I told Hubs the other day that it feels like I'm neglecting my garden because I don't go work in it every day. I venture out a couple times a week to pick produce and check up on everything. Once or twice a week I try to do some cosmetic weeding, but the garden is fully functional without babying from me.
I did a much better job this year of keeping things manageable. I planted LESS of what I couldn't freeze or can (cucumbers, lettuce, yellow squash) and MORE of things like peppers, tomatoes, beans and peas. I did make a few mistakes with the garden layout. For example, I planted 15 large sprawling pea vines in the middle of everything. They covered my corn, they covered my basil, they covered the green beans. Also, I underestimated the "sprawl effect" of tomatoes as well, and these have overpowered the pepper plants that were planted with them. Now I know that any companion plants of tomatoes should be tall and fast-growing.
Financially, gardening is a great deal. I'm amazed at everything I have grown for about $20 ($10 seed starter and $10 seeds). My pride and joy is my basil. Last year in desperation I bought a basil plant for $4 late in the season. Fresh basil at the store is something like $4 per handful, so the plant was still a good deal. This year I started seeds. Most of the sprouts died, unfortunately, but eight survived to maturity. These seedlings have grown larger than the plant I purchased last year. I got eight times the value for half the price! Crazy.
In addition to basil, I also planted hot peppers and mustard from seed. The mustard has seed pods, and the hot peppers have small green peppers on them.
My tomatoes are sprawling all over the place and growing little green tomatoes. This year I grew Romas and Beefsteaks, with a few volunteer plants of unknown origin. I've noticed that many of the Roma tomatoes are suffering from Blossom End Rot, which is apparently common for that variety. BER is caused by a calcium deficiency. I did put some eggshell powder under each plant in the Spring, but with Romas I guess it has more to do with the shape of the fruit. Luckily you can just cut off the rotted end, but I will probably only grow a few Roma plants next year.
Most of the vine plants are growing on cattle panels, as I mentioned before. This year we have one watermelon plant, a couple different varieties of squash, one cucumber plant and also some peas. The peas are done and I have pulled them out to make room for other things. I left one sugar snap pea wrapped around a stake, so it can go to seed.
How does your garden grow?