July 22, 2014

Mid-Summer Garden Update

We are about halfway through our first gardening season in the new yard and it is time for an update. So far I’m happy to report that my year of experimentation is going fairly well. I’ve learned quite a bit about our climate, the sun patterns, and what critters I have to contend with around here. Here are some photos if you’d like to see:

Garden Tour: Naptime Chef

It turns out our raised garden bed gets full sun from 8am through 6pm. As a result I had to transplant my herbs to pots and place them on the shaded porch. The sunny plot is perfect for our zucchini, pepper varieties, and tomatoes. They are thriving! But the herbs were wilting and burning in the relentless heat.

Garden Tour: Naptime Chef

As you can see the basil, sage, lemon verbena, and the rest are so much happier in the partial shade. It was good to learn this lesson early. Next year I can plan my herb pots and give my vegetables more space in the raised bed.

Garden Tour: Naptime Chef

It is now clear that I went a little overboard with the carrot seeds. They are going crazy! I actually had to thin them out a bit. I didn’t realize how easily they’d take. The harvest will be fun with the kids.

Garden Tour: Naptime Chef

This year I took the easy route with the tomatoes and bought a baby plant with a trellis pot. Definitely a good decision. The plant is thriving in all the sun and there are loads of green tomatoes that are about to ripen.

Garden Tour: Naptime Chef

As far as flowers go we began the garden with plants known to thrive in hot sun and tolerate occasional droughts. I’ve been studying the landscaping in the area for a few years so I felt confident that hydrangea, roses, wild grasses, irises and similar would be a good place to start. So far they all seem to be doing well which is very encouraging. I’ll continue to add to our garden with plants and flowers as the years go on.

Garden Tour: Naptime Chef

The critters, especially the woodchuck living under the porch, were challenging at first. But we seem to have gotten them under control for now with the help of a few regional experts. Unfortunately, we continue to have quite an active (and brave!) squirrel population and they ate every one of my strawberries before they ripened. As a result, no strawberries this year. Such a bummer! But, of all the things that could go wrong, it is not the worst. We go strawberry picking every year anyway.

Stay tuned for the harvest in a few years. I can’t wait to start cooking what we’ve grown and planning what to make next year!