The kids have distracted me while writing, so I can share my thoughts about my garden.
First the garden. I've been reading blogs/news sites/facebook/pinterest for years about home gardening. I realize that it is nothing new, but in the past few years it has become quite trendy and hip. And since I like to pretend that I am trendy and hip, I've wanted to plant a garden for years. Unfortunately, our previous house was too shaded to really have a decent summer garden, and I wasn't really aware of all that I could plant in the fall. When we were looking for a rental house, one of the things that made us really like this house was the backyard. It is both big enough for the boys and it gets great sunlight. I knew that I would be able to have my garden. I spent quite a bit of time going through the web and finding information about square foot gardening and I wanted to try it.
I started my garden after Easter and the first month it did really well. I think we had the right about rain, and I planted the right things for the time of year. I did a mix of plantings from seeds (arugula, carrots, zucchini, lettuce, cucumber, okra and eggplant) and seedlings (yellow squash, hot and sweet peppers, tomatoes, strawberries, and a few herbs). At first everything turned out really well. The arugula grew quickly and I liked to eat it fresh. I honestly have no idea how to cook with it, but I sure did like watching it grow. The carrots also did well. And the squash started out amazing. The seedlings also did very well. The best were the jalapeno pepper and the grape tomato plants. And then our lack of seasonal summer happened starting in May.
This year has been extremely wet which caused a lot of problems for me in the garden. First, the cooler weather made it difficult to get anything to grow for our zone. Our zone is much hotter than it was this year and the plants weren't able to do really well. Second, we got too much rain. Since we frequently had cool (for the time of year) rainy days nothing did very well. My squash caught a fungus that screwed up one plant and the other two got bugs that decided to eat it. I did pure organic gardening. I realize that if I don't bugs to eat my plant, I should spray it with something. However, I really wanted to it naturally and not put literally poison into my body*. I know that washing the plants would rinse away the chemicals, but I didn't want the chemicals on them in the first place. (I might get on a moral high horse at some point about this). I also knew the kids would pick plants and eat them before the vegetables would be washed so that was another consideration on not using chemicals. I think if I had done a better job of mulching the plants some of the fungus wouldn't have happened and some of the bugs would have been discouraged to eat the squash. I also don't think I did a good job of planting plants that should be together. I've got better ideas for the future, so hopefully I'll be able to make it better.
I think next year will be better and the hopefully the plants will produce better. I'm hoping to put in at least one more container and maybe two. I also want to give the kids a place to plant things so especially Phil won't be as likely to pick my tomatoes before they're ripe!
* I only sometimes buy organic at the grocery though. I know I really should for the dirty dozen and sometimes I manage too. I'm trying to both justify the cost and realize that I should eat like a gallon of strawberries in a week!