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the end of summer gardening

Emily Oster


This past weekend I did some much needed gardening. I pulled out our cucumber and bean plants and planted two kale plants and four lettuces. This marked the end of our summer gardening and the beginning of our fall planting so I thought I would do a preview of how things ended up.

The cucumber plant did amazingly well. It started producing at the beginning of August and continued up until the end of the month at which point it died in just a matter of a few days. I am not sure if this is "normal" but I am going to assume it is since it was done bearing fruit. All and all we probably got 30 cucumbers. Next year, I plan to give the plant more room to grow (most vertically - the bird net got in its way this year) and plant it away from the other plants as it blocked out sun from surrounding plants.

Cherry Tomato:
Our cherry tomato plant has had its biggest yield just this past week. My friend told me that they tend to explode with ripe fruit and that is exactly what happened. I think we will have roughly two more weeks of picking and maybe total a pound of tomatoes. Next year, I will give the plant more space to grow (it got huge!) and will also probably plant some other varieties as it would be nice to have tomatoes for slicing. 

Green Beans: 
These were a complete failure. We planted six and they produced absolutely no beans. My guess is that they didn't get enough sun. I don't think I will be planting any next year.

Green Pepper: 
Our green pepper plant has been a bit of a mystery. It has looked healthy all summer and has grown to about two feet tall but it just hasn't produced. We got maybe three small peppers from it and it still has a few buds on it but I am not sure what really happened. I might try these again next year but perhaps a different variety.

Our four strawberry plants are alive and waiting to be transplanted. They never really yielded but I think thats because I got them in the ground too late and we had a relatively cool and very wet early summer. Hopefully, they will make it through the winter and produce for next year. 

The basil did ok - not great. I think it was too wet early on and then I didn't water it enough as it got hotter. In the middle of July, it started to get almost wood like at which point I basically just let it die. Next year, I am going to keep a closer eye on it and plant more than just one.

The dill plant did well. I let it flower and seed which kills the plant (I didn't know this). Then I dried the leaves and seeds so know we have our own dried dill. Next year, I will plant more and let some flower and others not. 

Parsley and Chives: 
I sort of forgot about these two. I planted them in a leftover container and placed it on the front porch. I don't think they got enough sun or water so while they didn't die until just recently they also didn't really grow. Next year, I plan on having a designated herb garden and plan on being more attentive.

Lavender and Sage:
These two got nibbled on by a furry creature (or bird) twice so they never really grew. However, both are still alive and slowly getting bigger. Again, next year I will hopefully have a designated herb garden and will not be so neglectful. 

So all and all I am going to say my first season as a gardener was a success. I enjoyed the process, learned a lot and got to eat fresh vegetables from my own garden. Next year, I would like to expand the garden and have maybe a 10' x 20' plot and use our 3' x 5' container just for herbs. I have no idea if we will have the space, resources or time for this but I am hoping we will. I also would like to start my plants from seed (all organic, non-GMO) and use my own compost. In the meantime, I will be nurturing my kale and lettuce plants and will keep you all posted with how my cold season harvest progresses.