This Article is About
how to start a vegetable garden
epsom salts
liquid fertilizer
pepper plant
tomato plants
yellow squash
green beans
bell peppers
How To Start A Vegetable Garden - Update
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How to Start A Vegetable Garden  -  Update

It has been five weeks since I completed my 30 Day / Article Challenge - How to Start a Vegetable Garden.

If you haven't been reading my blog, you have missed out on a lot of triumphs and struggles. So, let me catch you up on the last month in my garden.

Make sure to check out my blog posts for more details on these stories about my garden. You will find a link to my gardening website in my Street Articles profile.

Rabbits and Deer

After a week in the mountains, my family and I returned home to a garden that fared well while we were gone. However, that night at dinner I glanced out the window to witness a rabbit biting through my pole beans! While I chased him away momentarily, he returned overnight to chew through 10+ of my green bean plants, leaving me with only 3.

One week later, deer hooves and plant damage was reported by my neighbor, whose garden is only a few yards away from mine. Deer have not been seen in our neighborhood in 15 years, yet here they were eating bell pepper, banana pepper, and tomato plants.

Then it was my turn. Deep deer hooves in my raised bed and a few green beans and peppers missing from my garden proved that he HAD found my garden as well. We had very little damage - only losing 3 green beans, a very small amount of one pole bean plant, 1 or 2 little bell peppers (thankfully I had picked all the ripe ones that morning), the tops off of one bell pepper plant, and 1 jalapeno. I'm wondering if eating the jalapeno was what caused the deer to leave my garden without damaging other plants.

Struggling Plants

For the first month they were planted, my yellow squash and zucchini did not grow. It wasn't until I hit them with a double dose of liquid fertilizer and epsom salts then stopped watering them, that they began to show some progress. While I have lost one zucchini plant, I am happy to report that I picked my first yellow squash today and I have at least one more growing. The plants have grown large and are beginning to take over that side of the raised bed. I'm glad I didn't give up on them and pull them out!

As I discussed in my most recent blog post, my broccoli and cauliflower plants have never produced crowns. I am assuming it is because we had a much warmer spring than normal. In my extreme optimism, I let them continue to grow well past the normal harvesting date. I continued to hope I might find a crown some day. I have finally given up hope and I am now researching recipes to use the extremely large broccoli leaves and two feet of broccoli stalk. Not sure what I will be doing with the cauliflower stalks and leaves, but I will be inventing something!

When I planted my pickling cucumbers in seed starter pods, I didn't expect 100% germination. I ended up with 20+ plants, which made me dream of the many jars of pickles in my future. Knowing cucumbers need a lot of space to grow, I chose to plant most of them in Strawberry Topsy Turvey planters. While many of the plants did not grow much in the first month, they did produce many male flowers which provided encouragement to me. We now have 4 pickling cucumbers growing and hopefully more soon. I actually picked my first one yesterday. So my question to you is - what do I do with one pickling cucumber?

My Garden

I have learned a ton from my garden this year. There are so many things I want to try differently next year and I thank all of you who have given me guidance throughout the season. I am picking a lot of tomatoes and peppers lately and greatly enjoying the Peppers Casseroles I have made with them. I look forward to the day where my entire meal is homegrown. It won't be long!


Street Talk

Epsom salts?! Interesting. Thanks for your update. Whoops - broccoli and cauliflower never produced crowns huh? Warm weather at the wrong time's a good likely culprit. Glad to read your "my garden this year update" today as it snows around me;) Good job. Kudos for the epsom salt creativity.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

How many pickles are turning up in your cupboards today? :-)

Reply
  about 6 years ago
  

Cynthia, my pickling cucumbers did awful this year. We ended up with a few very strange sized pickles and they were only 1 or 2 here and there, to the point that it wasn't worth pickling them. Next year, I'm buying pickling cucumbers instead of growing them - so disappointed I did get to can any!

Reply
  about 6 years ago

I enjoyed reading this and I am trying to figure how to grow at least some food on our sailboat where we live...It is quite a challenge for me but I am going to persevere..i will be reading your 30 day challenge next...thanks

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Enjoying your articles about gardening very much AJ and learning a lot about the ups and downs of it. So great that your pickling cukes are growing! They are not that easy to find (buy) where I am. You can slice that cuke and salt it and in a day or so you will have a light pickled cuke!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

I love spending time in the garden but the work just never seems to do done does it. I thought as I read your article that garden are a lot like life, always something needing to be done. A lovely read. Congrats on your 30 day challenge. I am just starting out there. Day 3 today I am writing on how to raise your vibration for love

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Thanks for the update! Pinned

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Have a small green house where tomatoes, lettuce, spring onions radish are growing. There is nothing tastier in my opinion than a fresh cherry tom taking off the vine and popped into the mouth. Nice article must try and get other items growing.

Reply
  about 7 years ago

I can't wait to start doing my own garden, I am so sick of the garbage you get from the stores.

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

Agreed. Garden to table is the way to go. If it can't be from you're own garden, I encourage all to buy from local farmer's markets. The taste and nutrients can't be beat!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

I can relate. I haven't had opportunity to garden for many years. This season I dug up some extremely rocky soil and made a raised bed with sifted soil and compost. There are plenty of deer around here. I am one of the few people with a vegetable plot that isn't surrounded by 8' high fencing! I make a spray with onions, garlic, cayenne and a bit of veggie oil and soap to make it stick. I have seen deer in my yard, but they haven't had at my garden. At least not yet. Here is hoping, I don't want a fence. The garden is thriving, looks like a jungle!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

I love the sound of your homemade organic spray. Could you share the ratios and would you mind if I included it on my blog to help others as well? I'd be happy to provide a link over to your website for author credit!

Reply
  about 7 years ago

Sounds like a deal AJ. I'd love to do a guest post for your blog. I sent an email to your site.

  
  about 7 years ago

I enjoyed this article. it's been a few years since I've had a garden but I remember well the damage form the critters. You can't beat the flavor and nutrition of the vegetables from a backyard garden. Liked and Tweeted

Reply
  about 7 years ago
  

I agree, John. Thanks for visiting!

Reply
  about 7 years ago
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