How did our garden grow?

How did our garden grow? Wellll, apparently, a green thumb I do not have. My visions of eating a homegrown salad of cucumbers, tomatoes and herbs did not happen. No recipes with our very own okra or squash were cooked either. Other than my being a newbie at this gardening thing, I think a few factors worked against me. First, we have a lovely, very big deck that is West-facing. It is a-ma-zing!  Except for the mid- to late afternoon when the sun is so incredibly intense and it is unbearable to be outside. Those parts of the day might have been a bit too harsh for our garden. Second, my plants might not have been the heartiest. Perhaps buying plants from a hardware store versus a garden center wasn’t a great idea. Third, we might have had some birds who came along every so often to poke at the tomatoes and steal the tiny little cucumbers the day they showed up. Matt is my witness that tiny cukes did appear, and then were gone. I needed to ensure that I didn’t dream them  up!  
My mom, Suzanne and I will be formulating a new plan for next summer’s garden. At least we have been enjoying most of the herbs all summer long! I love being able to walk out with my kitchen shears and a smug smile, snip off what we need and continue with my cooking. And Eliana has enjoyed playing in the dirt and finding “acceptable” leaves to consume, such as the basil leaves she pulls off before I can stop her. So, our garden hasn’t been a total loss!

Planting day, July 1, 2012. Our plants were so young and full of potential! Here’s the story of that day. 

A bit of overzealous watering on my part caused me to remove one of the squash plants that got a bit ill. I replaced it with another basil plant a few weeks later. I also tried things like crushed eggshells as fertilizer after my friend Cortney tried it on her tomato plant. (Thanks, Cort!)
A flower on our squash plant! A good sign!
A tomato appeared!

During the month of August, things were looking up! Flowers were showing up on the squash and cucumber plants, the okra was getting taller and more tomatoes were popping out.  
Come early September, I realized that the sun was likely causing some damage. So, I created a very sophisticated “sun block” for my tomatoes and kept my fingers crossed. 

My high-tech sun block for the tomatoes.
Big green leaves, yellow flowers and ripening tomatoes. Not too shabby!
Hmm, how quickly can I grab another leaf? She’s distracted by taking photos anyway…
But, ooh! Tomatoes. Love those things. Maybe I’ll just pick one for dinner.
Got one! Woohoo!

But, when nothing but tomatoes came up by last week of September, I admitted green-thumb defeat. The squash and cucumbers no longer had flowers or even any green parts and the okra never did anything after an initial growth spurt. The tomatoes were ready, so I let Eliana enjoy picking them.

Woohoo! Another tomato.
Wait. That was too easy.
You mean I’m ALLOWED to yank them off their stems?
Well alright then. Bring on the picking!

And so, that’s how our garden grew. Or, err, didn’t really grow. We will try again next year! 

P.S. If you have any gardening tips, ideas or suggestions, please feel free to post them in the comments section below. Thanks!!


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