The Horrible Garden Season of 2015

How is it possibly the middle of October already? I’m having a hard time expressing my guilt over not updating my blog in quite awhile. The truth is, life got in the way. But I’m here.

This gardening season was pretty much a big fat bust. It started off really strong, but got destroyed somewhere in the middle by the big hail storm. It bounced back a bit, but was pretty disappointing all around.

The community garden took the biggest hit – which is funny since it is almost directly across the street from our garden at home. Our home garden got it pretty bad, but somehow the community garden got it worse. The community garden didn’t really bounce back and I pretty much just abandoned that garden for the season (don’t worry, I eventually cleaned it out like a good gardener).


My lone alley pumpkin – I’m shocked that I even got this guy! My pumpkins plants took a huge beating from the hail.

Surprisingly my squash and tomato harvest at home was better than anticipated. The squash plants mostly bounced back and then started producing edibles. As for the tomatoes, there were a lot of bruised and un-salvageable fruits (probably about 1/3 of the harvest), but all of the undamaged tomatoes were amazing.

So now the season is basically finished, and I’m left with the task of cleaning up the garden remains and getting ready for the upcoming winter. In all honesty, I’m actually glad that the garden season is finished – I just need to put that difficult season behind me. I’m sad, but I also feel a bit of relief – this time of year is always difficult.

Purple Cauliflower

My cauliflower harvest consisted of just this guy.

In order to try to get myself pumped up for the end of the season, I’ve recently become obsessed with natural yarn and fabric dyeing. So I’ve been scouring my own garden to see what sorts of things I can collect and experiment with. I was able to get a pretty decent harvest of marigolds from the front yard (I’m still waiting for my mordant to arrive, so you’ll need to wait to see the results. I know, I’m impatient too). I also harvested the few rose hips that I had (why is it that when you actually decide to do something with them, the harvest is so weak?) –  I’ll have to forage for some more. And I’ve also got an indigo dyeing kit that I cannot wait to try out. I know there isn’t much time before the snow arrives, so I need to get started on the experiments very soon. In addition to the dyeing experiments, I’ve also been making a mental list of some of the projects I can keep myself busy with this winter (needle felting, maybe learning to crochet, starting a big knitting project, more weaving, some sewing adventures) – and I am getting a little excited about them.


Lots of marigolds waiting to be used as dye!

Finally, my apologies for not updating the blog in awhile – I was doing everything I could to avoid facing the damaged garden, including neglecting my poor (primarily gardening) blog. I’m going to try my hardest to get back on a regular posting schedule – I love writing about gardening, and cooking, and crafting, and whatever else. I will make an effort. Let’s put this season behind us – onwards and upwards!

Garden Update

It has been a long time since I’ve written about my garden. The last time was over a month ago, when I wrote about the hail storm that pretty much wiped out my entire garden. I was pretty depressed for a few weeks afterwards, avoiding the garden and even avoiding looking out my window – I’d thought things were finished for the year. But in a surprising turn of events, the resilient little trooper made quite the comeback!

Thank goodness! I don’t want to say I’d given up on gardening forever, but I’d pretty much given up for this year. So to my surprise, when those shredded zucchini plants started sprouting new leaves, and then flowering, and then producing food, I was ecstatic!

Some things did actually get damaged beyond hope – like a lot of my potted tomato plants. But the indeterminate tomatoes that were growing in my raised bed actually came through a lot better than I ever expected! In fact, I even harvested my first Blue Beauty this past week!

Blue Beauty Tomato

And I somehow narrowly missed every single frost warning in the last week. So my plan is actually to go out and harvest the bulk of the tomatoes this week, before they actually do get murdered by the Winter Man. I’ll also make my way over to the community garden to clean it up, and harvest all of the remaining zucchini in the front and back yard.


My zinnias are absolutely stunning this year! A few holes and bruises from the hail, but I can deal with that!

Other than that, I’m feeling much better about winding down in the garden now. It seems too early to be time, but after this next weekend is over (I am so excited about the Commonwealth Collector’s Club pop-up market!), I am going to dedicate quite a bit more time to putting the garden to sleep for the winter.

Five Minutes and It’s Gone!

You’d think it was a sharknado that had gone through my garden. I’d even waffled with photoshopping in a bunch of sharks, but then decided against it. I’m trying to make the damage somehow funny, but it isn’t really working. This is actually the result of a flash hail storm. In August. Sigh.

Hail Storm August 2015

It could have been worse. And truthfully, not everything was pummeled. Just mostly everything. I’m sure some things will bounce back, but I’m pretty sure I can kiss any squash or pumpkins goodbye, as well as my corn and some of the tomatoes. My precious tomatoes.

I guess it serves me right for getting all cocky and telling people “Oh we’ve been lucky this year, we’ve missed every hail storm and even the funnel clouds missed us!”.

I haven’t surveyed the damage at the community garden yet, but I did receive an email from a gardener there telling me to expect disappointment.

So I’ve decided the next garden project will be building a greenhouse dome over my entire yard.

Mid-July 2015 Garden Update

I have been so delinquent in blogging lately, and I have a couple of excuses (I’ve been busy, I haven’t felt motivated to sit at the computer, blah blah blah), but it is time for an update – and a lot has been happening around the garden lately. The garden has truly gone insane – I can’t enter my backyard without being attacked by monster plants. This is a good thing though, it also means that I am finally harvesting.

Pea Flowers

The pea flowers are so pretty.

There have been a few small harvests, like rhubarb, strawberries, honey berries, radishes, herbs, etc. But this week is the start of when I have to really keep on top of things, especially summer squash. Yesterday I went out in the backyard and made the first squash harvest, mostly young squash (I like them when they are young and tender). Then later that evening we walked over to the community garden, which I haven’t actually seen for about 2 weeks, and discovered 3 large zucchini. I mean, they weren’t so big that they are inedible, but they are about 3 times the ideal size for me. Now there is a large pile of squash sitting on my counter waiting to be eaten. And I know I have about 10 more in the garden that will be ready in a few days. Remember how I said I really need to keep on top of things right now?


