Thursday, October 8, 2009

Goodbye, my lovely garden

The forecast calls for temperatures to dip below freezing this weekend, with a little bit of snow to officially put an end to the 2009 growing season. I had high hopes for my garden this year. I spent all winter fantasizing about the bountiful harvests I would grow. And while I did have some early success thanks to the abundant rains, I didn't have the refrigerator-busting harvest that I was hoping for.

I'm new to the whole gardening thing, and this year really taught me what grows and what doesn't in my little backyard. I discovered that green beans grow exceptionally well (too bad I don't like them enough to eat every day), and I should pretty much give up on growing any type of pumpkin or squash. Just too many bugs and fungi out there.

It's fun to look back at the pictures and see how my garden has evolved over the last six months. I started out with some sad-looking marigolds I bought at the Des Moines FFA greenhouse last May. I didn't think they would survive the overwatering they received from the students...

But, boy, did they grow. I've never had such bushy marigolds in my backyard!

The perennial garden I planted when we first moved into our house five years ago always surprises me. It changes every year, with some plants going dormant for a year only to return the next. This is how the garden looked in March, after the snow had melted...

...and this is how the garden looked a few weeks ago. The yellow coneflowers are from a Martha Stewart wildflower seed packet I planted a long time ago. The flowers keep migrating to different areas of the garden each year.

The impatiens I planted attracted hummingbirds, butterflies and bees to my garden. Plus, they kept blooming when a lot of other flowers in the neighborhood had faded.

I only had space to plant one dahlia this year, and it was a biggie. It climbed to at least 7 feet tall! I'm going to hate to see this flower freeze tomorrow night.

And here's the last of my garden harvest. I didn't get as many vegetables as I had hoped for, but there were a few red tomatoes and jalapenos that made an appearance at the end of the season.

It's sad to say goodbye to my daily bouquet of fresh garden flowers. They really brighten my mood when I get home from work.

Of course, I'm already reflecting on what I learned this year and making plans for my 2010 garden. My goals for next year include the following:

  1. Learn more about composting and set up a composting bin in my backyard.
  2. Focus on a few vegetables I know will work: cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes and lettuce.
  3. Add more color to my perennial garden.
  4. Tear up some of the lawn in the backyard to grow more vegetables and cut flowers. I would like to grow enough tomatoes and cucumbers for canning, without having to drive all over the countryside to find more.
  5. Plant hostas in the shady spots.
  6. Clean up my herb garden.
  7. Get over my fear of garden snakes. The little critters will always be there; I just need to get used to it!

With that, I bid a fond farewell to my lovely garden. Thanks for the joy you brought me this summer!


  1. Great pictures! Your harvest looks beautiful. Nice list for next year. You seem so organized to have such planning.

    I just can't seem to grow tomatoes in Florida, eggplanr either. This is a good time for us to start to plant some veggies, but I can't seem to find one that will do well. I do have a nice selection of fruit. Our bananas are about ready to pick, the only problem is you have to pick the whole bunch at once. You can only eat so many and it's not like you can make banana jam out of them. We also have papya and mango (but the squirrels get most of the mangoes)lemons and grapefruit.

    I love seeing gardens, keep us posted.

  2. Wow! You have banana trees! That's so cool! Everyone -- and I mean everyone -- has a tomato plant growing in the backyards here in Iowa, mostly for BLTs. We love our bacon here! I'm actually feeling a little down that my garden will be wilted when I wake up in the morning. Once it freezes, everything turns brown fast. But the trees are beautiful right now. I'm doing some traveling this weekend and hope to get some pics of the crops and trees, although where I'm going, the land is very flat with few trees. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Teresa, You've done a great job this year! I to am so sad that I'm going to wake up to a frost :( I'm excited to start following your blog!

  4. Thanks so much! Glad you found my blog. My garden doesn't look near as nice as yours. But I'm learning a few new "tricks" every year. Wish I had more time to do it all.

  5. Teresa, I liked this post - it is fun to see how everyones garden grows differently, we had loads of beans (which thankfully we love) and also grew sweet peas, lots of tomatoes, rocket (arugala?) and lambs lettuce.

    Over here we can pick up the used coffee grounds from Starbucks - they have them in bags ready to be picked up from the shop - these are great for the compost and also just to put in the soil.



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