We started a vegetable garden again last year which did okay but was too crowded, and I was determined to do better this year. And since we have mild winters I even tried a few vegetables in the colder months. Broccoli did well but that was about it. I think a combination of late planting (early December was about a month too late) and a cool winter sabotaged me. But when spring came I made a plan ahead of time and once it started to warm up I built a short raised bed. Unfortunately, that was the weekend (March 20) that we got 5" of rain in one day and I learned that the corner of the yard where my garden is located is also the lowest spot. Yep - it flooded.
I don't really care for tomatoes, but they're easy!
I thought I'd have to worry about Taylor's tortoise eating all our veggies, but the problem has been caterpillars.
Soooo... four weeks(!) later, after the ground finally dried out enough to dig again, I finally planted. All the root and salad veggies in the raised bed in the middle, and tomatoes on one side and beans on the other.
- I planted 4 kinds of lettuce: green leaf, buttercrunch, romaine, and a mixed salad kind. All were slow and some grew better than others (some were seeds from last year) but we also had a plague of caterpillars!
- The carrots were a miserable failure from the start (probably due to the poor soil) so I reseeded with beets ("Detroit Dark Red" because the greens are suposedly good in salads). I'm not exactly sure what to do with them (or if I even like them) but they're growing fairly well.
- Spinach was a disappointment. The "Bloomdale Long-standing" variety is supposed to be good here, but it's done poorly in both cooler and warmer weather.
- I also planted Swiss Chard "Bright Lights." I don't know if we'll like it but it's growing well and the caterpillars don't touch it (hmmm, should I take that as a hint?).
- Beans ("Kentucky Blue") have also been disappointing. I planted them late and I used a seed packet left over from last year and got poor germination. Some have grown but I should probably try planting more seeds.
- We planted 6 heirloom variety tomatoes. I'm not a big fan of tomatoes but Jamie is and when it comes right down to it - they're easy to grow. And although they've been slow (because of the cooler weather) they're big and have fruit on them. I'll update more on the tomatoes later.
- We had a TON of raspberries and boysenberries from the plants we put in last year. Luckily, we even got some before the birds found them. Even the strawberries are doing fairly well.
I hope we like Swiss Chard, because it's growing.
This is what happens when you dump the jack-o-lanterns in the garden - and then I don't have the heart to pull all the seeds that sprout.
So, that's kind of a rundown of my garden so far. It's not in the sunniest spot but it was as good as we could do. And I never got around to planting zuchinni or crookneck squash, and I probably shouldn't have let pumpkin seeds from last year's jack-o-lanterns grow, but they're doing pretty well. I'll follow up with what I learn what's successful and what's not. Also, I really need to improve the soil, but I'll post later about what I'm doing for that.
The beans aren't doing so well, and now the caterpillars are in them.