This year’s garden was a massive failure and disappointment. I’m not saying this to whine about it. Really, it’s more along the lines of “What the $#@!??” and my ever growing frustration. I’ve had big gardens and small ones. I’ve had very successful ones and this one, not so much. It started well, but while a bunch of big green plants might be pretty, if they don’t provide the vegetables you plant them for, is it worth it?
Tomatoes are the primary reason I plant a garden. It’s true “there’s nothing like a homegrown tomato”, and the photo above notwithstanding (that was the garden’s best day, photo taken with my cell phone, sorry), my tomato yield this year was paltry. You might have seen the giant tomato I picked and posted on Facebook. I got about ten that size, but out of nine tomato plants I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect more than the 30 lbs of tomatoes I got when in the past I’ve gotten 90 lbs from 7 plants. Even the old standards, the Champions and the Celebrities did not do well, both yielding golf ball sized tomatoes. The highly anticipated San Marzanos, supposedly so good for sauce, were tiny and most had blossom end rot. It’s enough to reduce a girl to tears.
I don’t know what happened but other people in my area have experienced a similar sad garden year. Everyone has their theory; it’s global warming, this year it didn’t get hot until too late, planted too late, planted too early. Disease in the soil (but I used fresh, new soil). Too much water? Not enough?
The frustration also comes from the amount of work, water and expense put in for such a low payoff. It makes me want to give up. But when next year rolls around, I know I won’t. I’ll tweak it again. I’ll revise and plant because in the end, it is worth it, and maybe next year will be better.
How was your garden this year? Successful? Disappointing?
If you found yourself with an abundant garden, here’s some ideas of what you can do with the excess:
From seedlings (purchased):
9 tomatoes (brandywine, green zebra, yellow beefsteak, champion, celebrity, san marzano, and others)- Out of these only the Brandywine and the Yellow Beefsteak produced well. The others yielded undersized fruit with blossom end rot.
1 yellow squash- only about 4 sad, small squash
1 green zucchini-This one went crazy with more zucchini than I could eat.
6 Japanese eggplant-Lots of eggplant but they were so seedy inside they were almost inedible
2 Italian sweet peppers-ok yield, about 20 peppers
1 golden bell pepper-nothing edible
6 sugar snap peas-only a handful of peas, I think I planted these too late.
1 small watermelon-3 fruit, only one was any good. plus, 1 zucchini (color unknown, plant is a volunteer from last year)-nothing edible
From seeds (packets I already had):
lemon cucumbers (they all came up so I had to give some away)-one cucumber. I think this was because the plant got hidden under a zucchini
pumpkin (only 1 seed out of 20 germinated but it’s doing well)-3 pumpkins
green beans (none came up)
carrots (sprouted, then nothing).