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Lessons in Gardening

August 10, 2011

Even though we’re nowhere near the end of the growing season (my tomatoes aren’t even red yet!), I though it would be fun to run through some of the very important lessons we’ve learned thus far in our first adventure in vegetable gardening.

1. Start small. We kind of over did it when it came to the number of plants we sowed and planted. And this is the result:

This is our garden on Tuesday night. Impressive? Yes. Definitely. I’m quite impressed with what we’ve accomplished, but the plants have literally exploded, and have over taken some of the smaller ones. An entire row of bell peppers has disappeared amongst the tomatoes. If we decide to have the same number of plants next year, we need another raised bed, for sure.

2. Don’t be sad to thin the growth. I should have taken out more zucchini plants when they were younger, but I felt sad for all the zucchini we would be losing (I know, I’m such a sap). But. Thinning can actually make the plants you keep healther and thus present even more fruit, so there may not have been a loss after all.

3. Don’t underestimate cute fuzzy bunnies. See this section of our bed?

This is where a cucumber plant used to be. When we arrived home on Sunday, I immediately went out to check the garden. I pushed back some of the foliage and discovered our bunny had moved in while we were away! Feeling sorry for the poor little guy, I left him alone, certain he wasn’t going to eat anything. After all, he’d left the garden alone up until now.

I was wrong.

The next day I came home to find A pulling out a Cucumber plant that Roger Rabbit had nibble off right at the base of the stem! The whole plant, gone!

4. Learn the art of pruning. Like thinning, it promotes healthier, more productive plants.

5. Learn whether tomato varieties are ‘determinate’ or ‘undeterminate’. An undeterminate variety will grow all willy nilly without careful pruning, and that’s exactly the kind we have.

6. Keep a more detailed daily journal. Things got thrown out of sorts this year with all the personal things we had to deal with, so I wasn’t as attentive to that as I had wanted to be, but next year I’m going to try and take more notes.

7. Just relax. I was fretting last night about air circulation and the lack of sun reaching some plants, but at this point there’s not much we can do other than harvest what we can and learn from this year’s adventure. A part of me wanted it to be perfect our first time around, but that’s impossible. I know that even seasoned gardeners who’ve been at it for 20 years or more have setbacks.

8. Identify plants that can grow on a trellis. It saves space.

9. A couple of mishaps doesn’t mean it’s all a lost cause. Our harvest is continuing to surprise me! I pulled back a cucumber leaf to find this guy dangling over the edge of the bed:


I was shocked! Isn’t this cucumber amazing? I put that average sized apple next to it to give you an idea of how big this guy was!

Two guesses who wanted me to take this pic 🙂

It is an impressive size (tongue in cheek)

Since there’s just the once cucumber for now, I decided to chop him up and make a salad with tomatoes, grated carrots, fresh basil and oregano and a lemon-olive oil-garlic dressing. The dressing was a bit much and overwhelmed the flavour of the veggies a bit, so next time I’ll leave just leave it fresh and untouched!

It was just a short time ago I couldn’t wait to use our own veggies to make this dish! The cucumbers are ready and the tomatoes are well on their way. I’m not sure about our carrots.

Roger’s been nibbling on those too.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. August 11, 2011 12:38 pm

    Yup, that’s exactly what our garden looks like too! I can stand on the other side of our raised bed and be hidden! We’ve gotten 3 cucumbers so far…pretty tasty!

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