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Oh the hope I was filled with when I dreamt up and planned a vegetable garden. I was sure that by midsummer, I would have a lush garden full of edible abundance.

Instead I have some of this going on. 


 

Awful, isn’t it? I am a lot less discouraged than I probably should be. These plants still produce food even in their sad state, and it’s only the tomato plants that are really suffering. To me, that spells some small measure of success for my first year while doing everything wrong.

I wouldn’t suggest growing a garden that looks like this and expect it to be wildly successful, but it is a wonderful example of what can happen even while struggling to learn the skill.

[This post is a long one with the 3 week hiatus between updates. Grab a snack and take a few minutes to learn how it may be possible to grow your own even when you think you can’t!]

The poor, sad, crippled plant on the left, pictured above, is one of two Red Robin dwarf tomato plants that we bought not knowing what they were. They are dinky, produce all of their fruit at once (determinate vs indeterminate that produce fruits throughout the season), and then are done for the year.

These teeny tomato plants have been on a downhill slide since in my care. Somehow, they still produced quite a few tomatoes and the fruit continues to ripen on the stems. We harvested about 15 tomatoes to date and the rest of the fruits will be ready to grace our table in the next couple of days. That’s much earlier than most people in our area!

All 5 of my tomato plants are fruiting, but I will be hacking off – gently and strategically – the weak areas of my 2 Romas and Santa and planting them this week according to the instructions from Love Apple Farms.

For those of you who have been following my adventures for awhile, I swear I will have the soil prepared and everything planted by this weekend. I am finally fed up with my procrastination!

Tomatoes are often the first food people try to grow. I think there are better options, especially for people who are grow-challenged. Yes they taste lovely, but they are prone to too many issues when you are a brown or black thumb gardener. If you are gardening organically, it’s even harder. What a way to begin and end a promising growing career! Start with the easy stuff instead.

GROW SUMMER SQUASH OR CUCUMBERS.

[That’s one of my cucumbers!!!]

I cannot believe how impervious the cucumbers are to my abuse. They are magnificent and almost grow before your eyes. Hubby said we must have gnomes that replace the plants each night with larger ones.

If you have the room, grow one of these. Challenged for room? Hit up Google or Pinterest and take a look at the amazing things people do with vertical gardening. This article has a beautiful example.

I promised to share my trellis efforts with my Facebook readers, so I’ll add that one in too. Have you joined us on Facebook yet?

Lady Farmer’s Garden has a lovely woven pea trellis I found on Pinterest and thought would be the perfect solution to tame the cucumbers taking over the garden real estate. They overpowered the bamboo stakes and were again crawling through the dirt and grabbing on to whatever was nearby.

I love the idea that this trellis can be composted at the end of the season instead of having spent vines that need to be scrubbed or burnt off. If I had to do that, I promise you they would still be there the following spring.

Okay now before you get a good look at mine, go take a look at hers…I’ll wait for you.

Done? Good. Here’s my attempt.

It’s okay. You can laugh. It looked better in my head.

Again, the cucumbers don’t care about my shortcomings. They’ll climb my trellis as well as one more pleasing to the eye.

The strange Michigan weather has also made my lone little red bell pepper plant happy. I think. Is it the right size? I should probably know that.

There is some type of bug mowing the leaves down that is making it less happy. You can see that the leaves are not faring so well in the picture. I’m going to find a good herbal concoction to make and spray on the leaves of all my plants to discourage the beasties. Still, the plant is growing food!

If you have a hot spot that gets a ton of sun, TRY PEPPERS! There are so many varieties to choose from that one is almost guaranteed to please some palates in your home.

The ultimate goal here is food.

Put aside your perfectionist ways and start experimenting. Try some herbs. Get some potted mint to make fresh tea with. Grow some thyme or sage to throw artistically on a roast chicken and impress your friends. Or jump right in and get some veggie seedlings! Just be sure to water whatever you choose to grow well as I recently learned.

You have nothing to lose.

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This post is part of Fat Tuesday, Tuesday Garden Party, Anti-Procrastination Tuesdays

 

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