Greens Herbs See my garden and borders in various seasons. Seedlings - General health summer Vegetables

How’s Your Garden Doing? – Comparing Notes

It always seems advantageous to know how others are faring with plants that we’re growing in our own gardens – or with plants that we might want to grow in the future. It gives us that much more information (from the other person’s experience) to add to our base of knowledge. That can, sometimes, give us just the edge we need to help us be even more successful in our garden.

This year has been one of the most unusual I’ve experienced over my 36 years in the garden.

Cold temperatures that stayed around a lot longer than we’re use to here in Virginia, caused the demise of several plantings. Losses included lettuce under the plastic tunnels, all my big rosemary plants, and most of the great ornamental grasses that were on the property lines in the back borders. Visually, the loss of the grasses was a real downer.

Solanaceae Family of Veggies (Nightshades)

Although I did winter sow a few things in January, seed starting was later than usual for me. For example, I waited until April to start my peppers, tomatoes and eggplants.

Tomatoes are now looking great and growing like crazy, but they didn’t at first. It was just too cold for them and as usual they waited for conditions to their liking before growing.

July 1, 2014. Kale, tomato and onions.

July 1, 2014. Kale, tomato and onions.

Peppers and eggplants are evidently still waiting, because they haven’t grown much at all since transplanting to the garden. Usually, when conditions suit them, they’ll start growing and end up at 5 and 6 feet tall with an abundance of fruit. I’ve never seen them wait this long, so I don’t know what to expect.

July 1, 2014. Left to right: Russian Kale voluteer, two varities of lettuce, pepper about 6 inches tall, potatoes in next bed.

July 1, 2014. Left to right: Russian Kale volunteer, two varieties of lettuce, pepper about 6 inches tall (bottom right of picture), potatoes in next bed.

We’ve already had about 5 meals of potatoes. (Delicious! Nothing like potatoes from your own garden. They’re so good, that I won’t buy store bought potatoes, even in the winter.)

I had a good many potato beetles early in the season. Really surprised me, since I’d not had many for the past several years. After hand checking and killing for a about two weeks they disappeared and I’ve not been bothered with them since then.

July 1, 2014. Russian Kale, pototoes. In front is one stalk of lettuce and a magentaspreen volunteer that needs to come out.

July 1, 2014. Russian Kale, potatoes. In front is one stalk of lettuce and a magentaspreen volunteer that needs to come out.


Lettuce has been great. Numerous varieties. Have almost every stage of lettuce in the garden from bolting (the oldest) to fresh and new (the most recently planted). Still sweet. Have two containers of newly-germinated lettuce to transplant.  Will plant it in a shady spot and will water it in with rain water from my rain-barrels.

Russian Kale (Brassicaceae)

To my delight, the harlequin bug has not made an appearance yet. I have had those little worms that I think come from the white butterflies on the Russian Kale, but the damage has been insignificant.

Spinach, Beets and Chard (Chenopodiaceae family)

Spinach was great, but long gone.
Beets took their time growing, but most are looking great. Added a new Italian heirloom beet to my varieties this year and really like it. It’s called Chioggia. Very sweet as well as beautiful.

July 1, 2014 Beets

July 1, 2014 Beets

July 1, 2013. First time this year for this beet. Very sweet.

July 1, 2014. This year is a first for Chioggia beets in my garden. Very sweet.

Planted several varieties of chard here and there throughout the garden. Still small, but I think it will do well by the fall.

Young chard. Potatoes bed is to the left. Weed coming up by the chard I didn't see when Bill took the picture.

July 1, 2014. Young chard. Potato bed is to the left. Weed coming up by the chard (on the right) I didn’t see when Bill took the picture.

Had a beautiful and delicious chard (don’t know the variety) in the garden last fall that substituted for lettuce during the winter.  It’s seeding  now and I’m in hopes of saving some of the seed. Seed is still green, so I’m assuming it’s not yet ripe.


