My first year of vegetable gardening didn’t go quite as planned.
I had lots of early success, but when it came to the fall harvest, I fell sadly short.
I got a handful of tomatoes, but they never got much larger than golf balls. I left them on the vine, hoping they would grow, but most of them shriveled up and died.
I saw four small eggplants, and hoped they would keep growing, but I finally harvested them after the frost and tried to roast them, but they were just too small.
The carrots? I waited until the tops were 8 inches tall before excitedly pulling them from the ground… and got a handful scrawny little carrot bites.
The beans started off well, but I think I planted them too late, as they like the cooler weather. They wilted and scorched under the July sun.
I had several peppers start, and one got a decent size before falling to the ground, where some animal got to it. (Or perhaps the critter knocked it off the vine? All I know is it was just about ready to pick one day, and on the ground with gnaw marks the next.) But the rest never got very big, despite my waiting. At the end of the season, while removing the last of the tomato cages, I found two decent sized peppers – with gnaw marks. Damn squirrels.
The cucumbers and zucchini sprouts did very well on the driveway, but once I transplanted them into the ground, they really didn’t grow much. I had a couple squash blossoms, but no fruit.
Meanwhile, the cherry tomatoes and basil in planters along the driveway did very well, and the zinnias, begonias and nasturtiums out front thrived in their full sunlight.
So what did I do wrong? Plant too late? Reading labels, it sounds like I should have started these plants earlier, like late April or May, especially the cooler weather veggies like beans.
Not enough sun? I watched a couple days, and while the backyard definitely gets far more than the 0 hours of sun it used to, is 4 hours of full sun and another 1-2 of partial sun enough? The tomatoes stretched to reach the sun, but perhaps the lack of solar power stunted their growth.
Do I need to do more than just water and weed? Should I fertilize? Mulch? Use Miracle Gro?
So, gardening friends – help me out. Alternatively – does anyone have a good local CSA they recommend for next season?