Does anything taste as good as something you’ve grown in your own garden? I don’t think so. We planted broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, lettuce, and tomatoes in container gardens for the first time. And we enjoyed a bountiful harvest of – tomatoes!
This has taught us that we need a deeper layer of soil in our raised garden beds. Most of the vegetables couldn’t get enough nutrients to thrive. The broccoli shot up like a fireworks display, with just as much staying power. It was also attacked by Japanese beetles but it was already a failure. Only three carrots survived and were stubby because of the aforementioned shallow bed. The lettuce ended up wild bunny food after it turned brown and mushy. And the cauliflower went from hopeful to sad and ultimately looking weak and inedible.
But the tomatoes – they’re keepers! I have two cherry tomato plants and one beefsteak. I believe the beefsteaks would have ended up bigger with more soil to live in. There’s always next year. We were quite happy with our tomato crop.
And that’s what this season was all about. It was an experiment to see what we could grow and learn from.
My Mom planted a huge garden for many years with peppers, beans, peas, carrots, and other veggies. She fought off rabbits and other critters with a kind but firm approach. Back then, I didn’t appreciate what it took to grow our own food. I sure do now.
So, we’ll add more soil to the beds next year and I’ll be less ambitious with my crop choices. I’m thinking about one bed of only tomatoes and another of bee and butterfly-friendly flowers. The other day, a Monarch butterfly passed through our yard. I’d love to give them a reason to stay awhile. And although we are doing everything we can to evict wasps, a visiting bumblebee puts a grin on my face.
We left a country home that had a 3/4-acre patch of land for this one with a toenail-sized back yard. But we’re doing more here than we ever did with the rural property. Sometimes, less is more. Less to take care of, to tend to, and to screw up! No one will ever confuse me with a gardening expert. But I can try to become the best friend a bee ever had.