Our garden report isn’t very impressive this year, but I wanted to post about it at any rate, because it is our first year to have a garden, and I’m glad we at least made a start!
These pictures are from when we first put our garden in. It wasn’t until mid-June because we were waiting on completion of our chicken-tractor. (more about that in another post) When the destructive poultry were finally confined, it was so late in the season that we decided to buy plant starts to pair with the few plants I had already started from seed.
Earlier in the spring Jordan tilled a place in front of the house and we covered it over with cardboard (lots of cardboard!!) and wood chips. It sat for a few weeks before we were ready for planting -and it was wonderful! Planting was so fast and easy, and clean! The dirt underneath was soft and full of worms – I just made little holes in the cardboard with a spade, dug down enough to give the root ball space, then spread the dirt then chips evenly back when the plant was settled.
We planted tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, cantaloupe, watermelon, dill, artichoke, winter squash, and cucumber.
The squash and cucumber we planted underneath the rail fence to give the plants a nice place to climb.
So….here we are about 3 months later. We had quite a few casualties. The artichoke, dill, and zuchinni died fairly quickly. Even with daily watering, I think the little plants were just too vulnerable in the summer heat without established root systems.
The winter squash and cucumbers thrived for a while and got fairly big, but then just seemed to shrivel and die from the roots upward. I’ve been told that a pest that lives in the ground was responsible for that. Must figure out how to defend those types of plants before next year. Winter squash always did wonderfully when I lived in Texas, but it seems to have more enemies here in Tennessee!
I do definitely love the card-board and chips system. Even as a busy mom without very much extra time, I was still able to pretty easily keep weeds and grass at bay.
To learn more about using woodchips in the garden – watch the free online film Back to Eden.
So, here we are with our garden survivors, and two little munchkins. Marian and Alan love spending time in the garden. They will often ask to go out there while I am on the porch doing laundry to sit and eat cherry tomatoes. We’ve grown a good deal of delicious yellow ‘Sun Gold’ cherry tomatoes, as well as some bigger varieties of red.
We never have gotten our tomatoes staked up off the ground, but they seem to be thriving anyway. I think the chips are doing well at keeping them from being too damp on the ground.
The eggplants are doing well now, and have lots of blossoms. For 2 months they just barely hung on during the worst heat, and were also eaten down to nothing again and again by flea beetles. (another new pest to me – any tips on how to control or prevent them?) But after several weeks of cooler weather and rain, they sprang back to life and have tripled in size. The beetles are still there, but don’t seem to be harming the plants as much now. Maybe we will get some eggplants yet!
We’ve had several good cantaloupes! Our watermelon plant is still doing well, but so far every time a watermelon gets any where close to big enough to be ripe, it splits open. Apparently it’s been too rainy to be a good watermelon year.
Alan is quite the tomato lover. When they are headed to garden he shouts “May-mo!! MAY-MO!!” at the top of his lungs! Usually we don’t make it into the house with any of the tomatoes we have picked – they are all consumed on the spot.
I made the little overalls Alan is wearing from a charming and delightfully easy vintage pattern from the 50s. I made him two pair, and they have basically been his uniform this summer. I’m hoping to make some long, warm flannel ones for warm weather.
This dress I made earlier in the Spring. I saw a pretty floral printed king size pillowcase at Goodwill, and thought it would make a lovely little dress for Marian. I quite love how it turned out – there was enough material to make a very full skirt which is always so cute and fun for little girls.
Looking forward to continuing what’s left of our garden into the fall, with hopefully a better idea of what to prepare for next year. I’m hoping to get a much earlier start next spring and be perhaps a little more ready for the challenges of Tennessee gardening.