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As my parents gently reminded me this weekend, I’m long overdue for a garden update. I’m not going to lie – I’ve totally been avoiding this post because instead of regaling you with stories of our triumph in backyard gardening, this story is more of a tragedy. Well, not a total tragedy I guess because we have learned many, many lessons about what not to do in our backyard garden!
Before we get into what it looks like now, I thought I’d refresh your memory.
Doesn’t it look all sweet and full of promise?
and here it is just a few days ago:
So it turns out that tomato plants grow really, really tall. And they need a lot of staking otherwise they create a crazy jungle situation where no light can get in the middle and the little cherry tomatoes grow and turn green but never ripen. Not that we would know from experience or anything…In retrospect, it turns out that 6 tomato plants was way too many for our little plot and they completely overwhelmed the circular stake we had. We tried some emergency surgery and bought additional stakes. After thinning some of the plants we attempted to re-stake them but I think the sustained lack of sunlight, the uprooting and the incredibly foggy September we’ve been having did the plants in. We’re still holding out hope but so far only 2 little tomatoes have ripened – not exactly a great yield from the 6 plants we started with!
The squash and zucchini worked out slightly better and we got to enjoy some of the fruits of our labor, but ultimately they succumbed to mold (also a product of the damp/fog we seem to perpetually have). Unfortunately they also completely took over the right-hand bed and blocked out the sun from the peppers and eggplants. So….those didn’t grow either which makes me doubly sad because I adore bell peppers and we eat 4 or 5 a week, and the squash/zucchini we did get didn’t taste that amazing – certainly not the deliciousness we were hoping for.
As I mentioned, our adventures in gardening weren’t a total loss. We learned a lot of things:
- Fewer plants are better, and we really should believe the guidance that says how far apart they should be planted
- Setting the beds against the fence wasn’t a great idea and we should move them closer to the house where they’ll get more sun
- Plants that need a lot of heat/warmth won’t work despite what the Sunset Magazine garden zone thingy tells us
Despite the challenges, we’re planning to get back out there and attempt a fall/winter vegetable garden. We’ll keep you posted!