Summer is officially over, but I’m still collecting tomatoes, peppers, and squash every few days from the garden. And if you couldn’t tell by all the recent recipes.. I’ve been putting it all to good use! I thought it would be fun to share some before, during, and after photos of this year’s summer garden, what I learned, and plans for next year.
My dad had gotten on the roof to clean out the gutters and had snapped this first photo while the garden was in it’s beginning stages.
A few months later he got back up there and snapped this second one to show how much change had occurred in the garden.
The squash quickly vined across the fence we put up, the tomatoes are growing wildly outside the tops of their cages, I added a second trellis for the cucumbers, and the green beans engulfed the archway. We’ve already consumed, canned, or frozen most of what we harvested which will be nice to enjoy in meals during the winter.
A few battles with pests that I encountered were the Japanese beetles and Cabbage Worms. The Japanese Beetles were all over the green beans and basil, but seemed to leave everything else alone. We used traps to attract and kill them as well as neem oil to deter them from eating the plants. The cabbage worms attacked my kale… and still are! Good old soapy water seemed to do the trick with them, but left the leaves of my kale dried out and the plants stunted in growth. I planted a ridiculous amount of marigolds bordering the tomatoes and peppers which helped repel aphids and it seemed to do the trick.
Hooking two water barrels up to the pump in the basement helped us water (for free!) during this extremely dry summer. When we weren’t able to get enough water out of the basement we utilized an old well on the property that had plenty of cool clean water for us to refill the barrels.
All in all it was exactly what I wanted.. a beautiful and functional space for me to learn new skills and sustainability, break my curse of having a black thumb, unwind after a long day, and have a safe place for the cats to explore. Next year’s garden I want to focus on more companion planting (keeping specific plants and flowers together) which seemed most effective in keeping pests away and adds more variety to the layout of the entire space.
What did you enjoy about your summer garden most? What are your plans for future gardens? Leave your thoughts and comments below!