We did it! This past spring we built our first backyard vegetable garden and successful grew dozens of fruits, vegetables, and decorative fall plants in our 6 raised beds! Now that we’re almost at the end of the growing season, I’m giving a recap on some lessons learned so we don’t repeat mistakes and we can work towards another successful gardening season next year.
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Lesson 1: Strawberries need protection and coverage.
We put these big fence posts around the garden which kept the deer out but it also gave a good resting spot for flying birds. When resting, they noticed the bright, juicy red strawberries that were striving in our beds. I temporarily places two of these white picnic covers in place and when I found they were successful, I bought another pack to fill the rest of the bed. These four original pants blessed us with 2 growing cycles of strawberries and ended up creating more daughter plants that rooted to create more plants. I hope they come back next year!
Lesson 2: We don’t eat that many cucumber, tomatoes, and lettuce.
Yep we over planted our cucumber seeds, tomato seeds, and lettuce plants back in March when we started this garden. I was worried none would grow but in fact they all grew! We couldn’t eat the lettuce fast enough and ending up pulling a lot out as it got too bitter before we could use it. Cucumbers and tomatoes were easy to pass to friends, their parents, and fellow parents at softball so I didn’t mind that overabundance.
Lesson 3: We need a squad arch next year.
Our decorative gourds LOVED our back raised bed and this one space ended up producing over 50 mini gourds! They weren’t that heavy so when they crawled all over our fence it wasn’t that big of a problem, but next year I’d like to plan better where they should grow.
Lesson 4: Root vegetables need softer soil.
We did remove all the grass from our area before laying down the planters but we didn’t dig in deeper in the box for our carrots. They all came out stunted and gangly. We didn’t even try any after pulling them out! Next year I think we’ll pass on carrots.
Overall I was very proud of us of all the pampering we did in this garden and of all the things we grew. I look forward to doing it again next year and enjoying more fruits (literally) of our labor!