How Did My Garden Grow?

As the summer winds down, it’s time to report in on my garden. To be honest, it was a lot more failure than success.

My tomato harvest was 2 Red Reif Oxhearts and about 15 Isis Candy cherry tomatoes. The third plant grew tall and green but did not produce a single piece of fruit. All three were heirlooms, and apparently this was a bad year for heirlooms in California. Almost all of my friends who grow tomatoes had poor harvests this year.

I planted 2 pounds of potatoes and harvested about 6 pounds. Not a bad haul, but I can’t store them properly in my Southern California house! I’m going to try planting some late fall starts to see if they do better. I’ll stagger the planting so that my harvest is also staggered.

I couldn’t get these going. Every time I planted another batch, we had a heat spike that killed the seedlings. So, again, I’ll try in the fall.

The lettuce seeds didn’t work – the heat spikes got them, too. But the seedlings I bought produced quite well. The lettuce was on the bitter side, but it was plentiful.

I bought onion starts for these and they did well. I bent over the stalks a bit too soon, so some didn’t get quite as large as I would have liked, but they loved my garden.

I had to buy a seedling, which quickly produced two peppers. They got sunburned before they got big enough, but the plant has tripled in size and has lots of flowers ready to go.

I’m getting lots of strawberries, but they’re tiny. No bigger than a raspberry! I think they need a sunnier spot.

I had to buy seedlings for all the herbs.  Basil did great, as did oregano, sage, and mint. Chives are out of control! Rosemary didn’t make it.

I had several challenges. The first was that I started too late for seeds My region rarely has freezes, so I can’t go by “last freeze” advisories. Instead, I will start my seeds an appropriate number of weeks before the spring equinox and plan to plant then, or whenever the Farmer’s Almanac recommends. By the time I planted, it was too warm and I couldn’t keep the soil moist. I will also by clear plastic shoeboxes from the dollar store to put over the seedlings as mini greenhouses.

The second was heat. We had a relatively mild summer, but every time I started plants, we had a heat wave with a week of temps over 100. Not good for my new plants.

The third was water. I didn’t set up a watering system. Instead I used a watering can to water three times a week. I think I will install a bubbler system and set it to run at a low bubble for an hour every four days. That’s infrequent enough for tomatoes, and frequent enough for everything else.

Despite the failures, I really enjoyed gardening this summer. It only took about ten minutes a day, at the most. My box system looked lovely and made it easy to maintain. I turned a spiral notebook into a garden journal and will refer to it next year when choosing plant spots. I may rotate some things, but because it’s easy to just replace the soil in one box, it won’t be as necessary.

If you gardened, how did your garden fare?

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