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My Garden...

Earlier this year I shared my frustrations with gardening, I have had a garden for most of my married life with the exception of the summer we moved here. Last summer was my first go at gardening on this new (to us) land and despite lots and lots of hard work we really only saw meager results (you can read my woes here). This summer my results have been about the same, but we've done far less work (because I didn't plant nearly as many crops). In this area of the world (Eastern Carolinas) the summer is hot, muggy, and filled with mosquitoes. I can't run a bucket of scraps out to the compost without coming back looking like one of my children has spotted me with a giant pink marker, no matter what kind of store bought or homemade bug repellent I have slathered or sprayed on. This means that time outside in July and August are minimal. There were times this summer that my backyard looked more like a wild jungle than anything else.

I think our gardening success is because this year we prepared our garden beds early, in March. We spent a weekend rearranging our cinder block garden beds and moving dirt in between cold spells. Then we planted on time for a change. Because we did so much of our prep work in the cool weather it was far less sweat and toil on our part, making me a happier gardener. Our little transplants were a bit trampled by our dog so we did buy some. We also bought our tomato transplants just because they had done so well for us the previous year.

Somehow zucchinis do not do well in my yard, we got only 1 this year. Watermelon vines grow exceptionally well, but the fruit never appears, and squash just plain doesn't like us. We didn't bother with potatoes this year (sweet or otherwise). Green beans were plentiful. We ate tons of tomatoes this summer, although we didn't grow enough to preserve any. Surprisingly cucumbers grew well this year, I had enough to pickle and toss in an abundance of salads. The two things that made this growing season feel particularly successful were the abundance of berries (strawberries and white raspberries) that we planted in 2013, they are now producing and filling our bellies and my freezer. And the 2nd success was surprise corn and sunflowers that grew around the chicken coop (from their feed).

I did not plant a huge variety this summer. I tried to keep it as simple as possible and plant more of what I knew would grow and what I have read over and over again "should" grow in this area. I saved a bunch of items that I have previously attempted for a fall garden. This fall garden for the first time isn't a vague hope it is reality. I spent this past weekend pulling dead plants, organizing seeds and beds, and planting! I am halfway through planting a fall garden. We had a couple of not-quite-as-unbearably-hot-and-humid days so I dove in and began (too bad we are back to unbearable again). The best part of this fall garden is that it is free (using seeds we already have) and not nearly as much work as putting in the summer garden. So right now I am excited and hopeful. I love looking at my bare ground knowing that miracles are taking place just under the surface. I love looking at the tree limbs my husband carefully stacked and filled with dirt; rustic, natural, and free! And even though I am excited about the possibilities of a fall garden if it doesn't work out at least we aren't losing any money and are enjoying the process of creating an opportunity.

I am thrilled to be excited about gardening again. I am pleased with the way our summer garden turned out (although I really do want to grow zucching someday!) and I know going forward we will eventually be able to truly produce our own food.

Linking Up at: An Oregon Cottage Tuesday Garden Party! Kelly the Kitchen Kop's  Real Food Wednesday

She Eats Fresh Food Wednesday

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