Year 3 of our backyard vegetable garden brought us some new fruits and veggies, including cubanelle peppers and cantaloupe, plus the expansion of a flower bed around the border. Here’s an update to my Vegetable Garden series for those who are looking for inspiration and advice from our successes/failures.
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3 years ago at the start of spring our backyard looked like this:
And here’s what it looked like at the start of this spring before we planted this year’s crop:
Yes, you’ll remember we added a nice backyard garden and have been enjoying the fruits of our labor all summer. But there’s always room for learning and growth and this year was no different. I really didn’t like how the grass grew up around the fence last year, as seen in the photo above, so we decided to make a change this year.
After some heavy work, we removed the grass around the border and eventually added some flowers and mulch. I really wanted to add flowers, not only for aesthetics, but also to encourage pollinators that would help our garden grow.
I did some googling on what flowers a deer would avoid and went with marigolds and stevia. I heard marigolds were especially good to plant near tomatoes. What I didn’t realize is that bunnies love them!
After they gobbled up my first round of flowers, I went back to the garden center and picked up just one pot each of “demin n lace” and “Poquito lavender” which google said wasn’t liked by bunnies. Google was right! After planting these, the other plants came back as I guess the bunnies didn’t like the smell. Next year I’ll be adding more around the garden to add more color!
I also realize I never shared on my blog about our DIY strawberry cage we added last summer and was KEY to get the huge strawberry hauls we got all spring and summer! See the building of it in action on my instagram reel!
The pop up tents we used the first year were great in the beginning of the season, but it could no longer contain the plants growth by the end of the season. Whatever breed of strawberries we planted the first year, do have runners growing off it and the whole box is now strawberries!
We get tons of strawberries throughout the season even though I continue to cut back the plants!
2023 also brought us some new plant varieties, including growing yellow belle peppers (they take forever to ripen and turn yellow compared to the green ones!), cantaloupe (2 out of our 8 grew to maturity and were delicious!) and Cubanelle peppers (which were very plentiful, but also took forever to turn red).
Future vegetable garden plans:
- Return to Roma Tomatoes – We tried different plant varieties this year and decided those really were the best for sauce making!
- Add more super sweet mini tomatoes – These are always well loved, are easy to bring to a party as an appetizer, use in tacos or gift to a neighbor
- Research another climbing plant for the other side of our cucumber trellis. We did peas and string beans, which grew well, but our family wasn’t really a fan of eating them.
Past Vegetable Garden Posts
Get caught up on previous posts which share the step by step process and accessories we built to create the vegetable garden we grow today!