facebook pinterest twitter instagram

Garden Update 8/20 ~ Reflections on the Year

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links which means I earn a small commission on your purchase. Learn more here.

My garden is still in full swing. I’m busy canning pickles my lovely friend keeps bringing by and tomatoes and freezing broccoli. I’ve got more kohlrabi and swiss chard and kale than I know what to do with. And yet, I’m planting more!

Last week, I added more carrots, more peas, spinach, and {I’m trying} to grow zucchini again. A few seeds in the ground doesn’t cost me much. I’m not sure if the growing season is long enough still, but what the heck, eh? I’m determined to beat those dang squash bugs once and for all… I’m also planting garlic soon.

In addition to planting more seeds, I’ve been reflecting quite a lot on the successes and failures in my 2012 garden thus far.

The Successes…

blankBlack Aztec Corn! Despite a super dry beginning and a later storm that knocked a lot of my corn down, I have a ton of these gorgeous black ears! Aren’t they pretty? I can’t wait to make corn bread with them for chilly fall days.
blankAnother success: 17 kale plants. Yes, you read that right. 17. For the record, THREE would have been more than plenty! 😉

blankThis success isn’t necessarily related to my garden, but it’s right BY my garden. The barn we moved to our property several years ago and have been restoring on and off ever since, has come a LONG way this summer! In fact, it’s almost finished. Can’t wait for the big reveal in a couple months when it’s all done.

blankAnd this picture is just too cute not to include. This is my 8 year old kiddo – on her first solo tractor driving excursion. SCARY! 😉

The Failures…{or ways to improve for 2013}

blankMy tomatoes are producing really well, but somehow I ended up with too many cherry tomato plants. Not quite sure how that happened. They taste good, and I’ve been adding them to all of my sauces, but oh my. What a pain to pick. We would have been happy with half as many cherry tomato plants and more romas! And, all of my tomatoes are planted too close together. I have a hard time maneuvering in amongst them. Finally, I didn’t get my big tomato baskets in the ground very securely and they fell over. I have a really hard time keeping the ginormous tomato plants upright! Next year, I need to pay more attention to how many of each type of tomatoes I plant {and which ones die off and what they are replaced with}. I also need to give them more room and work hard to make sure all of the baskets are securely in the ground {before the plants get too big}.

blankPole beans are much happier if they actually have something to climb up… Gotta make that happen next year. 😉 {Or plant bush beans instead…}

Other reflections – next year I need to get everything planted earlier. I got a nice jump start on my really early plants, but my main garden planting went in too late. A lot of it was eaten by squash bugs and cucumber beetles, and I’m not sure my potatoes are going to produce well at all. It was just too dry in the middle of summer and I didn’t do a good job of keeping my garden watered. I’m going to try to have my garden 100% planted by mid April next year, unless the weather doesn’t cooperate at all, and then I reserve the right to change my plan… 😉

What’s going on in your garden?

Linking up: Monday Barn Hop; Tuesday Garden Party; Fat Tuesday; Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways; Eat, Make, Grow;

SimplifyLiveLove is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

About Michelle Marine

Michelle Marine is the author of How to Raise Chickens for Meat, a long time green living enthusiast and rural Iowa mom of four. An avid traveler, Michelle has lived on three different continents and has driven all four kids across the entire USA (by herself!). She loves sharing farm-to-table recipes, their family travel adventures, and gardening and homesteading tips on her popular lifestyle blog, SimplifyLiveLove.com.


  1. blankAnnie says

    Your garden looks great!

    We still have a few tomatoes, a couple of watermelon, a few peppers and some chard. But, we just planted another round of green beans and will very soon plant some more lettuce, radishes, turnips, etc. So we are far from done yet.

  2. blankJenny says

    Your garden looks beautiful! We are in the process of moving out to our acreage but we still want to have a fall garden. We’re a bit behind but we do have a pretty long growing season here and if we use hoops with our raised beds we should be able to grow our greens right on through the winter. I set out our tomato plants yesterday along with some boxwood basil. I’m getting ready to set out a zucchini, a cucumber, some cabbage, brussels sprouts, and broccoli as well as peas, lettuces, beets, chard, shallots, garlic, and onions.

  3. blankLisa Lynn says

    Hi! I just found this post on The Garden Party 🙂

    I’ve been going over what worked and didn’t work so well in my garden this year too! I love the corn…gorgeous color 🙂 My tomato supports didn’t hold up either…they are all sprawled out and hard to pick.

  4. blankAnne says

    What pretty corn. What are you going to do with all that kale? My family would rebel if I cooked all of that!

    Stopping by from the Garden Party.

    • blankMichelle says

      Most of that kale is just sitting there growing bigger every day. We have made some yummy kale salads, I’ve made kale chips, and have talked about flash freezing some leaves for use in smoothies and soups but haven’t done it yet. I’ve also given an absolute TON away!! 😉 I love it in salads. Next year, I will not grow so much. 😉 Thanks for stopping by!

  5. blankDee @ Start Dreaming says

    I learn something new about gardening EVERY year! It’s fun and frustrating at the same time. You will love being able to review back over these posts before planting next year and make those changes you were talking about.

    We hate picking all the cherry tomatoes too… even if they are oh so yummy! HEHEHE! I only have 2 plants this year and they are taking over everything in their area. Crazy plants!

    Take care!

    • blankMichelle says

      The cherry tomatoes {and kale} are my nemesis this year… 😉 I really wanted grape tomatoes but didn’t find them in plants. Next year, I will start my own. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. blankAthena at Minerva's Garden says

    Hi Michelle: You have got a super productive and lovely vegetable garden–wonderful! It sounds like you learned a lot from your gardening experiences this year. I do learn something new every year from my garden as well, but there are so many variables when it comes to gardening. I try to do what I can each time around to make things better, but the insect pests and weather always keep it interesting!

  7. blankBeth says

    Your “failures” seem to me to be more about lack of time than true crop problems! I think it is next to impossible not to plant too much of something – tomatoes especially!

  8. blankmjskit says

    Some of your comments made me giggle. 🙂 17 kale plants!?!?! You’re right – 3 would definitely have been enough! I can’t believe the size of your Swiss Chard! Package some of that and send it to me would you? All in all your garden looks AMAZING! I’m so jealous, envious, and inspired!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *