In the Vegetable Garden with Jessica
Somehow summer is almost at an end – the cool August weather makes it feel like fall already. A few weeks ago, I planted more seeds in my summer vegetable garden in hopes of a fall harvest. This made me reflect on how the raised garden did in my second year as a gardener.
What went right in the summer vegetable garden:
Compared to last year, I had a much better experience overall. My soil was much healthier, thanks to amending the it with compost and worm poop at the beginning of the season. And the squirrels finally stayed out – thank you pinwheels!
- Starting seeds gave me a head start on lettuce, tomatoes, and basil, which all flourished. My herb garden in the Vertical Limits tray is still going strong.
- My green beans went wild! I am still harvesting from what I planted in May—they are the clear winner and will be planted again next year. I also planted some for fall, but they are getting shaded out because the current plants just won’t quit.
- Tomatoes are also producing non-stop, although slow to ripen. The Brad’s Atomic Grape from Baker Creek are gorgeous and almost the size of a Roma.
- Pollinators are swarming the garden–it’s a beautiful sight. Bees, butterflies, and beneficial insects were pollinating everything. I enjoyed the early mornings when they were especially active. I planted a variety of wildflowers nearby, including sunflowers and zinnia, and added calendula, herbs, and marigolds directly to the garden.
What went not so right in my summer vegetable garden:
While the garden was better, I wish I would have gotten more harvest. Hopefully as I learn more about gardening, I’ll get to the point where my bounty overflows and I can share with friends. We had a lot of rain here in Minnesota this year, so that may be part of the issue.
- Zucchini and yellow neck plants rotted at the stem. Each plant was looking healthy and producing fruit and then they started dying, one after the other. It could’ve been a pest issue, though I did not notice anything until it was too late.
- Cucumbers became stunted because the zucchini plants were so huge and I believe they blocked out too much light. I’ll plant them differently next year.
- Root crops and brassica are still not growing well for me. I got a few baby carrots but the kohlrabi did not bulb and the broccoli never formed heads, even with seed starting indoors. Same goes for my bell peppers, but they got blocked out for a bit by the massive green beans before I moved them.
- Some of the lettuce was bitter, but I learned that can be from too much heat early in the summer.
What I planted in my vegetable garden for fall:
- Lettuce – several varieties
- Carrots – several varieties
I look at vegetable gardening as an experiment, and since I had the seeds, why not try my hand at the cool weather spring crops again for fall? I’ll keep you posted on how they do once I put the garden to bed for winter. Eww, I can’t even stand to think about the impending cold coming around again. I’ll be starting an indoor herb garden for sure!
Tell us: How did your summer vegetable garden do?