The Potager

The Potager

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Hits and Misses

While I have been enjoying the fruits of my labors this summer,
I'm still not at that master gardener type garden stage. One issue is time. This has been a crazy busy summer for me. And there's that working full-time thing. I have so many plans for each weekend that the garden suffers. Another thing is the oppressive heat. Day after day of 90+ temperatures, no real "rainy days", just intense thunder and wind storms that flood the garden and knock over plants. However, I'm thankful we have those when I see the photos of drought ridden gardens in parts of the country. But there have been things in the garden that haven't gone right.

My tomato plants are turning yellow then dying by the branches. They are still producing tomatoes, but they look awful, like it's October.  But a few varieties are not being affected by this. The Ramapo and Juliet tomatoes are fine. I don't know if it's from the tree roots are were in the soil (hubs dug down with the back hoe and separated the roots from the tree to kill them off) or from the Sunflowers being in the same bed or just the weather or insects. I don't have the time to really figure it out. I raised all the plants (except the Juliet) from seeds.  So I know it's not a nursery thing.
The giant sunflowers were a hit this year. They are so amazing. Next year they will go outside the garden. Hopefully we will still have polite deer that do not venture into the backyard. Deer will eat young sunflowers. I need to cut some heads off to harvest the seeds. One of our biggest joys to observe are the goldfinches that are happily feeding off the flowers.
My vision for the flower bed under Heartstrings was a mass of pink cosmos. 
I'm not happy with the mess I ended up with. This is really my fault. I didn't thin them enough. But I won't do Cosmos here again. I need a tidier plant.
But the Zinnias in the Perennial/Herb garden is another story. They were put in because I didn't have enough perennials to fill out the bed.
But I absolutely love them. They are attracting butterflies and more goldfinches, who come and rip off the petals to get to the seeds. They will make an appearance in my garden next year for sure!
I decided to grow Marigolds from seed this year. I planted Burpee's Best Mix, 12 inches tall.
And some are. But some are 3 feet tall! I may go back to buying marigold plants. Burpee's made a mistake in their mix! This was a real miss in my book. It looks awful.

Planting more squash in July was a hit for me. My older plants are still producing, but not as fast, and I've never had them make it through August. The new ones are just starting to give me squash. I love summer squash. Hubs does not. But he eats it just about every night. Poor thing! 
If I can squeeze in some time, I'm going to try freezing some squash slices this weekend. I hear it's pretty easy. I already have leftover grated squash in the freezer from my zucchini bread baking. I have loved the white scallop squash. Just for it's uniqueness. And for it's ability to suddenly appear in a squash plant that didn't seem to have any the day before. Can you find the white squash?
Yes, the plant has gone through the fence and I found this squash in the perennial/herb garden!
I don't know if they aren't getting enough sun here or if it's the heat, but the jalapeno is not performing as stellar as it did last year. I may not have enough to make jelly. This will disappoint a lot of people. I have a long list of requests for jalapeno jelly.

I think my onions look great. I tell that to hubs and he says "That's one bag of organic onions. $1.29 at the store. Was it worth the space it used all summer?"  He doesn't always get it.
This is my first time ever growing sweet potatoes. They appear to be growing at the roots out of the soil! I hope there are more below ground getting big and sweet. I do love sweet potatoes!
And this is not in the Potager, but I want to remember this for next year. It's a Mandevilla on my patio and I love the height, color and smell it brings to the grayness of the patio. This is a hit. Even though it's been too hot to really sit out there most days.
Hits and misses, lessons learned. The best thing about a garden is you get to start from scratch the next year and correct all your failures and repeat all your successes.

"It takes a while to grasp that not all failures are self-imposed, the result of ignorance, carelessness or inexperience.  It takes a while to grasp that a garden isn't a testing ground for character and to stop asking, what did I do wrong?  Maybe nothing. " ~Eleanor Perényi, Green Thoughts, 1981


  1. It's been a difficult gardening summer for sure with all the extreme heat! I am so impressed with your squash. All of mine died off before even putting out female flowers.

    I love looking at your banner picture -- the garden is so beautiful. Will you do something with your center focal point through the autumn/winter?

  2. Thanks for stopping by, Diana. Yes my squash continue on, much to my husband's dismay.
    In the fall I'll pull out the Cosmos and put in mums. I have Gerbera Daisies in the center with the petunias, but they stopped blooming when the weather got hot. I'm hoping they'll bloom for the fall.