When asparagus started this spring we were starved for fresh vegetables. Had a fresh salad with fresh asparagus (sauteed in olive oil until tender) every night for almost 8 weeks.  (If you don’t depend on your garden for your meals, you may not relate to that.)

Long story short: our beautiful big asparagus have been reduced to smaller spears because of invasive roots from a forest of monster trees that was allowed to grow on a neighboring property in recent years. (It’s a long story for another time.) Bottom line is, since I don’t have room for another bed of asparagus, I’ve started growing it from seed in a spot here and there throughout the garden and throughout my borders. I like the results so far.

Cukes, melons, and squash (Curcubits)

Had some spaces in my borders, mainly because of winter losses (the grasses), and took advantage of that space by planting cucurbits which I didn’t have room for in the garden. I planted more of that family than I usually do. (4 varieties of cukes, 2 varieties of butternut, melons, and yellow squash) Made an agreement with myself in advance that if the squash bugs showed up in numbers that I couldn’t handle, I’d pull up some of the plants.

July 1, 2014. These cucumbers were planted where a large ornamental grass use to be. You can see I have replanted the grass which will take 3 years to mature. In the meantime, it's a great spot for cukes.

July 1, 2014. These cucumbers were planted where a large ornamental grass use to be. You can see I have replanted the grass which will take 3 years to mature. In the meantime, it’s a great spot for cukes.

I check at least once a day, if not twice. I’ve found squash bugs on most of the plants thus far, but not many. I can’t be sure of course, but I’m attributing their low numbers to non-too-hot temperatures and an adequate amount of rain. (Until this week anyway.)

If you’re a regular reader you know I’m not set up to water. Thus, my guess is: once the temperatures go to the hot and humid 90s and especially, if it doesn’t rain, the plants will become more stressed and that’ll signal more squash bugs. (If you don’t know how plants signal bugs please be patient please. I’ll write about that in detail when I have more time.)

We’re eating cucumbers and the vines are loaded with them.

July 1, 2014. Another spot I like to take advantage of is the outside ends of my garden. The soil there is great. Last year I planted tomatoes there.

July 1, 2014. Another spot I like to take advantage of is the outside ends of my garden. The soil there is great. Last year I planted tomatoes here.

We’ve had several meals with yellow squash. Really good.

July 1, 2014. These yellow squash plant are in my border where I lost some ornamental grasses to the winter. They are right on the property line.

July 1, 2014. These yellow squash plants are in my border where I lost some ornamental grasses to the winter. They’re right on the property line. The red is Monarda (bee balm.)

Melons must not like conditions because they look sorta puny-looking to me. Time will tell.

Butternut looks fabulous.  I have several small baby butternuts on the plants about 4 inches long and I planted late.

July 1, 2014. Butternut in border.

July 1, 2014. Butternut in border.


Strawberries were great! Not only were they abundant and delicious, but the plants hardly had any of that
leaf spot that appears when the crop is about finished. The plants have already renewed themselves after being cut back.

Our Sunshine blueberry bushes LOVED the cold winter. They’ve given us the nicest blueberries we’ve had in all the years they’ve produced for us. The new bushes, Chandlers, are doing great. The huge berries they produce cause Bill and I to act like a couple of kids when we check the bushes each day.

Blackberries are coming in and are bigger and more delicious than ever. I keep my blackberries in my fence border out front. They add to the beauty of the border and are convenient for snacking.

Most of the canes that were to bear a spring crop of raspberries were lost to the cold this winter. If we don’t have a long period without rain, we should get a nice fall crop.

The existing growth on the figs was lost to the cold (so we won’t get a crop of figs this year), but lots of new growth is coming out. That’ll bear figs next year, assuming the cold is not too severe this coming winter.

Garlic and Onions

Neither did as well as I had hoped. Probably the “leanest” year I’ve had with onions in 35 years.

Garlic, I think, was in the wrong place. Anyway, it didn’t like it. Looked fabulous until June and then started to rot. Pulled it early and saved maybe 50% of it. It may not store well.  But we eat a lot of it and it’ll probably be gone with a several months.

