Garden Update

The garden has been a huge disappointment so far this year.  After two years of harvesting 100 pounds each summer I had big expectations this year, but it is not to be.  We have been plagued by problems.  Mostly of the small furry tunneling variety.  The gophers are back and they have moved into the unprotected beds by the house.  I’ve lost a few lettuce plants, two shallots and there are threatening mounds in my strawberry beds and next to my best tomato plant.

I am frustrated and I’ve given up on those beds.  If they are lost, so be it.  I have other problems.  Lack of growth is the biggie.  The tomatoes I planted last month have done nothing.  Very little growth and no tomatoes.  I am not sure what is wrong, but I suspect it may be my soil.  The last two years I have used the 3 cubic foot bags of Kellogg Garden soil.  This year I bought raised bed mix in bulk from a landscaping company.  My veggies from this winter and spring did ok, but many did not grow well.  The carrots stopped growing weeks ago and they are puny.  The chard and broccoli seeds didn’t grow at all and the chard transplant I bought is still the same size as it was when I planted it a month ago.  Even my beans are languishing.

In an attempt to fix this I treated all the beds with organic fertilizer for vegetables.  Since then I have noticed a slight perkiness in the tomatoes, but nothing else.  I also bought a bag of Kellogg soil from Home Depot and am in the process of adding that to the beds in the hope that some new soil might get things going.  I’m also planning on buying a can of worms to let loose in my garden beds.  They always made a big impact in previous years.

I also made the mistake of buying compact determinate tomatoes and bush beans.  I usually plant indeterminates, which produce a bunch of tomatoes all season long, but I wanted to try something different this year.  I am really unsatisfied with the determinants and the bush beans.  I hardly have any tomatoes at all and the plants are really small.  Much smaller than I would have expected.  I don’t know if it’s the plants fault or the soil.  The tomatoes I planted last month were indeterminates, but like I mentioned before they aren’t growing.  The beans are hardly producing.  I’ve gotten a handful of beans from about 10 plants in a month of time.  Not good.  Plus the bush beans are far less pretty then pole beans.

On the bright side I have a new container herb garden for less than $20.  I got the pots from target on clearance for about $4 each.  The herbs were $2 each.  I planted one pot of tea herbs and another of cooking herbs.  For now they are livening up the front yard, but we may end up moving them around a bit until we find the right spot.

The second bright spot in my garden are the blackberry bushes.  They are ALMOST ready!  Maybe another week or so and I should be able to get a handful at least.  Right now all the ripe ones are out of my reach.  So frustrating!  But, in a couple weeks and I will be swimming in blackberries and probably covered in scratches.

I’m hoping I’m just being impatient with the tomatoes and that things will pick up over July and August, but I wont come close to 100 lbs this year.  I won’t even get half that.  For now all I can do is fix what I can and keep going.

Gopher lesson learned.  Soil lesson learned.  Hopefully nothing else will pop up.

Author: Melissa

I live in the high desert outside of Los Angeles in southern California with my 14-year-old daughter and my 6 yr old son. I love to help people, which is why I am a teacher! I find so much joy in helping others create a life they love. This little blog is about food. Growing it, cooking it and eating it! I hope it inspires you to try something new and stretch yourself!

3 thoughts

  1. Those are all the reasons my thumb stays “light green” – ha ha! I am so intimidated by the real DEPTH of knowledge that goes into gardening, by real gardeners. For example, determinate? indeterminate? What?! This is a mistake I could very easily make. Probably HAVE made, since I’ve not had such good luck with tomatoes.

    LOVE the herb pot for tea — and the one for cooking!!! Which herbs??!!?? I can’t tell from the picture and am so curious to know if you drink sage 😉 tea…..or, if it’s the other pot…are those chives?

    I am very jealous of your blackberries, by the way. Those are my favorite, most favorite, berry.

    1. I should have mentioned what I planted 🙂 There is sage, oregano, and thyme in one pot and lemon balm, mint, and lavender in the other. I have some chives in a different pot and parsley in the backyard raised bed.

      I talked to my neighbor who bought the same soil I did and she said her veggies were slow growing as well. I think it was crummy soil. The beds that have gotten new soil and fertilizer are looking a lot better already.

    2. I forgot to mention, I had a black thumb when I was living in the desert. After I moved to Santa Cruz I was looking up my gardening zone and checked my hometown in the desert. It said that it we unsuitable for growing much of anything! Too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. Too dry all year long. No wonder I had a black thumb!
      Since I moved up north it’s gotten much greener 🙂

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