Wednesday, July 17, 2013

2013 Vegetable Garden

I had grand plans of sharing updates on our garden each months. Successes, failures, challenges, and all.

It is obvious by now that I'm not going to make a monthly update but I do have some photos from each month. So here is an overview of our garden so far this year.

But just a can be deceiving. These photos make my garden look bigger and more beautiful then it really is. You can't really see how much of that green stuff is weeds. Also, at the beginning of the spring, I had energy. Lots of it. In June my energy level plummeted. And the weeds took advantage of the opportunity. If we had not mulched part of the garden in the spring, it would be a complete disaster by now. As it is, it is only partly a disaster. So don't get any idea looking at these pictures that this is a perfect garden. 


I began the year rather discouraged. We planned to revamp our vegetable gardens. If you have toured our garden in the past you know that we have several garden areas. In our main garden area, we had three garden sections, one of which was a small children's garden area. We also had several garden patches in the back of our pasture.

The pasture gardens were a disaster. They were too far from the house and the animals and weeds had free reign. We weren't getting anything much out of those gardens anyway because of their neglect so we decided to let that area revert to pasture.

But since that would severely limit our garden space, we decided to combine two of our other garden areas, plowing up the lawn that was between the two gardens, and making it into a larger garden. That would mean losing the children's garden, but that area was another unproductive weed patch. This still wouldn't give us enough garden space to plant everything we wished so we decided to not plant any peas and instead pick peas at a neighbor's pick-you-own patch.

So that was the plan. I had hoped that the plowing of the new garden area would happen in the fall so that the sod could decompose over winter. But it didn't happen. Then we had a cold March. And we went to Guatemala. By the time we returned in April I was discouraged because our garden looked far from ready to plant anything. I resigned myself to not getting into the garden until May. Or later.


But neighbor to the rescue! One Saturday in April, our neighbor brought his small tractor and plow and plowed up the entire garden area.

We were now making some progress but a look at those deep furrows and clumps of sod and I knew that Ed would spend hours with the tiller making that soil ready to plant.

But a few days later, the same neighbor showed up with a large tiller hitched to the back of his tractor. He pulverized those sod clumps and broke down those furrows into a beautiful planting bed! We were ready to plant! (But I didn't get any photos of this step!


It was a lovely sunny April day, so I rushed over to the garden center and bought some vegetable plants. The children helped me to rake in some rotted chicken manure and lime, we built some slightly raised beds with a shovel, and planted!


What fun to be back in the dirt! We planted potatoes, onions, broccoli, cabbage, and lettuce.


Over the next several weeks, we mulched with grass clippings. I covered the plants with milk jugs until I got some more row cover. The plants to the right are garlic that I planted last year.


Under the grape vines, we layered card board and grass clippings to hopefully get a handle of this very weedy area.


We were hit with a cold snap in May. Our official frost free date is May 15 in our area, but often we don't get frost after May 1.

But this year we were hit with a bad frost, I'd call it more of a freeze, on May 14. Thankfully I had just planted my beans and they were not yet out of the ground. But my poor potatoes. And grapes. They didn't just get nipped by the frost. Every green leaf turned black and mushy. The potato patch that had looked so lovely the day before was now a dismal sight.

one week later, when the photo above was taken, the potatoes had resprouted. It was amazing. The freeze set them back and we didn't have new potatoes nearly as early as usual, but I expect a good crop.


Once the potatoes grew about six inches high, we tilled between the rows and hilled them up. We then spread grass clippings in the rows as a mulch. From now until we dig the potatoes, we shouldn't have any more work. (If the potato bugs stay away - and so far - I haven't seen a single potato bug! Do you think it is because we have not grown potatoes in this garden for several years?)

After the weather settled enough that it seemed safe, we planted our tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. I kept them covered with milk jugs until they outgrew the jugs just for an extra precaution.


We planted a later patch of sweet corn at the end of May.


My children still enjoy using the planting sticks that Ed made when they were small. Such an easy way for children to help in the garden.


We also covered the strawberries with bird netting. It doesn't take long for our large robin population to discover that strawberries are good eating.

May is also when we start enjoying our garden. Asparagus, lettuce, and worm-free broccoli (thanks to row cover!) Nothing is better than freshly picked vegetables!

And the herb garden is just for fun!


June was warm. And every time we thought we were getting a little dry, God sent us another shower of rain. That means everything grew like crazy!


 I just love the rich shades of green that signal adequate rainfall! (On the photo above you can see the green beans on the left and potatoes on the right.)

In June we harvested strawberries, red beets, sugar peas, and rhubarb. The broccoli plans sent out secondary shoots and gave us many more meals.

