Disappointment & Lessons in Gardening, Year One

8.25.14 / tomato plants

My tomato plants are currently doing the best.

As summer’s end comes closer, I take a look at my garden and am, overall, pretty disappointed. While the growing season isn’t necessarily over, I think my garden’s time is done for the year. I didn’t get much more than a handful of peas and a couple of radishes. My tomato plants, plus a couple of carrot plants, are growing fine for now, but I’m not sure if anything will actually come of them; I think I started them kind of late, and it just might not stay warm long enough for any fruit to grow. I’m trying not to be too hard on myself because it was mostly a learning experience, being my first year with the yard garden, but I also know I really slacked off on it the last few months (and it’s not the only project that’s been suffering, either).

While this bed did the best at the beginning of the summer, it’s really fallen to pieces the last few weeks.

Plans and Goals for next year:

  • Don’t get lazy. Of course, this isn’t always predictable, and I certainly didn’t try to ignore the garden, but I did, and it came back to bite me in the end. There’s barely more than some wilted, dried up greens in most of the garden beds, and it’s kind of hard to argue against it being mostly my fault. I just wasn’t a good plant mama this year, that’s all.
  • Go bigger. Even when I started this year, I already planned on adding more beds next year, and now I’m thinking about a variety of other vegetables I want to add, especially squash, cucumbers, and pumpkins. I also want to go with at least one other kind of tomato (this year I did a cherry, I think). I’ll probably try again with the veggies that didn’t do so hot this year–spinach, radishes, peppers–and work on new approaches to each of them. I also think next year’s bed will probably be 8-10′ by 4′, and I also might add two more 4′ by 4′ beds. I don’t know yet. I have a lot to read and plan and think about.
  • Rearrange. I wasn’t quite content with the layout I had in the beds this year. I don’t think I used all the space to its potential, so on top of adding more beds, I want to take a good look at how I laid out the two I had this year and do a bit of adjusting and reading up on what grows nicely together.

And as a bonus, my other gardening goal for next year is to put a bee garden out by the front porch, along the walkway. I was hoping to get to it this year, but I didn’t actually know where to put it until recently.

Again, I’m trying not to be too hard on myself (and, in a bit of a trend, failing, because I’m just naturally hard on myself). It was my first year working on this, and I knew it was going to be learning experience. I just wish I didn’t feel quite so jealous when I saw other people’s harvests, but I guess that’s the chance I take following other gardeners on Instagram. It certainly isn’t keeping me from trying again next year, though. As you can see, my plans are already even grander, so I think maybe everything will turn out just fine next time around.


4 thoughts on “Disappointment & Lessons in Gardening, Year One

  1. Definitely don’t be hard on yourself! Gardening takes time to learn, and it can be super disappointing as you only have one window. If things don’t grow in that time, you’re done for the year which sucks. I definitely think you should continue next year! My first attempt was a total disaster, but I’ve been steadily improving since then. And now, some unsolicited advice you can feel free to ignore (as I am by no means a garden expert). 🙂

    Timing is definitely key. Peppers and tomatoes (broccoli too if you grow that) need to be started indoors, 6-8 weeks prior to garden planting. Since you’re in the same weather zone as me, I’d say start your seedlings inside in mid-April, that way by the first or second week of June, you’re good to plant. Carrots, lettuce, spinach, and radishes can all be started direct from seed in the bed, in June when you plant. I have no clue about squash – I’ve never grown them. I’m trying them for the first time next year!

    As for watering, I think under watering is better than over watering. I definitely had my tomatoes get the wilty look and then realized I hadn’t watered them in a week, but they bounce back with a good dose. So even if you forget them for a bit, still water them to see if they recover!

  2. My garden was a total flop again this year. I’m just awful at remembering to water and the scorching Texas heat just kills them. But I guess I will try and do better next year! Your little bee garden sounds amazing and cute and so you! I can’t wait to hear all about it!

  3. Aww i’m glad to hear you didn’t get too discouraged & have rad grand ideas for next year! I had all of these plans to have a raised bed garden with a variety of things but because of moving the time escaped me. I ended up with just some tomato plants in pots & my sunflowers didn’t make it–next year I will plan way, way ahead hah.

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