Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Vegetable Gardening 2013: The Year of Disappointment

Before winter sets in and I forget about the garden completely, I have to record this for posterity's sake.

We have been out on our acre and a half in the country for fifteen years now and have had gardening highs and lows. There have always been cottontail rabbits in our yard, but they had never bothered with the vegetable garden until this year. We had one little scalawag (and friend which we all know means there will be even more -- and there were! We had a nest of wee ones in the strawberry patch!)
that made growing vegetables this year quite difficult.

I planted shortly after the last risk of frost (which doesn't always mean anything) and we had frost yet anyway. It didn't actually kill anything, but it did cause a setback for most of my garden things. Then just when things we're perking up and looking a little more lively, Scalawag came through and had dinner. What he didn't want to eat, he nipped off and left as proof of his evil ways for me to discover in the morning.

The strawberries did great -- even if a lot of them didn't make it into the freezer. :o)

I went to the greenhouses (yes, plural) to buy some replacements, but there wasn't much left. We didn't have much okra and no eggplant this year. (I know that a few of my children are secretly rejoicing regarding the eggplant.) We had one delicious feed of okra and that was it.

Lettuce lookin' pretty

All in all though, what has survived in the garden did okay. The lettuce was very slow in coming, but it was also slow in bolting which meant a lot of fresh salads for this family. We had an abundance of zucchini and what wasn't eaten fresh was grated and stored in 1 cup bags in the freezer for baking and in soups and chilies. The Swiss chard produced practically enough for every week of the winter. I'm going to have to find several different recipes to get it all used up. The bok choy did okay too -- enough for a few meals anyways. We had one meal of fresh roasted Brussels sprouts -- along with the few carrots that grew big enough to go in the roasting pan with the sprouts. Oh were they good!! I think we might have five or so meals of kale, we had one meal of red cabbage, and there are a few beautiful savoy cabbages still out in the garden.

The tomatoes. They just didn't produce this year.

I didn't get enough tomatoes at all to freeze any this year and green peppers? Hah! What green peppers!? The jalapenos on the other hand did fairly good -- and I really didn't need more jalapenos. The beets were a complete write off, but I was able to buy three 10 lb bags at the grocery store for 1.99 each. I did the same with carrots. It's beats gardening them when one gets a sale like that!

Swiss chard! And LOTS of it!

We find the garden has been languishing in the last few years and I have been reading on what to do about it. Then my mom gave us a wonderful suggestion. We're going to move the garden where the pool was and the pool in the general vicinity of the garden.

The zucchini didn't disappoint.



  1. even God says to let your land rest the seventh year, the soil probably just needs a break from all the harvests. Try planting clover in that garden and then making a new place for your garden and the bunnies will be more interested in the clover than your veggies and the clover will help the soil get some of it needed nutrients back

  2. Deborah,

    I love your garden and your pictures. Seeing your children in the garden was a delight. It is funny how some years just don't produce the crop we had hoped to harvest. Maybe the new site next year will help.

  3. I'm very impressed. Never thought about grating the extra zucchini and putting in freezer--genius!


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