How does your garden grow?

Purple Carrot

How are your gardens doing?

We’re experiencing the worst drought that I can remember. Like the kind that’s so bad, my rain dance long ago morphed into a tropical storm dance. That bad. But I’m not going to whine about our water bill because when it rains 3 times in 6 months, all kinds of crazy stuff happens – broken water mains, small grass fires, gigantically scary grass fires… fingers crossed that we’ll see a wet weekend!

In the last 5 months, I feel like I’ve learned a lot and nothing at all about gardening. Our bell pepper plants were been mostly a bust. We got one single carrot – and it was a purple one! Lots and lots of cucumbers for tzatziki and an occasional handful of green beans to saute for the kiddo’s lunch.

We got several butternut squashes and hit the mother lode in zucchini before the vine borers got them – I’ve replanted seedlings for both. I cannot grow cilantro or chives to save my life. And those tomato plants that I knew I was planting too close together… well, let’s just say lesson learned.

We’ve got a whole list of things to do differently next time. Including squirrel-proofing the two peach trees. Can you believe those guys? They eat the peach but leave the pit still attached to the branch. That’s a little insulting.

I’ve just started thinking about our fall garden… broccoli, garlic, onions, herbs, greens. The eggplant and citrus trees are in bloom – we’re about to be inundated with key limes and oranges. There are worse fates :)

We added a young fig tree (and a Texas grapefruit, and another lemon, and a replacement avocado tree) to our backyard squirrel buffet a couple of weeks ago. They were 50% off! Talk about a hard deal to refuse. It’s struggling, not appreciative of being transplanted in 100+ degree weather (who would?). But there are two small green figs clinging to life. And I’m clinging to hope that I’ll get to eat them before the squirrels do.

16 comments… add one

  • Our garden– in New England– is doing pretty well, I think. All the tomatoes have fruit and we have picked maybe 10 cherry tomatoes. I am planting our fall garden (greens) this week.
    I never get great results with cilantro– you are someplace warm, right? Does yours bolt early? I have read that the key is to reseed every week or two to keep a continuous supply. I do have about 6 plants now but they are small (and starting to flower, grrr).

    • ok, I need more coffee– clearly you are someplace warm if you are growing citrus and have been gardening for five months.

  • Erin @ Cooking on Whim

    Your “garden” sounds like an absolute dream!! I wish I had the amount of land for the trees like you do. I learned my lesson with tomatoes this year as well– I have a sweet 100 plant that is overtaking everything!! My cucumbers are the most productive, and my pepper plants are actually growing away. My onions flopped this year, and we are still hopeful on the cantaloupe.

    Thanks for sharing your garden news :)

    • We have mostly potted dwarf citrus plants – you, too, can have a bunch of citrus trees without owning a farm :)

  • I’ve gotten pounds and pounds of cherry tomatoes (sungolds are the best tomatoes I’ve ever tasted, fyi), but exactly 2 cucumbers. Spider mites are my arch nemeses. They are pure evil and eat everything. Shawnda, you may want to try growing cilantro and chives inside by the window. I’ve always had trouble with it being too hot to grow cilantro outside, as well as the bugs loving it. But this year I tried inside and its doing pretty well!

  • I am so jealous of your garden! I stayed small with only herbs, like you, I could not grow cilantro! My dill also didn’t do well. I have plenty of basil, rosemary, mint, and parsley to last me a lifetime though.

  • Lindsay @ Peace, Love and French Fries

    We’ve had the opposite problem here in Colorado – violent thunderstorms have beat some of my garden to a pulp. I think my onion have been defeated. My cucumbers never stoood a chance. My corn and pumpkins are struggling pretty bad, as are my peppers. I gotten a couple handfuls of snap peas and green beans, although those have really slowed down the past few weeks. But my tomatoes and zucchini are going crazy. I’ve got 4 celery plants that should be able to be harvested over the next few weeks. I can hardly keep up with my broccoli. So about 50/50 this year! I’m jeaous of all of your fruit trees, delish!

  • Ours had been doing pretty good, until my husband went out to water the plants last night and saw 5 very hungry caterpillars had gnawed off almost all my dill! They are just about at the pupae stage, so we carefully gathered them up and put them in a little butterfly habitat our girls got for Christmas. Hopefully in the next couple weeks, we’ll be able to release some beautiful butterflies. I’m a little sad about the dill, but it’s a pretty good tradeoff. :)

  • That is one incredible looking carrot. We are definitely planting some purple ones next year. I’ve learned so much about different food varieties this year. I’m excited to try a larger variety in our own garden next time. Sorry your garden didn’t fill your house with as much loveliness as hoped. Ours went in too late and the heat has about killed it off now.

  • Reagan

    My poor tomatoes never stood a chance this year. My basil and thai basil did pretty well for a while, but with the heat and lack of rain they are fading fast. I didn’t have luck with my cilantro(caterpillars) or pepper plants(squirrels) this year either. I still get to enjoy the farmers market and hopefully I will have better luck next year.

  • My herb garden does fantastic every year. As for everything else? Well . . . I finally pulled up the dead remnants of my zucchini and squash. One cucumber, maybe another on the way. Several jalapenos, one and a half bell peppers, and a few tomatoes. We had rain woes for the longest, and now there seems to be a major downpour once a day!

  • This is the first time in years that our garden is green and growing. I live in Alberta, Canada and normally we have a drought with fire and water bans!

  • Carissa

    How are you going to protect your fig and peach tree? We have a mandarin and fig tree and I’m at a loss on how to keep them from feeding the birds and squirrels!

  • I don’t have a garden! I can’t wait to have my own space to make one!!

  • Maybe only one carrot but it is a damn fine example!

    I filled all my pots over the weekend. Hopefully I won’t forget to water and they’ll survive.

  • Well, at least the one carrot you got is gorgeous!!! I’m captivated by the vivid hue on that thing.

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