and overcome these obstacles next year.