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I’ve had a number of people ask how my garden is going so I thought I’d  provide an update.  As I mentioned in my original garden post, we started off strong!  It wasn’t terribly hot and we were getting plenty of rain.  We harvested a ton of green beans, tomatoes, strawberries, lots of herbs, banana peppers and a lone jalapeño.  And then July came….

 

In Charlotte, 29 out of 31 days in July were above 90, with the majority of days in the mid-90s or higher.  Over the course of the month, we received just over a measly 1.5 inches of rain.   Shortly after planting, I set up a drip hose watering system.  When we were home, I would water the plants twice a day, in addition to the drip hose, which turned out to not be nearly enough to keep these plants happy during the intense summer heat.

I learned a number of lessons from this garden experiment:

  1.  I planted wayyyyy too much!  As I mentioned in my first post, I wasn’t sure what would grow – if anything!  Turns out, we do get enough sun.  The zucchini and cucumber completely overwhelmed the various types of peppers we planted.  Overall, our containers were too full!
  2. Water, water, water!  I need to figure out a better watering system.  Because of where the faucet on our house is, I had to run a 30 foot hose to start the drip hose.  I don’t think there was enough pressure to adequately water these containers.  I need to price out having permanent irrigation from our sprinkler system installed.
  3. Tomatoes really grow!  Next year, when I plant, I need to go ahead and add tomato cages to the young tomato plants.  The tomatoes took off and trying to add a tomato cage after the fact is hard work!  I ended up breaking or damaging a number of branches.
  4. Green beans (or any bean!) need a trellis!  I was hoping I could prop the beans up on the tomato cages but it didn’t seem to work.  We harvested a ton of green beans but I bet we would have ended up with twice as many if the vines had room to grow.
  5. I need to do more research to understand what plants compliment each other in containers.  This year was a big experiment with little planning or research and I definitely got the results to show for it!

For the rest of the summer, I’ll be relying on my farm basket and the farmer’s market for fresh organic fruits and vegetables.

I’m planning which fall/winter veggies to plant.  Anyone have any suggestions?  I’d love to hear it!