This year I made my first attempt at growing some of my own food. Since the summer is winding down, I thought I would give you a little recap of my first try at gardening. I’ve made some decisions about what I would do again and what I won’t bother with next year.
1. I won’t grow pole beans next year. I grew pole beans and the vines got HUGE. They were my best producing “crop.” But, pole beans have a string that has to be removed, and I found that to be a hassle. Bush beans are less stringy so I may try those next year.
2. I will definitely grow zucchini, peppers and tomatoes next year. Vine ripe tomatoes are fabulous. There is nothing that lets you know you’re in the South quite as well as a garden tomato sandwich with salt and pepper. My zucchini plants didn’t do very well and I’m not sure why. I heard from a few of my friends that theirs didn’t do well either, so maybe it was just the weather this summer. In any case, I will be trying again next year with the zucchini.
3. I learned that you need A LOT of space to grow a significant amount of your own food. I planted my plants too close together and they grew on top of each other. I need to spread it out next year, or at least be smarter about my positioning of the various plants.
4. Having a garden didn’t reduce my grocery bill and in the apocalypse we would starve if all we had was my garden. But, it was a nice supplement to our weekly groceries and I especially enjoyed the tomatoes and zucchini.
5. Having a garden was a wonderful experience for my kids. Elle liked picking green beans and tomatoes and Hunter liked holding the hose to water the garden. It was worth the effort for their experience alone. They learned where food comes from and how much work is involved in growing it.
6. I learned that soil quality is key. The plants that were planted in better soil were three times bigger and more productive. I guess that’s obvious to the experienced gardener, but I saw for myself how important it is to cultivate good soil. I would like to have a compost pile this winter so that next spring I gave loads of good, black dirt.
So, to sum it all up, it was a GREAT experience. I can’t wait to learn more and try again next year!