Onions – not enough to suit me. (Most folks would be happy with the number I have, but we eat a lot more onions than most folks. )


I only have a gallon in the freezer to go into winter. Very poor germination again this year. I’m desperate enough to try again in the fall. The results of course will depend on the weather.

Hakurei Turnips



Just a few in the garden.  Will plant in August for a sweeter fall crop.


Planted earlier than usual in 5 spots. 4 spots nothing germinated. 1 spot had partial germination and am hoping for beans.

Planted again a while back. The bed of limas is looking excellent.  The other bed of bush beans is looking “iffy.”


From left to right: Russian Kale, lettuce bolting, beet green, first planted beans that germinated (center top), limas, onion, lettuce going to seed.  Taken July 1, 2014.

I’ll plant again in July.


Enjoyed radishes for two months.  As of this week, they’re over until the fall crop.

Various Herbs

Have parsley everywhere! I use a nice sized bunch everyday chopped in salads. (Parsley plants from last year are seeding.)

Lots of thyme from winter sown starts.

Mexican tarragon. Started from seed, winter sown. Still small.

Planted lots more rosemary. Just can’t live without it.

Cutting celery from last year is going to seed. Starts from this year are still small.

Sorrel – growing, but not as quickly as I’d like. (Sorrel from last year is seeding.)

Magentaspreen and Malabar – growing. They reseed every year.  I just keep one of each plant as backup in case I run out of other greens. Both are considered spinach substitutes.

Cresses growing. Great green for fall/winter especially.

Arugula. Lots of it. (I’ll tell you one of the ways I use it in the garden in a future post.)

Cultivated dandelion. Lots. (I’ll tell you an unusual use of it in the garden in a future post.)

I can hardly wait to have a simple potato salad with fresh dill. Nothing is like “fresh” dill!

July 1, 2014. Left to right: stalk of radish seeding; potato, parsley, dandelion, dill

July 1, 2014. Left to right: stalk of radish seeding; potato plant, parsley, dandelion, and dill.

Basil is just about  everywhere and more is ready to transplant. (If you want an elegant and delicious appetizer that is quick to fix: Slice a fresh tomato. Puts cubed mozzarella cheese on top. Sprinkle with a handful of chopped fresh basil and drizzle with olive oil.)

I seeded borage all over the garden.  Finally, have it coming up.  You can use it for a cucumber flavor in salads.  But it’s particularly wonderful mixed with various greens, tossed with olive oil and then roasted. (After the greens are roasted, give them a couple of shots of balsamic vinegar.  Really delicious!)

Final Thoughts

How’s your garden?  I hope you’ll share your experiences in the comments section below.  I’d love to hear how you’re doing.

Wishing you great success in the months ahead!

July 1, 2014. This doesn't have a things to do with garden vegetables, but these daylilies were so beautiful I wanted to end the post with them.

July 1, 2014. This doesn’t have a thing to do with garden vegetables, but these daylilies were so beautiful I wanted to end the post with them.


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  • This year we have gone all out with ground cover mainly leaves around all our vegetables. Like you the cold weather lingering then turning hot caused us not to have a great cold weather crop of beets, lettuces, and cabbage. Cabbage is just beginning to head really well and I hope the hot weather doesn’t stop it.

    We really are grateful for the input about ground cover. Just yesterday my husband tried to till the ground that nothing was planted in and it was brick hard. Right beside it where we have our okra planted he said the tiller sank down in the dirt because the leaves kept the ground soft. He says he is a believer now.

    In my raised beds everything is looking great; using ground cover there also. I have patio tomatoes in raised beds and 100 plants of German Johnson and Big Boy in the regular garden. Got onions, beans, sage and parsley in the raised beds also. In the regular garden with leaves all around them are cukes, cantaloupe, watermelons for the grandbabies, and squash and they are doing great. Already eating cucumbers and squash. Thanks for your gardening advice. It is really appreciated.