Lettuce growing nicely in an old wine box. It’s growing slowly in the shade, but I’m okay with that!

Along with the squash, I’ve been picking at the alley raspberries and the peas growing in the backyard, and I also finally harvested the remainder of the garlic scapes.

Garlic Scapes

I’ve also been thinking a lot about the front yard. I mentioned awhile back that my front yard is not exactly where I want it to be. But I’m actually really looking forward to doing something with it. First thing, we’ll start removing the remaining grass. There actually isn’t a lot of grass left, so doing a little bit at a time won’t be so overwhelming. I’ve just got to figure out how I want to incorporate edible growing space in the front. I was thinking about raised beds, or even some more galvanized steel livestock tanks, but I’m just having a difficult time picturing how it will all work. I’d like for it to be aesthetically pleasing, but also functional. I’m actually planning on writing a longer post about the front yard, that will actually include photos, so maybe I’ll wait to talk about it.


I usually kill non-alpine clematis, but for some reason I’ve kept this one alive for many years. It is currently in full bloom.

Aside from the small-ish harvests and planning the front garden, I honestly have been spending most of my time indoors working. It’s been good, but I think I’m definitely ready to tackle a few outdoor projects. What have you been doing in the garden, and what have you been harvesting?

July 2015 In The Garden

The garden has been keeping me really busy this year. It’s been good though and I finally feel like things are starting to slow down. Which means I can kind of sit back and enjoy it as it is for a bit. And also maybe think about what I’d like to accomplish in the garden for the remainder of the season.

We recently had a huge heatwave, followed by some big rainfalls, and there is some more heat in the forecast, so things are really starting to get lush. There has already been some heavy duty pruning going on (we may have pruned away some branches from our neighbor’s tree)

Garden July 2015

Looking pretty darn lush. I believe this is going to be the year of the squash in my garden, they are all looking so full and healthy – and I’ve even got a few baby squash forming. Making those squirrel proof seedling cages was a good idea – I didn’t lose any squash this year to those pesky creatures.

Last year I included some to-do lists for the garden, and I thought I might try it again this year. I really enjoy reading other garden blogger’s to-do lists, so maybe readers might find mine interesting as well. And if not, just skip to the pretty pictures.

– Weeding! I’ve been pulling out a few dandelions in the back yard as they pop up, but I really need to dedicate a couple of hours to just weeding, especially in the front yard. I rarely post photos of the front yard on my blog because it is so so sad, but I’m going to try to start. This is a realistic blog where I post the good, the bad, and the ugly, so I should be posting the front for your viewing displeasure (I’m being really hard on myself here, it’s not that bad).
– Figure out some sort of trellis for the back alley raised bed. I’m growing some pumpkins back there, so instead of having them grow down where we park the car, I’d prefer if they grew up. I have no idea what I’m going to do there. I need to think of something quickly though – I noticed that they are now growing out of their little squirrel-resistant cages.
– Clean up the alley. It is in a pretty shabby state right now. It needs to be weed whacked and I need to dispose of the dead corpse that is my former Christmas tree. And there is a lot of garbage. I’d really rather just keep forgetting this area exists, but those pumpkins are planted back there, and I water them almost every day, so I would rather look at something less horrifying and garbage-ridden. Also, our alley is a mud pit when it rains, so we really should get a load of gravel in there to help things. That task has been on the to-do list for awhile now.
– Fertilize the peppers and tomatoes. I am such a delinquent when it comes to fertilizing. I maybe do it like once a season. Must fertilize.
– Figure out what to do with the front yard. I referenced the nightmare of the front yard above, and I’m probably way over exaggerating it, but it really isn’t the way I want it and I kind of just want it to not exist right now. The main problem is the awful state of the lawn. The truth is, I don’t care about my lawn and I really haven’t made an effort to care for it for about 5 years or so. And it really shows. I wouldn’t actually even consider it a lawn anymore – it is mostly weeds and old cigarette butts (lots of pedestrian traffic on my street). The real reason for not caring for it is mainly because I think lawns are useless resource vampires, but also because it will eventually not exist in our yard. My vision for the front yard is for there to be no lawn, to expand the front porch in to something useful and pretty, to replace the front walk, to have some raised beds for edibles, and for the rest of it to be a low maintenance perennial garden with a couple of trees. The plan this year is to remove a little bit of the remaining lawn each week. Originally when I was thinking about what I wanted to do this summer, working on the front yard was not even a thought in my mind. The only real thought I’d had was that I wanted to come up with a rough plan to implement over the next 5 or so years. But then seeing the lawn this spring, and feeling nothing but embarrassment, rage, and contempt every time I saw it, I changed the plan. The good news is that it will cost me nothing but time. And possibly some money on cedar mulch if I get far enough. I’d love to hire it out and just have someone come in and set fire to it in one fell swoop, but I’ve already spent way too much on the garden this year, and I’d like to be able to eat, so I’ll have to do it slowly myself with nothing but my trusty spade.

Garden July 2015

I guess that’s the garden right now in a nutshell. Things are growing and even though my front yard is a bit of a touchy subject right now, I am pretty happy with the back yard this year. All in all, things are decent! How is your garden growing?


One more photo! The honeyberry harvest this year has been great so far! I have three small plants and I’ve never gotten more than a handful of berries in past years. This year the branches were bursting with fruit and it looks like there will be a second harvest! I intended to actually make something out of the first harvest, but they all got eaten raw before I had the chance #gardenerproblems