I’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.
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?