Um… no, I didn’t forget how to count.
Yes, this is the month 5 update for our frugal garden.
No, you didn’t miss month 3 and 4. Somehow, someway, those updates didn’t quite happen. But you guys forgive me, right?
Lots has been happening in our little urban garden – both good and bad – so let’s get on with the photo tour, shall we?
Oh dear zucchini, you claim to be practically indestructable… that is, until you’re reared by a gardener with two black thumbs!
There were high hopes for the zucchini at the start of the season. Shoot, we were still going strong in month 2! But when month 3 hit, so did the bugs. Powdery mildew, squash bugs AND spider mites all took over my zucchini.
While we had plenty of bad bugs, we didn’t have nearly enough good bugs! There was a great lack of pollination, despite my best efforts with cotton swabs, so most of our zucchini was harvested like this:
That’s roughly 3-4″ long, with the ends starting to rot due to lack of pollination. At least, that’s what we think happened. Here are the biggest zucchini’s we harvested the whole season:
Next year, I plan to try a completely different breed of zucchini and not starting them from seed. Essentially, I’m following in my friend Maria’s steps who gave me three HUGE zucchini’s from her garden. I figure it couldn’t hurt to do what she does!
The squash were a dud. No way around it. Not a bloom, not a blossom, not a fruit. No matter what I did, they never got any bigger than this:
They look all perky and happy right? Wrong. Whatever I was doing, they didn’t like it and the lack of squash is proof. Oddly enough, one of the seedlings I gave my dad early in the season is FLOURISHING in their sand. Grow squash in sand?! Possibly. Worth a shot next year, considering this year’s dirt clearly wasn’t good enough.
LOL, this just makes me laugh. After coddling the little broccoli with a milk just and gently nurturing the plant to this:
A few – no wait, A LOT – of these little guys invaded:
And my lovely broccoli plant now looks like this:
No joke, the kids and I counted TWENTY of those worms on the broccoli plant at one time. 20!! With both the zucchini and squash goners, I let the worms eat. My hopes were down in the dumps and quite frankly, I really wasn’t wanting to grow broccoli anyway.
Finally, the star of the show!
Our four tomato plants are BOOMING with fruit. I am SO pleased, that there isn’t enough capital letters on my keyboard to express how AWESOME it is to have tomato plants.
That are alive!
At first, we were harvesting 2-3 tomatoes every 2-3 days or so. Then it bumped up to 5 tomatoes a day. Just yesterday, I snagged 25 tomatoes! Tomato caprese salad is on the menu every day (minus the mozzarella cheese, since what we have is reserved for pizza and I can’t buy more), they’re going in salads, becoming snacks for the kids and replacing the Italian tomatoes in our pizza sauce for the time being. Our goal is to eat them fresh, how ever we can, since there’s no need to add to the 12 pints of tomato sauce already in the pantry.
This is how one plant looked just 10 days ago:
Since then, all those green tomatoes have turned red and we’ve picked them. And eaten them. It’s awesome!
There are two other plants similar to this one that are in full production. The fourth tomato plant is covered with green tomatoes, but they haven’t turned red yet. It’s coming soon though – the leaves at the bottom of the plant are starting to yellow (which I believe is a signal that the plant has stopped putting energy into growing bigger and started putting energy into producing fruit).
While the tomatoes flourish, here’s how the raised bed looks now:
It’s officially done for the season, and I’m not sure if I’m going to plant anything for the fall/winter yet. I’m still slightly heart broken on the zucchini, and there’s more than enough on my plate with homeschool, a family vacation, Allume a 7th birthday (that I have a hunch will be LEGO-themed) and the holidays than to just add more with a winter garden. Especially when I still have no clue what I’m doing.
Maybe next year, but only if I can grow zucchini.
Catch up on previous garden updates and other helpful gardening posts:
- The First Post – Creating the Garden
- Update Month One
- Update Month Two
- Watering the Garden for Free
- Fertilizing the Garden for Free