Reworking the Vegetable Garden-Lessons Learned


“Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.” 

  ~Wayne Dyer

It is hard to imagine that summer is almost over especially with the hot temps so late in summer this year.  But it is harvest time, and I hope to see more veggies in the late season garden.  This year I planted more veggies than in years past, and I planted for a late season harvest as well.  Of course we added another raised bed and more containers and grow bags.  But I am still in an early learning phase with my veggie garden.  I find I have a lot to learn to help better my harvest.

But as the season is ending, it is time to assess this year’s veggie garden.  And what better way than to join [email protected]PlantPostings for her Garden Lessons Learned meme.  I promised a good look at the beds, and how they were arranged through spring and summer.  You can see what my plans were back in early spring, and I pretty much stuck with these plans.

Before I begin though, I thought I would look back at my Seasonal Celebrations mantra for summer.  Little did I know that these were going to be such perfect words to heed this summer, and were the reason I remained sane and hopeful.

“Whatever the present moment contains, accept is as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it. Make it your friend and ally, not your enemy. This will miraculously transform your whole life.” ~ Eckhart Tolle



1.  Friends are necessary in the garden.  

Pollinator friends that is so I plant my veggies among the flowers so the pollinators will be bountiful.  You can’t have veggies without them.



2.  The right companions are important, but planting in the right place under the right conditions is just as important.

Here is the new bed that we planted with peas and radishes in early spring (top left).  Once the weather warmed in May (ugh April was freezing), I planted eggplant, okra and beans (top right).  Peas grew as did okra and beans (bottom row), but they all shaded the eggplant which we ended up growing in bags.  Growing the peas and beans on the same trellis was also a challenge.

So for next year, I have decided to turn the trellis to face North so it won’t shade so much.  I will also add a bean tower and plant bush beans only in this bed.  As always I plant radishes throughout the garden with lettuces under cover in early spring replacing them with warmer veggies like beans later.  I also plan to use planting plastic in rows with okra, peppers, tomatoes and eggplant as I move them to the bigger tomato bed.  I have learned from our local farmers that with our unpredictable spring, the plastic helps keep the soil warm for these heat lovers.



3.  Never be afraid to reuse, replant or redo

These bags grew potatoes successfully, and they were harvested in mid August.  So what to do with the grow bags once they are empty?  Well I topped them off with more organic potting soil, and promptly planted lettuces and carrots in one bed, and kale and beets in another.  Look how much they have grown in a couple of weeks with the heat.  I am amazed and looking forward to more harvest in September.



4.  Experiments can be fun.

I created a berm for the pumpkins to see if they would grow if I gave them room and sun.  The weeds grew but so did the pumpkins albeit not as much as I had hoped but that was due more to the heat we had.

But my big change for this area will be where the current strawberry patch is behind the pumpkin patch (where the weeds meet the fence).  The berries will be moved and the area turned into a raised bed to accommodate lots of garlic and onions.  Then there will be more room in the main raised bed (currently where we plant garlic every year) for early veggies and more tomatoes.



5.  Hot air is beneficial, but by God we need rain too!

This is the first and main raised bed.  Garlic grows here all winter (top left).  Then I add radishes, carrots, beets, collards and spinach (top right).  Once these are done, the tomatoes and basil goes in with sweet peppers (bottom pictures).  Once the garlic was harvested, I underplanted with carrots, onions and radishes for a late season harvest.

Now the tomatoes and peppers adore hot weather, but they struggled this year.  So I had to add lots of fresh organic soil, Epsom salts and fertilizer all season due to a lack of rain although we watered every day.  They really like the rain water that gives them a deep soaking, and isn’t laced with chemicals like our tap water is.  Maybe next year we may use some drip irrigation with the tomatoes (if we have another dry summer) as they like their roots watered not their leaves.




6.  Mountains can be made from anthills.

This back bed is shaded some especially in summer so it is perfect for those cooler veggies like lettuces and other greens.  They did pretty good through July although other seeds like the beets, some radishes and carrots did not grow, ended up being moved, growing too deep or not deep enough.  So what happened-ANTS.  They have a kingdom in this bed and they love moving seeds.  So I have to wait until the bed is finished producing to take care of these ants as the organic treatment requires dry ground.




7.  Start from scratch or seed.

It is so much fun to watch a giant vegetable come from such a tiny seed.  I enjoyed starting all my veggies from seed; some started indoors in winter and early spring and the rest directly sown in spring and summer.  I already started to buy seeds on sale for next year’s garden.  Don’t these look yummy.  I cannot wait.




8.  You can plan for anything and everything and it still won’t be enough.

Blight still comes, plants die and we just chalk it up, learn and move on next year (OK we cry a little too).  This is my veg garden in mid March.  March was so warm (like May temps) I actually planted colder veggies under cover. If April hadn’t been so cold it would have been a bumper crop.  As it was, the veggies didn’t grow until a month to 6 weeks later, and some had to be replanted.




Failures really are nothing more than successes learned through experience!! ~Donna Donabella



Come Join Us:

I hope you will join me for my Seasonal Celebrations meme.  And it seems so appropriate to collaborate with Beth and her Garden Lessons Learned meme.  What lessons have you learned this past season of summer here in the North and winter in the South.  Then tell us about your wishes, desires and dreams for this new season.

The rules are simple.  Just create a post that talks about lessons learned and/or seasonal celebrations.  If you are joining in for both memes please leave a comment on both our blog posts.  Or if you are choosing to join only one meme, leave a comment on that blog post.  Make sure to include a link with your comment.


Beth and I will do a summary post of our respective memes on the equinox (around the 21st of September).  And we will keep those posts linked on a page on our blog.  Your post should be linked in the weekend before the equinox to give us enough time to include your post in our summary.  And if you link in a bit late, never fear we will include it on the special blog page (when I get it done that is).

The badges here can be used in your post.  So won’t you join in the celebration!!



Next up on the blog:     On the 13th I will share a special GDDB as I celebrate my second blog anniversary, and on the 17th I will share another wonderful garden book.  Stay tuned for Seasonal Celebrations revealed on the 21st, and then at the end of the month I’ll share another favorite native wildflower.

I will be linking in with [email protected]Rambling Woods for her Nature Notes meme.  It is a great way to see what is happening in nature around the world every Wednesday.

I hope you will join me for my posts once a month on the 3rd Tuesday, at Beautiful Wildlife Garden. The next one will be on the 18th.

Please remember, to comment click on the title of the post and the page will reload with the comments section.

All original content is copyrighted and the sole property of Donna Donabella @ Gardens Eye View, 2010-2012.  Any reprints or use of content or photos is by permission only.

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