September 2, 2011

I forgot leaves grew on trees

So I figured since I am all over the place this week I would switch gears away from art and talk a little bit about my first time planting a vegetable garden. I should start by explaining that I had high hopes that we were going to have a great garden...why you ask? Because of my main man...
Isn't he handsome? Mind you-This is not his everyday outfit although he has probably worn that shirt more times than I care to admit. But that is another story for another post.

The reason I had so much faith in us was because Tim and his family used to work at the farm next to their house. At Kohler Farms he planted, picked and maintained alot of vegetables and flowers. Occasionally he also got to drive the tractor during the Halloween season. Cool huh?

picture from Kohler farms website

I also started getting more into gardening and I really wanted to have fresh vegetables all summer long. So we decided we were going to plant one this season. We decided to go with a raised bed design since we didn't know how fertilized our soil was and because a raised bed is better at retaining moisture.

Sorry I can't get this picture to turn right side up

In April we planted 6 tomatoes plants (1- cherry, 1- roma, and 4 plants from my grandfather), 2 cucumber plants, 1 eggplant, 1 red pepper, 1 zucchini and some lettuce seeds. I was so excited to watch them grown.

The months went by and I started to get really excited when I saw these little cherry tomatoes pop up.

Unfortunately they were not the only things popping up. There was one factor that we forgot to factor in- our trees or rather their leaves.

You see we live in an area with a lot of trees and when we planted these in April, we saw that the garden location was getting enough sun. What we didn't think about was the fact that none of our trees really grew back all their leaves yet. In the words of Homer Simpson, "D'oh!!"

So we quickly realized as the summer came that the garden was most likely not going to get the sun it really needed. As time went on we slowly started to see our garden grow a little bit.

In the end we got a handful of cherry tomatoes, 4 cucumbers,  2 big tomatoes, no lettuce, 1 zucchini, 1 eggplant and 2 peppers. Don't get me wrong- I am grateful we got something considering our poor location but now we can look back and remember a few things for next year.

1) factor in the fact that trees grow leaves which provide shade. i.e. move the beds
2) create large trellis's for the tomatoes to lean on - its amazing how high a plant will grow for some sun!

3) also create a trellis for the cucumber plants which began to take over our garden.

I hope you can take a few of these tips with you as you plan your gardens for next year. Now that we know a little bit better, I think our garden will be much more successful next year.

Has anybody else learned a lesson this year in vegetable gardening? I would love to collect all the tips I can.

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