Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary…How Did Your Garden Die?

Garden 3I’ve been on a roll for the past couple weeks with confessions about my less than successful attempts at achieving domestic perfection.  A couple weeks ago I admitted to my children’s picky eating habits, then last week I considerably overshot my ambitious grocery budget and now finally, I am here to talk about my absolute failure as a gardener this summer.   

Last fall we moved into a new house and one of the draws for me about the new house we chose was the southern exposure that bathes the backyard in sunshine for most of the year.  The yard space isn’t huge, but we identified a raised planter in the back corner where I could start a vegetable garden in hopes of growing our own produce for the summer.  You can read about how I set up this garden last spring in a post called New House, New Garden.  In that post, I vowed to track my garden’s harvest and report back, but before I start my report, let’s look at how my little farm looked in April.

IMG_2673Wow, what a difference 5 months makes, right?  

Things started off great for this garden!  By mid-July, we had harvested 47.5 oz of cherry tomatoes, 77 oz of roma tomatoes, 28 oz of zucchini, 4 green beans and one sad little cucumber.  

Then we went on vacation.  

When we retuned from our trip, we discovered that we had accidentally left the sprinklers turned off during our week long absence.  Things were a little crispy looking, but I was certain we could recover.  Unfortunately, two factors began to work against me at this point.  

#1) The weather started to heat up and while it isn’t obvious from the pictures I’ve shown, this garden bed is bordered by a transparent glass fence on the south side.  Our house overlooks a fairly busy street on that side and the glass helps to reduce the noise as well as affords us a view of the shopping center down the hill. Well, it turns out that the glass also acts as to magnify the sun’s heat, which by mid-July was blazing directly through the glass onto the veggies which got scorched.  

#2) About mid-July was when our dog developed a taste for tomatoes and zucchini such that even the few vegetables that did ripen in the heat, were devoured by our darling beagle-mix before I could harvest them.   

There’s nothing I hate more than waste.   I hate wasting money, natural resources and my own time most of all and this project was a big waste of all three this summer.  However, as much as it pains me to even look at the garden right now, in another week or so I plan to dig up all the dead plant matter, throw it in the composter and start over.  Now that things are cooling off, this could be a great little plot of land for a winter garden.  Maybe things will grow better when the sun isn’t blazing so hot on them.  Next summer I’ll try again, however, I might arrange the plants differently by putting the more heat loving varieties close to the glass and maybe trying some sort of trellis against the glass for shade.  I’ll also do some research and see which varieties are more “sun loving” and perhaps even more drought-tolerant.  

As for the dog…I’m not sure if she has a taste for spinach, but I guess we’ll find out.  

How about you?  How did your garden grow this summer?  Any suggestions for heat tolerant veggies?

This post was linked at the Homestead Barn Hop, Fat Tuesday, Wonderful Wednesday and From the Farm.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Cinnamon Vogue September 20, 2013, 10:39 am

    Consider building a shade for your plants. All you need is are 4 poles , 4 cross beams and Coolaroo shade cloth from Home Depot. Or you can buy Coolaroo shade sails and make a lovely design. It cuts down on UV 90% but still lets in enough light and air for most plants. I even put roller side shades to protect them from the afternoon sun. You can buy Coolaroo roller shades too. Simple to build if you are handy and I am sure you.

    As for the pesky dog, spray diluted (1% with water) Ceylon Cinnamon Oil around the perimeter of your plants so your dog and other pests will stay away. It is a powerful animal and insect repellant. Ceylon Cinnamon oil is also great to keep away the smaller Ants and Aphids that eat and create mold on your plants. For that wash your plants well with the hose spray set on firm and then spray the diluted (1%) Ceylon Cinnamon Oil with a pump sprayer onto the plant. It’s non toxic and all natural. Yes that means you can eat anything sprayed with it.

    Suzanne I am sure next year you will do a great job and leave the sprinklers on. :-) We have all done these crazy gardening mistakes.

  • Chris September 20, 2013, 11:03 am

    We had a less-than-spectacular summer garden season as well! Early summer attempt was thwarted by fungus and bugs. Mid-summer attempt was stalled by a pesky raccoon, opossum, and skunk. End-of-summer attempt is still going, but barely… pumpkins are definitely not going to be jack-o-lantern size in a month and green beans? Well, there are only three! (My husband says we can freeze the three and then add them to whatever harvest we get next summer! In 10 years, perhaps we’ll have enough for a side dish!?)

    Keep your chin up, though! Spinach and leafy veggies might do better with our mild winters than our summer plants did! :)

    • Cinnamon Vogue September 20, 2013, 11:42 am

      Chris that was a funny comment. :-) Been there and done that, especially with two pesky ground squirrels. I caught them and took them to the mountains. They decided to pee in my car trunk while in the cage as a thank you which took hours to clean.

  • Tiffany September 20, 2013, 6:03 pm

    Your story was comforting, we’ve definitely all been there. We did get a bunch of cherry tomatoes that our 4 year insisted we grow but refused to eat. We attempted mini watermelons whose tiny sprouts were quickly devoured by ground squirrels. The squirrels even managed to eat the tiny stems through the netting we put up. The only thing the netting did was catch a very big snake (luckily not a rattler) which my husband had to free from the netting and release back into our canyon. Gardening joys! I still love it and will keep trying in our tiny 30′ x 30′ backyard!

    • Suzanne September 20, 2013, 7:55 pm

      Thanks for the comment Tiffany! It’s a process. Next year we’ll both do better.