Tuesday, August 25, 2009

catching up — the garden

My garden experiment this year was a failure by all accounts. We began by intending to plant a full raised bed and scaled back to a limited container garden when I realized that the sun in the back yard wasn't going to sustain a full garden — the neighbors' trees had grown up too much in the past couple of years.

The next blow was the rain in June. I seeded my tomatoes, beans, peppers and basil early enough. Unfortunately, the surfeit of rain in June meant tons of water and little sun. The poor plants had to catch up in July and barely had a few beans, one pepper, one small tomato, and one decent batch of basil to show for the first couple months of summer. They were wonderful little starts, but the start never really evolved into a bigger harvest.

The rains continued in July, and the lack of sun become a serious detriment. The tomato plants I'd seeded still haven't grown enough and begun producing. The yellow pear tomato plant never flowered — which may be mollified by the fact that the yellow pear tomatoes never materialized at any vendor at the South of the James Market in Forest Hill Park either.

The current situation is dire. The pepper plant is promising one more pepper. There are several promising tomato blossoms and green tomatoes on the plans, but with August coming to an end and September approaching, it's hard to believe they'll amount to much. The basil is hanging on, and L has convinced me to move it into the kitchen for the rest of the year. With any luck, we'll be able to keep it going. We managed another couple of beans, but hardly enough to do anything with. The cucumber plant I started never even got going and is an utter failure.

I blame the weather and sun conditions, but I also blame time. Rather than finding the best solutions, I just tried to do a half-assed job. Next year, the goal will be to plant appropriate plants, or perhaps to share a community garden plot. Perhaps we will also have moved into a better spot for gardening by then. Who knows.

One other improvement I know I can make is to engage Buttercup more in the process. She enjoys planting and watering. She enjoys watching the plants produce. A little more attention from all of us and I think we'll have a better shot at success.