  • I read your book last winter and spent late winter and early spring redigging and mulching several rows in my garden. That area is producing my best garden ever! It was cold and I planted late but I’ve harvested lettuces, green peas, carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic, lots of cucumbers, and french green beans.

    I have lots of green tomatoes but no ripe ones yet, peppers and eggplant are just sitting there doing little. Sweet potatoes are also languishing–I think something is eating it?! Also they are in a part of the garden that I didn’t get to in my redigging–next year! I planted wormwood amid my cabbage and it is doing well, but the broccoli looks awful. It grew to a monstrous size under netting but never made heads, so I removed the netting and now it is riddled with worms. I’ll be pulling it up.

    I have melons, squash, corn, black-eyed peas, and more green beans coming along. I feel this year I have had more successes than failures and am grateful to YOU!!! I will definitely be working on the parts of the garden I didn’t get to yet next year.

    I mulch with composted straw and goat manure from my goat sheds and use some woodash from the wood stove. I also used a foliar spray of fish emulsion on my corn a couple of times–meant to do it weekly.

  • Theresa, my peppers are also not growing as quickly as usual. Eggplant sat there for a while doing nothing but finally took off a couple weeks ago and is about 3 feet tall. Tomatoes are doing great. My melons seem to finally be taking off this week. Cucumbers also doing great.

    I have not seen any squash bugs yet. I did see one flying vine borer, and wrapped my best summer squash in pantyhose and foil. Wondering whether I should remove some of the lowest leaves so I can wrap higher on the stem.

    New this year – rodent issues. I think they are voles, since they have the clean quarter-sized exit holes. I have tried mouse traps but no luck so far catching any. There are also raised tunnels in the lawn, do voles do that? There are no dirt mounds, just raised tunnels that feel squishy and the grass disappears above the tunnels.

    Most frustrating – I finally had a zucchini begin to produce! You may recall that in prior years they always succumbed to the borers before producing. I planted transplants earlier this year rather than starting from seed in the garden so that is what I think made the difference. However, some critter got in there a few days ago and ate the whole growing tip overnight! It was a mushy mess right up against the main stem. The next night it ate the last 3-4″ of every zucchini on the plant. I have chicken wire fencing surrounding the garden. I have also had issues with something munching my chard and other greens. I think it must be squirrels. Need to figure out what I can do about that.

  • Hi Theresa,
    Thanks for another great post. I have a question about Henderson Lima Beans. My beans have a stalk that shot out of the middle of the plant. It looks like the plant wants to climb. Do these need a trellis?
    Thank You,

  • It is always interesting to see how much farther ahead your Virginia garden is from those here in Illinois. I bought a soaker hose this spring and hired a plumber to fix an outside faucet near my garden. Since then, it has rained at least 3 inches each of the past 3 weeks! My garden weeds are very vigorous. Potatoes are doing well and should be ready for harvesting soon. Onions look great though a few of the store bought sets have bolted. Those I started from seed (Copra) look beautiful. This is the first time I’ve started onions from seed (thanks to you). Cucumbers, zucchini, and acorn squash are just getting started. I killed my first squash bug last week. They are usually horrible in my garden. Beets are trying hard to flourish. Lettuce and swiss chard are doing well under my shade cloth set up. Peas are done but were sooooooo good. Cabbage, broccoli, and brussel sprouts are showing signs of cabbage worms and I will spray with Thuricide when it stops raining. My tomatoes and peppers and basil are all in one section of the garden and all look pathetic. The tomatoes are finally looking a tiny bit improved, are flowering and setting fruit, but I’m worried about sunscald. The peppers are just not growing. The same is true of the basil. Large planting of buckwheat is flowering and section with oats is about 12″ tall. Both of these areas are planted in these cover crops for the season. Every 4th of July, I write a “State of the Garden” entry in my garden journal. I also keep a list of things to do and not do for next year’s garden. It’s helpful to refer to these lists when planning the next garden. That’s my report from rural Will County, Illinois. Happy 4th of July, Theresa. God Bless America!

