This year’s garden didn’t do as well as I’d hoped. I think the biggest mistake I made was to fill our raised beds with straight leaf mulch instead of mixing in soil. It looked so rich and composted, I thought it would do well. But it seems to have been lacking nutrients and minerals that plants would normally find in the soil. When these beds are cleaned up, I’ll mix in some dirt for next year’s garden.
As you scroll through my pictures you’ll notice a recurring theme: WEEDS. Yes, I know. They’re everywhere. Lord knows I try, but I just can’t keep up with them. I often tell myself that I think having some weeds helps. It does seem that some bugs are attracted to the weeds before they bother the plants, so maybe there’s something to leaving a few in. A girl can rationalize, can’t she?
Along the garden fence I have a few things planted. One day, I’d love to have lots of flowers lining the garden entrance.
Here’s the Stevia. I harvested a bunch a few weeks ago, and dehydrated it to turn into a powder to sweeten baked goods with.
This Catnip plant always comes back nicely. Catnip has the opposite effect on humans as it does on cats, and make a good sleepy-time tea.
Here I’ve just potted up some mint and a little oregano. I have a different variety of oregano in my bigger herb bed, but I’ve mixed them up and don’t know which kind is which anymore.
Last year I planted grape vines along the garden fence, thinking I could train them to sprawl along the top. But I’m afraid they’re going to get too heavy for the fence we have here, so I’ll be moving this vine to our grape trellis in Fall, when the grapes are done producing for the year.
Here are some of the celery plants I started from seed and potted up. I also have two raised beds in the front yard full of them. The stalks are very small though. I’m not sure if I let them grow longer if they’ll get bigger, or if they’ll just go to seed. We’ll see. I might even let them go to seed on purpose because I use celery seed in several recipes. The kids and I have cut a stalk of celery here and there, but they’ve been pretty bitter. Too much sun, maybe? This is my first year growing celery so I’m still experimenting with it.
My tomatoes are looking pretty good. If you look closely, you might see the little green tomatoes growing in there.
My onion bed is looking good. The other day I was cooking dinner, and I needed an onion. I looked in the fridge and pantry, but I couldn’t find any fresh onions. My first instinct was to call my husband and ask him to pick some onions up from the store on his way home, but then I remembered… I’ve got a bazillion onions in the garden! It was so great to be able to just walk out there and pull up what I needed. It’s funny how old habits die hard.
The cabbage in the raised beds didn’t do nearly as well as the cabbage I planted along the fence in the front yard. Again, I think the leaf mulch was the culprit. The cabbage worms have finally found their way to my little cabbage heads. I’ll be harvesting these guys today to put up before they’re completely destroyed.
We planted our green beans about a week or so ago… late in the season… so they’re just coming up. This was the broccoli bed, but the broccoli didn’t make it so I figured I’d fill the space with something else. Before I planted the beans, I mixed in a good amount of soil and compost to go with the leaf mulch. Hopefully these plants will do better.
I planted the mustard specifically to let it go to seed. I use mustard seed in pickles and salad dressing, so I wanted to experiment with growing the seeds myself. I’ve been picking the lower leaves to give to the chickens. I haven’t found a way to eat mustard greens that I like yet.
A little bit of fresh dill growing.
The sugar snap peas have pretty much finished up, and cucumbers are now taking their place on the trellis.
The carrots did awful! I had such high hopes, too. I planted several different varieties, but again, the leaf mulch was a bad choice. We have very few carrots coming in. At least it’ll be fun as we harvest them to see what colors we get.
The pepper plants are scrawny. But they’re blooming, so maybe I’ll still get some peppers after all!
The squash plants are super tiny also. But it looks like we’ll still get some squash from them, so we’ll see!
The kids planted the watermelon bed, but purslane has pretty much overtaken it. Since learning what a super food purslane is, though, we’ve of course welcomed it to harvest with our other garden produce.
We’re getting our first white grapes. That’s exciting!
Here among the weeds are tons of blooming tomatillos. I’ve never grown them before either, so I’m anxious to taste them.
Oh, and our raspberries are starting to ripen! The kids have had fun digging through the branches to find red berries. They don’t seem to mind the thorns too much.
I did plant a little bit of corn, but it isn’t coming in yet. So that’s pretty much it for the garden right now.
How has your garden done this year? Learn anything new along the way?
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.