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Vegetable garden successes and failures: Learning during lockdown

Vegetable garden successes and failures: Learning during lockdown-The Hot Mess Press

Like many people looking for things to do during the lockdown, my daughter and I decided to try having a vegetable garden this summer. It gave us something to focus on while the world was going crazy and would hopefully provide us with some fresh produce. We used a raised bed, garden bags, and some large flower pots. I had trouble finding seeds for the plants I wanted to grow since so many others seem to have the same idea and supplies were limited. Eventually, I was able to get seeds to grow squash, several types of tomatoes, salad greens, pumpkins, eggplants, and a few more things. Our garden was quite successful, especially considering the fact that we didn’t really know what we were doing. But we had some epic fails too. The important thing was that we both learned a lot this summer. Hopefully, our vegetable garden successes and failures have prepared us for next year’s growing season.

 Vegetable garden successes and failures: Learning during lockdown-The Hot Mess Press

Tomatoes, tomatillos, and lots of marigolds

Our little garden was a great producer of tomatoes. We had 4 different varieties and 3 of them did very well. Our cherry tomato plant produced through the end of September. The patio variety of tomato also produced a lot, even after getting frostbit early in the year. We had plenty of tomatillos which also continued through September. I used those, along with our decent yield of jalapenos, to make salsa. Our biggest success was probably our marigolds. I planted them in our vegetable garden because they’re supposed to help keep pests away. Many of them grew to be over 4 feet tall and had huge blooms.

Vegetable garden successes and failures: Learning during lockdown-The Hot Mess Press

Sad little melons and a poor squash yield

A lot of our vining plants failed. We tried growing cantaloupes and watermelons and neither did well. As you can see from the picture, we had a single watermelon that seemed healthy but never grew to full size. It tasted good though. Our cantaloupe grew to about the same size as the watermelon before the vine died. It wasn’t ripe and had no flavor. As far as cucumbers go, the vines looked great in early summer but dwindled away to nothing. We got less than 5 cucumbers in total. Something about the soil we used or the placement of the pots just wasn’t right this year. In my limited experience, squash varieties are some of the easiest plants to grow. But unfortunately, we had very few yellow squash and zucchini probably due to the squash bugs. Our butternut squash plant didn’t produce anything and we got one spaghetti squash from a huge plant. Our pumpkins also failed miserably.

This summer has been an interesting one. We learned a lot through our vegetable garden successes and failures. If you’re planning a garden next year, take some time to research the zone you live in and know what plants work well in your area. I’ve bought a few basic gardening books to read over the winter so we’re better prepared for next year. If you have limited space for a garden, I would highly recommend the grow bags from Amazon. They are affordable and work well for a lot of vegetables and herbs. You can also recycle different types of containers from around the house. When it comes to gardening, the best way to learn is to just jump in and try it.

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