  • Patricia, leaves are just THE best thing you could use for a ground cover! Great that you have that many to use. Keep it up. Results will get better and better.

    When you have time, I’d love to hear more about why your husband was tilling. I especially was curious as to why he would till this late in the season and why he would till soft ground that had been covered. If you could elaborate, it might help me write a post that would be of help to many about the draw backs of tilling.

    Betty, I was very glad to hear that after putting the information I gave in the book to use, that area is producing your best garden ever! It will get better and better with each passing year if you just continue to add organic material.

    One suggestion: careful with the woodash. Woodash has phosphorous, potassium calcium , boron and some other elements BUT you can easily upset the balance you are working towards. When you add anything like that, it’s always best to know if your soil really needs it. Otherwise, you can have bad results or good results. It’s a toss up unless you really know.

    A friend gave me a closed bucket of wood ash about 4 years ago and it’s still sitting in the garage unopened. I just don’t want to complicate things for myself, so I don’t use it. I just keep adding organic materials to my soil and rely on nature to do all the balancing for me.

    Your composted straw and goat manure is a GREAT way to go!

    Heather, I hope my eggplant will finally take off like yours did.
    I liked your idea of removing some of the lowest leaves on the squash in order to wrap the hose higher on the stem. Most of the lower leaves die off anyway.
    Moles leave the raised tunnels. Voles do not. Voles however can use the mole tunnels.
    Sounds as if you might have squirrels (or a groundhog?). In either case, do everything you can to get rid of them. Once they get started you’ll have nothing but trouble.

    , I can’t remember where I read it last year, but Henderson Lima Beans can sometimes produce some vining plants. It’s usually a small percentage of what you plant. Mine did that last year. I didn’t have a trellis for them and it was NOT a problem. However, I think I may push some sticks in the bed this year for them to climb on if they send those vining stalks up again.

    Mary, it’s wonderful to be able to water your garden when necessary and I know you must be excited about having water close by. I remember you ordered my book and I hope you read carefully the part about watering. It will help you get better results.

    Congratulations on the beautiful Copra onions from seed! Way to go Mary!

    From my post, your comments, and the emails I’ve received it sounds like this year thus far, is not to the liking of peppers and eggplants in particular.
    Also sounds like squash bugs haven’t thrived either.

    Things will change again I’m sure. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the good points and just make a mental note of the bad points.

    Thanks for the great garden reports. Hope more will be added!

  • Hi Theresa,
    We are growing broccoli for the first time and it’s starting to form broccoli heads. I’m very excited about it. And our potatoes look really good. I think the deer ate all our snap peas. We’re going to put them in a better spot next year. I think our garlic will be ready to harvest in a few weeks. And we have started enjoying yellow squash and zucchini. It’s going to be 100 degrees this week. The grass/mulch we’ve put down is really helping to keep the moisture in the soil. Your book and blog is really motivating for me. Thank you, Megan

  • Great report Megan!
    And yes, mulch really does help keep the moisture in. Coupled with lots of organic matter in the soil to hold even more moisture, it can make all the difference. The thicker the mulch the better.

    So glad that my book and TMG are helping to motivate you. Results will increase with time as all things are cummulative. So with constant additions of organic materials and covering your soil, you’ll see things get better and better.

    Thanks so much for the report! Tell your Mom I said Hi.

    PS. Let me know how the brocolli does. If the 100 degree heat lasts, it may not have time to produce. I sure hope it will because it is very exciting to see it produce.




  • Sounds like we’re in the same boat Ray, even though you’re in Canada and I’m in Virginia!
    Thanks for posting.

