I turned 30 this year and set a couple of goals for myself. My first was to lose weight and get healthy. My second was to improve our yard (we have never been good at caring for our yard. Its always filled with weeds and nasty. Lastly I wanted to have my own vegetable garden. I have never ever grown vegetables before. To be honest I’ve never grown flowers either, or anything really.
The first step in the gardening process was to find a place to put the garden. Our side yard has full sun and horrible grass thanks to oddly placed sprinklers. I decided this would be a perfect place. So I started digging up the grass by hand. Let me tell you this was not an easy task. After digging up just a few feet I started having that “I don’t want to do this anymore” feeling. But it was too late. Here is some pictures of what I lovingly referred to as “The Grotegut Bare Spot”.
I originally planned to sow the seeds right in the ground but found out I was planting too late to be successful with that. Next year I plan to germinate all of mine inside since those little plants are PRICEY! On may 16th I planted everything in the boxes. 13 tomato plants, 2 cilantro, and 17 pepper plants that included Anaheim, Garden salsa, Red, yellow, Fajita, and green Bell’s, Jalapeno’s, and hot Banana peppers
I dealt with some over water issues. I had no idea what over watering looked like so when my plants started to sag and look greenish yellow I assumed they weren’t getting enough water. Nope! Too much! So I cut back and didn’t hand water at all. Just relied on the sprinkler to do the work. The over watering stunted my peppers a lot. They didn’t grow much for the first 5 weeks. After applying magnesium to them they became healthy again. Then came the grasshoppers! Those little suckers are hard to kill. I tried so many different killers. I wanted to stay organic so I did Dio Earth, some organic killers made just for grasshoppers, and finally just sprayed the yard (not the garden box) with Sevin dust. That took care of it.
My sunflowers are by far my favorite thing I planted. I sowed them from seeds right in the ground. Same with my pumpkins which grew clear out into the yard. But because of overhead watering and a super hot summer I got Powdery White Mildew . I had no idea what it was at first. I thought my plants were just not getting enough water or it was just too hot. Then I went in to get my gallbladder out and my poor garden was neglected for a few weeks. When I came out to work on it I noticed the spots on my pumpkin plants and noticed one tomato plant was almost dead. I decided to trim off the dead branches and then used the same scissors to trim some weird branches off of all the other tomato plants. Thus infecting all of them .
After discovering the powdery white mildew I took action. I made a homemade fungicide and spent the next week treating them daily. I ended up pulling up all the pumpkin plants besides 3. Most of them had just small gourds on them that kept dying because of the mildew anyway. I wanted to try to contain it. I trimmed the infected leaves off the pumpkins plants I kept. I then pulled all the dead leaves off of all the tomato plants (well as many as I could) and treated them daily. My pepper plants were stunted but not too far gone to save. After a few days they showed improvement. I ordered more Neems Oil which is an organic fungicide. I treated everything (including our front tree, bushes, and flowers since they caught the fungus too) and they have been improving even more. They are all producing tomatoes again and so far every plant I’ve had has produced at least one vegetable. The pumpkins are improving. The mildew was preventing them from turning orange and now they are all turning orange! I’ve harvested a total of 22lbs of Tomatoes and was able to make 13 quarts plus 12 pints of homemade salsa!
Here is a photo of my garden today, almost 120 days into growing. Everything has yellowing leaves because of the mildew but its contained for the most part. I learned so much this year and i know next year will be so much more successful. I plan to even expand my garden out so I can plant even more. Who knew gardening could be so much fun?