I'll try to take a few more photos this month and give you an update at the end of July. And maybe I can find the gumption to do some weeding! You all can be my accountability! In the photo above, see the little weeds on the left. Just imagine what a month of sunshine and rain did for them! It is bad!

How is your garden growing?


  1. Your garden looks great. This time of year is so nice with all the fresh produce.

  2. How do you keep the grass clippings from making weeds in the garden?

    1. If your grass clippings have a lot of weed seeds, you might not want to mulch with it, but we have not had any problem with it.

    2. ok thanks :-D I learned something new.

  3. Isn't it interesting how we can perceive someone else is doing a much better job at something than we are?!

    Maintaining a garden (and yours is a really big one) is full-time job! I too have these great ideals of what I'm going to do and achieve but the reality is, we do what we can...and God does the rest. We could have the most beautifully manicured weed-free garden but without it water it would shrivel up and die.

    The Lord is teaching me to be more accepting of my "human failings" and through it I believe He is Setting me Free. Free of condemnation, conditions, stress, worry, disappointment and fear. I so desire that...and I see gardening as one way the Lord teaches us (or is teaching me!)

    The Lord bless you and yours!
    Hugs, from NZ

  4. Gina, your gardens are beautiful! I must admit I have garden envy right now! In N. Ga. we have had SO much rain. And right at the best planting times too. I planted potatoes and several other cool weather plants the middle of March. It was all a failure. I've replanted a few times since. I am finally getting cucumbers and peppers. My green beans wil be growing more when the sun comes out and stays awhile. But no kale or collards or spinach.

    What grew really great were the dandelions. I have taken the greens to market to sell. And made dandelion jelly. And brought the flowers for tea. And even dried the whole plant for tea. I have sold a lot of that wonderful plant! And plantain? Goodness, it's all over. So I make plantain salve and sell it at market too. So, when God gives me weeds, I'll take them!

  5. I've gardened all my life and long ago I learned that "some years you beat the weeds and some years the weeds beat you"! Weeds or not never have I had a year where I had nothing!

  6. Gina, I don't know how you do all you have, especially since your body is housing the Creator's manufacturing of a complex, amazing little human being!
    We have a 30 x 60' garden in our back yard. We gather bags of leaves all winter as we see them on people's curbs. Those 70 bags plus grass clippings have made a huge difference with weeds this year. Some things have failed mysteriously such as 2 plantings of sweet corn. But, we had a 165 lb. potato crop, so that is fun. Thank you for the reminder that we need to rotate crops to avoid such things as potato bugs.
    We have never had a fall garden before but are excited about having one this year. As my husband and I were ordering some seeds online, I immediately thought of you! Imagine that, we have never met, but you are my friend, my sister in Christ, and my gardening "coach" so I thought of you.
    We live in a suburb of Dallas, TX, so the heat is pretty rough in summer here. Just as the garden was really drying out, God sent sort of a "drip irrigation" for 36 hours followed by a really great rain a couple days later. Our total of 1.6" of rain in the middle of July felt like God was lavishing His grace upon us.
    Congratulations on your coming baby. Isn't God so very kind? Please let Jean know I still pray for her and the children.
    Hugs from Texas,

  7. Gina , it all looks beautiful, even the weeds :) We have not had a real garden in a couple of years now, only a couple raised beds. I miss having a garden. It does make me feel depressed that I'm not physically able right now to work a garden and my hubby's job keeps him too busy to help in one. I keep dreaming of the day we can have a big one again, so until then thanks for sharing yours. God Bless

  8. I am so encouraged by your garden. I want to cover my zucchini plants next year. Do your plants need to be pollinated by bees? How do you work the rower cover if the plant needs pollination? Thank you kindly, Sue

    1. I have never covered zucchini because, as you said, they need to be pollinated by insects. I know some gardeners cover their zucchini until it blooms, then remove the cover.

  9. Gina,
    Your garden looks wonderful even with the weeds! Isn't it so great to grow and receive your own beautiful bounty? Our Garden and Greenhouse are flourishing this year. I have been dehydrating herbs for a few weeks now in stages. We have started picking zucchini and a few tomatoes, but I imagine before long we will have that bumper crop :)
    Keep up the great work!

  10. Beautiful garden (and children)

  11. i love ur awesome garden..u run ur garden with to ur family..beautiful heart of yours makes the house warm n full of love..kisses n hug for ur beautiful children..God bless u n ur family too..i really admire u..regards from me n my son in Indonesia..i learn so many things from u..peace n love from us..


I love to hear from you.


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