Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Home Gardening Strikes Again!

In case you're wondering whether your tiny square of grass will make a difference in the way you eat... this is the harvest I got out of my garden this afternoon. Not included: 2+ lbs of beans previously harvested, the rest of the lettuce bed and one potential pea pod. I chose to pull it all in today because two nights ago we got a frost that killed my bean plants and nipped the potato... and we're low on groceries. The carrots, lettuce and (surprisingly) the two pea vines did ok through the frost, although I doubt the peas will flower before the next cold snap.

Here are my garden specs this year:
Planted: Mid-August
Crops sown: Spinach, sugar snap peas, green bush beans, lettuce, chives, carrots, potato (planted later than the rest - found going to seed in a WalMart bag and stuck in a hill on a whim).
Crops harvested: 2+lbs bush beans, loads of lettuce, pan full of baby taters, 5 carrots (plus 3 more too small to pull).
Hours invested: Approx. 10, not counting random runs to grab a bean/lettuce head and pull 3 or 4 weeds. Includes tearing up entire 14x14' back yard, fertilizing, raking, planting, watering, weeding, and current state of winter prep (tilling weeds into soil and mulching, 1/4 done).

Problems I ran into: the seeds I used were just not up to the challenge. Peas took 3 plantings before some came up. Chives and spinach never showed up at all. Carrots sprouted after I had given up on them, and one ended up in the lettuce bed somehow. For 2 year old improperly stored seeds that I just happened to have on hand, the beans and lettuce came up amazingly well and the whimsical potato planting gave at least a fourfold investment in volume compared to the seed tater - not bad for a short growing season! The bean rows did terminate in an anthill, though - something I ignored when I tilled and planted. I learned my lesson and sacrificed two whole plants plus the beans off another one to the ants.

Improvements: Better bed planning (removing the anthill, putting the carrots in the sandy area at the back, etc) and utilization of space. Getting a big washtub to use for compost at the back of the garden. Adding a proper path through the beds, proactive weed removal (mulch!) and more fertilizer! I'd also like to make it look prettier next year with some nicer row markers and plant cages... but that's something to worry about come January. :D

Looking forward to getting things all done for winter, and very glad I "bothered" planting something this year. It may not have been worth the 10 hours of labor in monetary terms, but you couldn't pay me enough to give up the satisfaction of eating my own produce.


  1. And don't forget that all the work you did in land prep, including some of the fertilization, will carry over for next year.

  2. i better not say anything about what i harvested.


  3. Haha! I think you had quite a head start on me; I'm only slightly jealous of the bushels of deliciousness you probably got in. :p

    Next year I'll be in a better position to compete. XD

  4. Congrats. You did better than I. I got about 1/4 bu of peppers, bell and jalos. Some lettuce and parsley and a few tomatoes. Everything else rotted or the deer got. Ernie wants to build a greenhouse. Ha!

  5. Good luck with that greenhouse! :P

    I'd kill for fresh tomatoes right about now. Next year I'm definitely planting a couple. Maybe you should pick up some OdoBan "Bitter Barrier" spray. We're using it to keep the puppy from chewing the couch - it might keep the deer off the plants. It's tea tree oil; tastes awful but safe to use around the pets!

  6. i also have significantly more space to do it in, and probably always will.

    but none of those stuffs count on years like this, when it's so wet and so animal-y that disease, rot, and nomming jaws claim so many things (especially the things of those who have more planted to begin with).

    all 40+ of my tomato plants eventually died of Late Blight thanks to whatever n00bs in the area buy plants at Walmart/Home Depot. I did get enough of them to make what I wanted to, and a lot of green salsa and crap to boot because of trying to save the crop before it got infected, so I guess it's not too bad

    zukes got powdery mildew but late season so it wasn't a big concern. some were stunted due to poor growing conditions and waterlogged soil

    cukes got downy mildew late in the season, and same as to the zukes applies

    woodchucks ate over 25 brussels sprout plants, some peppers, peas, etc... and no, nothing would stop them except lethal traps, which i used and put 6 of them either in the ditch or in the freezer

    bean seed repeatedly rotted in the sodden, cold ground (i replanted 3 times and then quit when that also failed due to repeated washouts and floods), but i still got more than enough to stuff the freezer out of the 45 or so equivalent row-feet that remained at the ends of the 'high ground'. same went for peas, only i ate those fresh or pickled them

    raccoon monster tore down lots of my corn, and it wasn't season, so i didn't shoot him. still got bushel quantities out of just a few comparatively short rows

    anyway, it was the worst growing year for this place that any of us remembered, and that includes my old farmer dad and shit. so considering, i'm happy.