I started out with this beautiful space and absolutely no experience.
I can claim none of the skill that it takes to build the retaining walls as that was entirely my neighbor. He did a fantastic job. My contribution was digging up all the dirt and sifting out the rocks. They ranged from the size of a tiny birds egg to the size of a large grapefruit. I had almost forgotten how much work that was.
I did a really poor job of planting back in April and thus didn't know where anything was planted. I just watered everywhere and hoped for the best. Not too long afterward I started getting some sprouts.
Unfortunately, most of them failed. The whole left section did not take off. I suspected the sprouts were being eaten. Around this time my neighbors transplanted one of their plants (we think a squash) to my middle section. It was planted along side the most prominent thing in my garden: a sunflower that I didn't even plant.
Said squash and sunflower chugged along but seemed to have been eaten over night. It was at this time that I was trying to figure out what was eating everything. I read to switch from watering at night to the morning to deter pests from eating my plants at night. One of my first mornings watering, this is what I found.
I kindly asked them to get off my plant and relocated them across the yard (they took an entire leaf with them as payment for having to evacuate). At this point I knew I had to do something. I scoured the internet for ways to keep them off my veggies but without much luck. It was either keep them off using chemicals or kill them using natural solutions (beer). I ended up going to an organic gardening store and they sold me some organic slug repellent along with some fertilizer. The fertilizer is not vegan and that is something I am going to have to come up with a more friendly way eventually. For now, I was overwhelmed and I caved. Sue me.
The plants that did survive are mostly all tomatoes. These are two heirloom tomato plants. I have about 10 cherry tomato plants as well. This is getting into May when things started doing fairly well.
Other survivors: 4ish carrots, one head lettuce, one snap pea plant, a couple of peppers I started in pots, an onion or two.
For a few weeks this lettuce was the only thing doing great. I even harvested it!
The other success story of my garden was one of my pots which contained catnip! I always knew cats liked to chew on grass and I didn't doubt my cats would feel any differently. Precious (the black one) loves to chew on corn husks and many of the greens I bring into the house.
Sometimes they got so rough with the grass that they knocked the pot over. They loved it!
The only other thing I have been able to harvest is some cilantro and a little bit of parsley.
Cilantro grown from seed!
But back to that measly little sunflower that was the highlight of my May garden.
In June, it has not only grown up nice and strong (and continues to amaze me every day with how it chases the sun) but it has some large companions. The stunted squash that refused to grow after the snails feasted on it finally took off. It is spreading itself out and has grown two flowers.
This section has been moved around a lot but there are some carrots, lettuce, peppers, onions and lots of tomatoes.
The cherry tomato plants have blossoms all over them and I now have a few mini tomatoes coming in, including this:
My very first cherry tomato ever! Even with no experience and a number of failures, that is success! If I get nothing but tomatoes I would be happy.
In the back there you can see my heirloom tomato plants coming along. They are not as strong as I would like, but they have flowers as well.
As for the plot to the left of the sunflower, it failed a number of times. I am currently on my third complete redo of the area. I got really excited when I dug and found worms but the ground just wouldn't stay wet and not even weeds were growing there. This time I moved 2 of my tomato plants over there along with what I think is broccoli that was the sole survivor of the last attempt. I also bought 2 plants to try out since it didn't seem seeds liked coming up there. I got a bell pepper plant as well as a green bean plant.
The first time I attempted to transplant tomatoes over to this section I uber failed. They died instantly. I transplanted them around 6 at night and by 6 the next morning they were looking pitiful and by 6 the next evening, they were goners. Live and learn.
So that, my friends, is my garden. Hopefully the next time I talk about my garden it is to show you my bountiful harvests! I will be back tomorrow with pictures of all the yummy foods I have eaten since I've been gone along with adventures at the farm where my CSA comes from.
And look, only one cat pictures. :-)