  • Hi Theresa,

    I tried to get a good picture of my garden, especially my beautiful onions! I wanted you to see how great they are growing. All from seed. Thank you so much for your tremendous guidance.
    I am having several disappointments, such as, the gophers ate 75 % of my potatoes. The slugs ate 15 tomato plants, the mice or rabbits ate all of the cover crop I planted. The crab grass is still winning the invasion of the garden.
    But, I am persistent, and I will keep planting, trapping, weeding, and enjoying what produce I can salvage.
    It is somewhat bitter sweet to read that there are others with some of the same issues I have encountered.
    Thank you again for the step by step instructions for seed starting. It worked wonders for me. I go around collecting milk jugs now.


  • Toni, I can hardly wait to see your beautiful onions! Congratulations!
    And congratulations too on your great attitude in spite of the horrible disappointment caused by critters!
    Although I don’t know what to do about gophers other than trapping, I definitely would get some Sluggo or Escargo and put it out for the slugs. (Also read my posts on slugs.)
    I can’t imagine mice eating the cover crop, but I can imagine the rabbits eating. If they did, it may grow back since they usually graze.
    If you’re persistent (as you are), you will win over the crab grass.
    And yes, I know what you mean about bitter sweet to read that others are having the same issues. It is comforting to know that we’re not in it alone and that others are dealing with the problem too.
    Send those pictures. I’m looking forward to them!

  • I love your updates and especially the photos. Thanks for posting this. I am in Northern Virginia and tried peas for the first time. I didn’t get as much production as I hoped, but like you, I will try again in the fall. I also planted onions for the first time (you inspired me) and they are doing well. My peppers look just like yours. I am waiting for the growth spurt. I have been frustrated with the pests on my zucchini in past years, so I am trying Trombocino this year (supposedly less prone to the pests). I also like that I can trellis it, since I only have a small townhouse garden. So far it is doing well.

  • Hey Julie,
    Congratulations on the onions!
    And yes, squash bugs are about the most frustrating thing in the garden!
    I’ve grown Trombocino. It’s a beautiful plant and strong grower. It took over a big space.
    I did find (and killed) squash bugs on the plant, but not too many.
    Let me know what you think after you try it.
    Hope we’ll both have a good crop of peas this fall!

  • Bill – Your photos are fantastic. Just fantastic!!
    Theresa, would you leave a volunteer squash (winter) that seems to be a striped butternut shaped fruit? Its taking up a lot of room in my yard, and I have no idea where it came from. Nothing’s attacking it, but I’m afraid I’m giving it real estate and it won’t be worth it. On the other hand, it could be something great. I keep asking myself – what would Theresa do? Would she take her sickle to it, or let it live???

  • Sandra, whether or not I’d leave a volunteer squash plant depends on how hungry I was. 🙂
    Any squash with the same genus and species names will cross pollinate. For example, the Waltham butternut is Cucurbita moschata. If you had pumpkins or another winter squash last year with that genus and species name, they could have cross pollinated with your Waltham variety. The volunteer is probably a result from that cross. On the other hand, if you only had one variety of winter squash last year, the volunteer might be the real McCoy (in other words, a Waltham.) That would be a bonus.
    In any event, it just depends on how much you want to experiment.
    Let me know what happens!

  • Hi Theresa! I love looking at your pictures and reading about how your garden is doing. 🙂 I have 6 tractor tires for raised beds, 4 for veggies and 2 for flowers just for fun. I kept it super simple this year and did tomatoes and pepper plants. I used the wire cages I used last year but braced them better and thought if those tomato plants overtake these again I’ll get the bigger ones. It was such a lovely surprise last year and again they have grown twice as tall already so another great year for the plants. I keep my efforts super simple (a little too simple when I dont keep up with weeding) but I just dig up soil from under my cold compost pile and fill in the tires a little more and then mulch with straw after a good rain. Love it! I also found lots of volunteer tomato plants, so am tickled even though Im afraid of overcrowding. We’ll see how it goes, couple showed up in the nearby grass, haha. Anyway thanks again and take care! Alicia

  • Hi Theresa,

    You have great garden diversity, and with that requires much knowledge, and so I enjoy reading each post. And your pictures are great too. I believe in leaf mulch also, but didn’t have enough, so went and bought a bale of straw. I don’t think they harvested the oats from it , because I’ve got a weedy garden now with what appears to be grass, but I know it’s oats. I’m in Iowa and it will be a few weeks before I dig garlic, but for now it looks fine, so you’re probably right. Location is very important. Thanks for your garden reflections, and try Marvel or Miragreen peas for great germination.

