Sunday, October 18, 2009

Final organic garden tally and lessons learned from the backyard garden

The Monsanto Sucks, Michelle Obama Rocks Organic Garden is done for the season. We've had our first below freezing night here in northern Massachusetts and I doubt the few remaining zucchini blossoms will come to much. My sunflowers by the front door are no longer blooming, this photo was taken two weeks ago. I'm just waiting for migrating birds to pick them clean. But, even though the garden is closed down, I have a lot to reflect over. Most of which were lessons I learned after my first large organic vegetable undertaking.

Lesson #1: Read and follow the planting instructions on the seed packets. I got a little carried away and squeezed six zucchini plants into a space that could really only accommodate two. They sort of took over the string beans. oops!

Lesson #2: When late blight hits the entire state of Massachusetts' tomato crop don't get complacent and follow the quarantine protocols you set in place (i.e.: only wear your garden clogs in the tomato patch and not your flip flops which flip and flop all over the New England area....)

Lesson #3: Get your seeds in earlier. This was mostly my fault since I had two yards of soil to move, a needy six month old back in the spring, and a job. It took a bit longer than I though to build the bed and move the dirt. The first seeds didn't get in until late May.

Lesson #4: Be patient with your carrot crop. It was the first time I grew carrots, it was exciting and I couldn't wait to pull them up. Had I waited another month they would have been twice as big. But, they were still super tasty!

Lesson #5: Order your praying mantids before aphids take over.

There are many things I did right though. I went organic. I planted crops I knew I would eat. I picked a good spot in the yard for the raised bed. I never ran out of irrigation water since I added a second rain barrel this year. All in all it was a success!

So, for the final garden tally. Here's what I grew in a mere 6 by 14 foot piece of soil:
  • blueberries: 42
  • strawberries: 35
  • salads: 5 large
  • zucchini: 13
  • cilantro: 5 large bunches
  • green beans: 313 (about 3.5 pounds)
  • carrots: 136
  • basil: more than I can count!
  • tomatoes: 14
  • cucumbers: 9
I hope if you're on the fence to start your own little garden patch then my journey of this past summer has inspired you to try next year. It was super fun, and I'm looking forward to learning from my mistakes to make next summer's harvest twice as big!


  1. Thanks for the information Kate. We are planning to make a veggie garden in the backyard. It's time for us now, since the typhoons has destroyed most crops here in the country and caused them to be expensive when bought, we almost couldn't afford it since the prices are really impossible. Next year we know there will scarcity with food particulary those affected by the flood. So we have to start growing them now.

  2. Oh fun. Great job. Love your cute carrots. And the sunflower is gorgeous. I planted heaps of sunflower seeds just before the terrible rains we had in June, they all got washed away.

  3. Love your lessons....I, too, am a first year gardener. I've had a few lessons myself. lol

  4. What a nice garden! I enjoyed watching it be planted, watching the mantids become bigger, and of course I enjoyed your carrot harvest. And now I look forward to what the springtime will bring as we now hunker down and get ready for the winter. It's been very enjoyable, Kate. And thanks for your comments on my blog.

  5. AL: I hope the monsoons don't wash away your garden. It's sad to hear especially after the photos you posted a few months back of these amazing strawberries! good luck, from what I hear on your blog you Dad has a really green thumb huh? I hope he is still doing well.

    Bethany: that's awful about your sunflowers! I planted about 30 seeds and I got one really big one and maybe four smaller ones. But at least they sprouted.

    Lynn: I think no matter how much we garden we'll always be learning lessons :)

    DJan: I am SO glad you enjoyed watching my garden's progress. I wish you had a patch to grow your own veggies. But, you have all your feathered friends right outside your windows and that's almost better!

  6. You have inspired me... at least for now. Hopefully it will last through the winter.

  7. This is truly bounty. Great garden.

    So glad you have good Cow's area the soil was farmed out and won't grow anything except pine and oak trees.

    Sad moo but also happy moo for Kate's garden!

  8. RT: keep that inspiration going! I will re-inspire you in the spring :)

    Cow: thanks! and it was fun too! I brought in the loam from a garden center, you could do the same I suppose? no topiary though, maybe next year....


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