The purpose of this blog was supposed to be a way for me to share with my fellow gardeners the changes my garden goes through in the course of a spring, summer and fall. I was going to post amazing pictures of how the plants change and grow. But unfortunately, this past summer the Midwest was plagued with a drought that pretty much made most gardens…well…suck (pardon my French). So then I’m pondering, “Do I post or not post about the few veggies and plants that succeeded in spite of the drought?” You know, a sort of survival of the fittest. Well, I say, reluctantly, yes I do. An interesting side note is that I’m publishing this post on March 24th, 2013 which is after the first day of spring, mind you. And we’re supposed to get 9 inches of snow today! Welcome to Illinois.
The trellis I built just for my green beans last summer (prior post) was in vain because they didn’t produce much. My green peppers didn’t produce until the weather cooled in the fall and my tomatoes were mediocre at best. I’m going to stop now because it’s depressing me. If you’re like me, you just can’t wait until that spring day when your garden goes in with the anticipation of a bang-up harvest. And when it flops, it’s like not having Christmas.
The good news is some of my early spring veggies like peas, radishes, strawberries and lettuce did well because they “beat the heat”. And some of those same veggies, I replanted in the late summer, and had successful fall crops. And of course, plants that always do well were also a success–onions, sunflowers, basil and oregano.
As if time doesn’t fly by fast enough already, I’m going to show some progression photos of plants and veggies that were a success last summer despite Mother Nature’s nastiness.
I’ll start with my ornamental grass. Here are pictures of what it looked like in early spring last year after winter had taken its toll, after I cut it back, as it started to grow and what it looked like at the end of the summer.
Next is my clematis vine. It always grows like gangbusters, and this particular type of clematis is actually considered invasive in some areas of the country. I feel like a schmuck because I didn’t take a photo of it in the fall when it was flooded with beautiful, white flowers, but here are the photos I did manage to take.
My stawberries are the June Bearing variety and they, of course, come up from the ground without any help at all from Yours Truly. This is the smaller of two strawberry beds I have in my tiny yard.
Lettuce did well in both the spring and fall.
Peas were probably my most successful crop. I always plant the edible pod variety, and love them in salads and stir fry. Please note that these are planted in a small side yard area by my garbage cans. You don’t need a lot of space to grow veggies! After they finished producing in the heat of the summer, I pulled them out, and planted pumpkin vines in part of the area, saving room to replant more peas in the late summer for a fall crop.
I planted red cabbage for the first time this year, and chose a smaller head cabbage called Red Express. The heads were only baseball to softball-sized, and I loved them. I have some leftover seeds, and plan to plant more this year. I also planted these in my sideyard. I first scattered several seeds in a tiny area about a foot by a foot and a half, just to get them in the ground. I wasn’t sure where their permanent home was going to be, so I let them get a couple of inches tall, gave some to neighbors and then transplanted the rest in front of my peas. You can see some of the cabbage seedlings in the previous photos if you look closely. Towards the end of the summer, my pumpkin vines grew up around them.
Here are my garlic cloves. I actually planted them correctly in the fall this year, and am hoping for bigger cloves next time around.
And here’s my baby, my cilantro. I just discovered this herb a couple of years ago, and it’s now my favorite herb in the world. My FHW, if you will. It grows in the spring and the fall, and will bolt in the heat of the summer (that’s a bad thing because it’s bitter after it bolts). I found it difficult to get started, but once it grows, I spread its seeds back on the ground at the end of the season, and it comes back up every year. I have a cilantro “patch” now. I love to make Pico de Gallo in the summer with my fresh onions and tomatoes.
Well, there wasn’t much to report in this post, but 2013 will be a better year, and I’m hoping it’ll be here before we know it. A snow plow just went by…
If you have an interest in decorating, organizing or DIY home improvement projects, please feel free to check my other blog at HomeStagingBloomingtonIl. You can find additional before and after pictures on my website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com.
This blog was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner (Home Staging Resource at http://www.HomeStagingResource.com) and a Journeyman Painter in the Bloomington/Normal, IL area. You can view her portfolios at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com for more before and after photos.