July 22, 2013

The Garden....The Good and The Bad

Most people take stock of their garden at the end of the growing season.  I am less than a month into it, and have decided to change some things based on what I am observing of the area where I put the garden.

First off, the fencing is finally done.  Despite the mix up with Amazon sending it to the wrong address, and the postal system taking nearly 2 weeks to forward it, we did get it and get it up in short order.  It's hard to see, because it is black deer netting.  The green fencing is some that I had to pick up for the "opening" because we were about 10ft short with the deer netting.

This part is for Mama Pea :)  She wanted to know how the cukes and peas would do in the pots I planned to put them in.

Here is a shot of the cukes when I first planted them in the pots:

And here is a shot just a week and a half later:

And the peas when I first planted them:
And now:
They are definitely loving it.  My aunt asked what I planned to do as they grow down from the pots, to keep the deer away.  Two things actually.  One is to plant some sunflowers between the pots, along the fence.  Deer don't like them, from what I am told.  But I am also going to use the cheap mesh laundry bags that you can buy at any dollar store, and will put them around the plant as it hangs down (sewing 2 together if I need more room), to protect them without blocking their sun.

In that full shot of the garden above, it doesn't look like much is going on does it?  You would be right, except for one area:

On the far right side, the corn, squash, and green beans are going gang busters.  The dark area in between the rows is both mulched leaves and grass clippings, to try and hold the moisture in.

What I have found is that this spot is an excellent area due to the amount of sun it gets most of the day, but a poor area for maintaining moisture due to the amount of sun it gets most of the day.  Such a conundrum huh?  I won't do much more with the area above, other than to add more leaves and such for mulch, because they are so well established.  But I have decided to rework the rest of the area.  My roma tomato plants are transplanted in there, but they are struggling, and not growing.  The potatoes rotted because it's too hot, and the celebrity tomato plants the landlord gave me are really struggling.

I don't know why I chose to make rows, I know better.  Excitement over brain power apparently.  The worst thing you can do for a garden that gets lots of sun, is to make rows.  There is still moisture about 6-8 inches below, but because you have mounded up the dirt, there isn't much chance of new growth getting that moisture.  We are watering every evening from the rain barrels, but it's just not enough.

So my plan is to undo the rows that are left and not doing well, add a bunch more mulched leaves in there, and maybe some straw to help.  I will mark out squares for the plantings, with walkways in between, and go from there.  I am going to try moving the roma plants, but not holding out much hope for them surviving, I am also going to do some new seeds in small growing pots, to get some new plants just in case.

As for the potatoes, spinach, broccoli, and the yet to be planted lettuce, I will be making a bed out back for those.  It has an area near the tobacco barn that gets some sun about noon to 2pm, but it's a bit filtered because of the trees, and it doesn't get nearly as hot out there. 

So, I have a lot to get accomplished.  Thankfully it's not supposed to be nearly as hot and muggy this week, although when you are working outside, 88 still feels hot in the sun lol.

If you are curious about where my idea for the re-work of the garden comes from, I highly recommend you watch the movie "Back To Eden".  You can watch it for free here.



  1. I see you are learning what works and what doesn't. I wish I could put in a garden, but we can't. Keep plugging along.

    1. Thanks Rob! Yes it is a learning process, but I am having so much fun with it.

  2. It looks great, love the pot idea for the peas. Rows don't work well for me either, what rows I do have are only about 10 ft long and close together...tall plants shade shorter as needed. When I have a problem area with weeds I use cardboard under the clippings or, old carpeting. Works wonderful.

  3. Thanks so much for the update on the hanging cucs and peas. Keep letting us know (the pictures are great) how it goes including the net bags for protection if you do use them.

    When we lived and gardened in Illinois (hot, hot sun in the summers) we mulched our gardens extensively to keep the moisture in the soil and keep the weeds down. We were always able to get straw or old rotted hay for the mulch and that seems to work really well.

    I am so thrilled to see you actually being able to put into practice all these things you've wanted to do for so long. Keep that wonderful enthusiasm even when you hit the bumps. Remember in gardening there are no failures, only experiments!

    1. I am thrilled too, and I am learning so much of what works and doesn't work. My landlord is a wealth of knowledge too, and I love chatting with him. Thanks for keeping up with my adventure Mama Pea, I know you are super busy :)