Finally - on Fourth of July Weekend – I got my summer veggie plants nestled into my Square Foot Garden-style raised planting beds from last year.
I realize I’m totally late to this party. I mean beyond fashionably late. More like guests-are-already-drunk late. But not quite guests-are-already-leaving late, so that’s good, right?
Rewind: Here’s how we got to be such late bloomers.
During the spring, I actually planned ahead. Dozens of seeds were sowed in little seed starting cups that I’d saved. They flourished, and patiently waited for me to put them in the ground . . . until the week of the craft fair. *Cue ominous sounds.* When I totally forgot they existed, they shriveled up and died from dehydration – and maybe the ridiculous 99 degree temps. In the mean time, at least I had spring greens in my garden. Spinach, arugula, microgreens, mesculun were all carefully planted straight into the raised bed gardens right in late April.
By the end of May they had totally gone to seed, leaving this hot mess in its’ wake. Flowery, yes. Tasty, no.
I had to rip it all out and start fresh.
But then the strawberries, which majorly disappointed us last year, came back with a vengeance – and gave us some sweet, juicy fruit to enjoy in May and early June. When I remembered to pick them, that is.
After all of this, I thought maybe I should just skip the gardening this year. I mean, a girl can only do so much, right? I’ve got my hands more than full with my shop, this blog, a full-time job, and a few consulting projects. But as the summer heat set in, and the days got longer and longer, I felt myself wanting just a few veggie plants, if not an entire farm. There’s something so great about walking outside and picking fresh tomatoes in your own yard.
So I bought a few plants at Home Depot. Not ideal ,because they’re not organic – and frankly, Home Depot appeared to have stopped watering all their veggie plants -though they were still charging full price for them – lame! I picked the best tommy-toes and pepper plants I could find, and got them planted ASAP. (I have a bad habit of buying plants, then not planting them for days, and then they die. Waste of money!)
Also, taking a page from my Lessons Learned in 2010 Gardening book, I immediately stuck my tomato cages around the young plants. If you’ve ever tried to do this with a more mature plant, you’ll know why this was important. It’s nearly impossible to add the cages after the plants get long and leggy.
Next, I added some basil and marigold plants around the perimeter of the garden box. Supposedly they will deter pests which normally like to munch on tomato plants.
Ahh, basil. I can’t wait to harvest you this weekend! When I’m ready to use some leaves, I like to chop it way down, so it becomes bushier and bushier, instead of just being one or two stems. I gotta get the most bang for my buck!
So that’s the how and why we’re late bloomers this year. Since we’re in good ole’ Virginia, I think we’ll still be able to enjoy a good tomato harvest. They usually go well into September up around here.
What’s the state of your garden? Or lack thereof?