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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Wash?

If I had hoped to save money gardening this year I think I may have failed. We needed to redo the raised beds as the lumber we had used before was rotting. We spent $30 on untreated cedar boards just to replace the old wood. I did not grow any plants from seed this year (except for the cucumber plants which I sewed directly into the soil) so I also ended up spending about $15 on plants.

That was all good as I thought that I would be saving hundreds of dollars in produce. I have grown gardens every year that we have lived in this house and while we have had our successes and our failures I expected a pretty nice haul this year.

With a cool wet spring and a hot dry summer the garden has not fared well. Most of my tomato plants got the blight or wilt and just shriveled up and died. The ones that are left are only producing a handful of tomatoes on each plant, except for the cherry tomatoes which are, in fact, doing well. We had one tomato plant which I was keeping an eye on. It was growing one (yes, just one) tomato...but it was a whopper of a tomato! We could see that giant tomato turning redder by the day. Finally, it had reached the point where it was ripe and I told the kids we would pick it for supper. Not more than three hours later, Jacob and I went out to pick it and half of it was bitten or pecked open! We missed out on that one tomato that the plant produced! That, my friends, is the luck that I have had with my gardening this year.

That's not to say that it has been a complete bust. While the tomato plants aren't doing well, we have had a few stragglers left behind - enough to eat some tomato sliced a few times a week with our meals, or to put on our tacos like we did tonight. I'm hoping we will have a few more later this week when I plan to make BLT's.

The cucumbers started off with a bang but then the horrendous dry spell and heat wave descended upon us and the plants seemed to wither and die, even with the extra watering we gave them. Now we are lucky to find a couple a week and those are odd shaped, though yummy tasting yet! The only real success from the garden has been my rhubarb (which just won't stop!) along with the pepper plants. I planted 4 bell peppers and 4 gypsy peppers and they are doing fabulously! We like them best warm from the sun, sliced up, with salt sprinkled on top. What a delicious treat they are! I've eaten several green ones but now we are leaving several more to turn red for us. While I still think the gardening this year has cost us more than we saved...maybe I'm wrong. After all, red peppers sell for about $2.50 each here when not on sale...so 20 peppers later I've already broken even.

It does make you wonder how the pioneers did it - depending completely on their gardens to feed them fresh vegetables and fruit all summer and putting it up for winter. A year like this would have made them cry.


  1. Don't feel too badly. Our garden hasn't been producing as much as I thought it would this year either. I do find though that my shade frames are protecting all the tomatoes, eggplant and squash from birds. Pop on over to the blog and check them out because they are SO easy to build.

  2. Thank you so much - I'm going to have to try making those - they should help out a bunch! :)



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