Summer Garden 2014-What’s Growing?

Every year when I plant a garden I have grand hopes and dreams for all the sweet and juicy tomatoes, fragrant basil, earthy eggplant I envision will come from my labors. I see myself traipsing down to the perfectly tended raised beds with a sun hat on, lovely basket in hand, gathering my urban farm-fresh produce and making delicious, healthy meals a la Martha Stewart.

Don’t you?

(cue the movie scratch-screech sound)

Reality is often somewhat different, isn’t it?


This year when preparing the beds for planting I forgot the sun hat and got sunburned. Two of my big gardening tools broke apart in my hands as I was working, the hoe and the pitchfork, making the mixing of soils extremely back-breaking work. Often those lovely tomatoes I anticipate shrivel, blacken and die on the vine before harvest due to blossom end rot. Bugs and raccoons destroy plants before they even set. It never quite goes as planned, does it?

But still, we gardeners persevere, don’t we? (Can I get an “amen sister”?)

Why do we do this? Because when it works, it’s glorious. There is nothing in this world like a just-picked, truly vine ripe, tomato.


Unlike last year, this year I decided to use all of my available garden space. This is what I planted; six tomato plants of varying size, age and type, one eggplant, regular and lemon cucumbers, lots of basil and other herbs, yellow and green zucchini, butternut squash, and seeds for broccolini and puntarelle (an Italian bitter green). The plants are mostly organic and cost about $75 total. That sounds like a lot, even to me (and I chose them!), but I’m hoping they yield a lot more than $75 would buy at the farmer’s market. If you’re curious, a few years back I tracked my results and a similar garden yielded 177 lbs of produce.

Garden 2014, early April planting.

What are you planting this year? What are you looking forward to the most?

Garden, late April.


  • Suzanne Smith

    I’m looking forward to the farmer’s market. Now that I’m cooking just for me and a veggie-averse teenage son, I have no excuse for expending tons of water and energy on an enterprise that I don’t enjoy and that carries a high risk of failure. Seriously. I envy people who like to garden, possibly in the way that people who don’t knit envy people who do. But I’d just as soon pay some deserving organic farmer for my weekly salad and veggie fix. I hope yours does well – I’m sure you and David will be far better caretakers than I am anyway.

  • Karen

    Yes, it’s that time of year! It’s like buying a lottery ticket – you don’t know the results yet, but you’re already planning how to spend your winnings. Just a note on the blossom end rot. I had that problem out here in Colorado and a gardener friend told me to add a little bone meal to the bottom of the hole when planting the tomatoes. I’ve been doing that for years now, and have no further problems with blossom end rot. Except for the one year when I forgot the bone meal. Cheers, and thanks for all the great recipes and cooking tips.

  • Donna

    Planted eggplant, tomatoes, jalapeño ,pablano,red,green,yellow peppers, green bean (which rabbit loves), sweet corn (hope this holds out in hot Texas sun) spagetti, delicata, butternut , yellow squash, cucumbers, peas and various herbs…but thanks to you, I now have an awesome recipe for spagetti sauce! Come on tomatoes! We by no means have a green thumb, just nice to figure out what you are having for dinner in your garden verses what is down the street that you can drive thru…

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