End of summer garden update

Summer officially ends in a few hours, which made me realize I haven’t really talked about my garden since June. I’m calling this my “practice year”–for having no clue what I was doing, my garden did pretty well in its first year. Next year I’ll remember to fertilize much more often, be a little more on top of the weeds, and not be afraid to thin things out. The folks at Peterson Garden Project also deserve a lot of thanks for answering a ton of questions and saving my tomatoes!

How did your garden do?

June garden in full swing
First real slicing tomato
Wall of peas
Purple tomatillos


  • Tomatillo de Milpa (purple tomatillo) – These did fantastically. I learned they need heat to actually create fruit to fill in the husks, but even with our cold summer, I got plenty to grill and snack on.
  • Borage (recommended to attract bees) – Got huge and borage-y? The flowers are pretty and apparently excellent in a Pimm’s Cup and I did see bees around them.
  • Radishes – Breakfast radishes did great! The other two varieties I planted were more greens than radish.
  • Blue Lake bush beans – Great! I only planted 4 plants, which netted me about two big handfuls of beans, so next year I could plant more.
  • Sugar Snap pole peas – These were one of my favorites! Great raw or lightly cooked, whole or shelled, I could have eaten a whole bucket. Plus the  were pretty and they looked so cool climbing up their trellis.
  • Lettuce – Grew great, but I needed to thin these much earlier than I did. I never really got heads of lettuce.
  • Herbs – Parsley took a while to get going, but is doing great now, same with my chives. Thyme and oregano shared a pot on my porch and did really well (though the oregano started to take over the thyme).
  • Ground cherry – This was a surprise! Not sure if it came back from last year or an errant seed, but I discovered it among my failed cucumbers. Glad I didn’t pull it up thinking it was a weed!

Lots of cherry tomatoesBasil and beansPeasMortgae Lifter, RIPJuliet tomatoes. No word on Romeo.


  • Tomatoes – Wind did in my Mortgage Lifter before the one tomato had a chance to ripen, but my Mexico Midget and Blondkopfchen both did well considering my terribly lax fertilizing schedule. I also planted three other tomato plants in my plot and four in pots on my porch. The ones on my porch (a Crnkovick Yugoslavian, Arkansas Traveler, Green Grape, and Brandysweet Plum) did better than any of the tomatoes at my garden (probably because they got a bit more TLC). I’d plant all of these again.
  • Basil – I needed to trim this back earlier and more often. When I did finally cut it all back, it didn’t regrow that well. The pot on my porch did better (though I’m realizing basil is a big baby–I brought it inside last week when it got cool at night and it’s grown like crazy since).
  • Mint – I don’t know how I managed this, but it just got leggy instead of growing a lot of leaves. Another case of needing to be more aggressive with my pruning?
  • Peppers – Jalapeno did really well, even though I left them on the plant long enough they turned red. Got two (very tasty) sweet red peppers, but that’s it. Just noticed I have four more flowers, but not much hope I’ll get any before the garden closes for the season.
  • Strawberries – I got a few nice little berries, but I heard strawberries do better their second year.
  • Eggplant – One wee little eggplant.
  • Onions – One silver-dollar sized onion and a few little baby onions.
  • Kale – Grew great, but I just never ate it.

Porch tomatoesFail

  • Cucumber – Oof. Planted from seed, I think I got some mildew thing that did these all in.
  • Mixed swiss chard – Got about 2 inches tall and crapped out. Not sure what I did wrong here.
  • Cilantro – I think I didn’t buy a good plant to begin with, and then the ants did it in.

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