  • So glad you enjoy my posts Randall. Bill (my husband) takes all the pictures. I appreciate that so much because I think it gives a greater understanding of what is being said in the posts.

    Sorry you got seed in your straw. It can happen and often does. In past years I’ve had straw (wheat straw) that had seed and it germinated all through the garden. Fortunately, it’s easy to put up but none of us needs another task. My source for most years is a farmer I’ve purchased straw from for over 30 years. He knows what he’s doing and when to harvest and bale, so I seldom have problem.

    I’ll try Marvel and/or Miragreen next year as well as other varieties. I use to grow Marvel on a regular basis many years ago. I remember trying Miragreen, but also remember their not doing well for me. I’ll give it another try. Appreciate the suggestion because I want to try everything I can.

    Good hearing from you!
    Thanks for commenting.

  • Theresa,
    Thanks for the post. I always enjoy them. My garden hummmm….. The Peas were good. I still have a lot of 1st year wood chips I am growing in but some 2nd year composted chips as well. Cabbage not so much… No heads. Broccoli I only harvested 3 small heads. Brussel sprouts have been slow coming on but look promising if they grow till Sept. they will do well. Eggplant was slow but now putting on some fruit. Bell peppers no comparison to last year they were prolific, most are less than 12″ but are putting on peppers. Potatoes I planted last fall and not much top growth but I dug up one plant and we had red potatoes. Waiting for more! Tomatoes are growing but many of the blooms have fallen off the Bonnie best were prolific till early blight took most of the foliage. We are getting ripe tomatoes now mostly Roma. Banana and hot peppers are mixed results a couple of plants doing real well but most are puny. The squash which did well last year not so much this year squash bugs again and some larvae in the stem. This garden has got me wishing my life away waiting for year 3 and 4 when the wood chips decompose and become a great covering. PS we had a hard frost May 15th which killed many gardeners’ plants fortunately I had early morning shade.

  • Hi Theresa!
    I am a ‘born again’ gardener! I have been working in a garden as long as I can remember and have always realized it’s something new every year! But when I read your book, it really changed my philosophy on gardening! I LOVE your practical, easy going, stress-free way of going at it!
    Last year was a bad year for my garden … I was just too busy to work in it so when spring came, I had my work cut out for me. Your calm way of explaining such a common sense way of going at it had me convinced that if I just took it ‘a row at a time’, it would be just fine!
    Well, even though I didn’t get ALL of my garden planted this year, what I did get in is doing fantastic! And the organic techniques you teach are finally paying off as I pick buckets of green beans with barely a bug bite! The lace wings and lady bugs are doing their jobs and the mulch is holding moisture and fertilizing the soil!
    I am enjoying harvesting lots of tomatoes, which are being made into sundrieds and I’m using your technique of roasting tomatoes for sauce 🙂 Onions are tied and hanging to dry, potatoes are hardening in baskets, basil has been made into pesto and in the freezer waiting to remind us of the wonderful taste of summer come January! I pick a laundry basket full of zinnias once a week to decorate our home and give to friends. I have some things planted later than usual … we’ll see how they do!
    So there’s your ‘report’ from Tennessee, where we are having an amazingly cool summer and still enjoying getting in the garden! My next ‘adventure is planting late summer crops … usually by this time of year I’m ready to be done, but your encouragement leads me on!
    Thank you SO much!
    Ann Marie

  • What a GREAT report AnnMarie! I loved it! I am so glad you found the book (and TMG) so encouraging.
    Sounds like you’ve done a great job in the garden this year.
    And now – we’ll march towards the late summer crops!
    Thanks for taking the time to give this great report.

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