Garden Wild

I love looking at gardening magazines.  The crammed-full veggie gardens with a profusion of herbs, cabbages, tiny cherry tomatoes, and flowers, the pretty raised beds full of variety lettuces and carrot tops.  It all looks so fresh and healthy and productive.  And disorderly.

I was raised with orderly gardens.  Rows of beans with space to walk between, tomatoes tied to stakes and with their bottoms trimmed closely, with the fruit easy to reach and pick.  So, when I garden, I follow that pattern.  I trim back the tomatoes, I place boards in between rows so I don’t have to walk in mud, and flowers are never part of my veggie gardens.  It is neat and orderly, almost regimental.  It is also a lot of work.

This year, the busiest year I’ve had in a long time, I didn’t have time to keep things neat and tidy.  I pulled weeds when I could, but mostly, I threw seeds at the ground, set a sprinkler to run, and hoped for the best.  I planted some sad-looking, discount-priced zinnias along the edge to disguise my crooked garden edging. I never considered it my best effort, and in quiet moments, I fretted about my lack of care to the food I had hoped would feed us.

But you know what?  It all turned out okay in the end.  I have gardens that look like those ones in the magazines.  They are crammed full, producing wildly, and those sad little zinnias look intentional and gorgeous holding it all in.  I’ve harvested pounds and pounds of squash, tomatoes, lettuce, kale, beans, eggplant, and cucumbers.  I’ve made so much pesto I’m surprised my eyes aren’t green.  My freezer is crammed with baba ganoush, shredded summer squash, green beans, kale, and kohlrabi that we will eat all winter.  I canned three dozen pint jars of tomatoes.  Even this late in the season, I’m still getting squash and tomatoes, albeit much more slowly, and my basil is four feet high and attracting so many honey bees that I don’t dare cut it down.

My lack of care this year still left me with a well-producing garden.  A wild-looking garden, but productive nonetheless.  Have I been doing it wrong all this time?

How did your garden grow this year?

Basil, parsley, purple beans, pole beans, kale, and zinnias. 


Tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, purple beans, a volunteer pumpkin hiding under the tomatoes.

2016falltomatoes2Squash.  Only two plants in this bed – a Buckingham (yellow zuch) and Cocozelle (striped green zuch).  There are also cabbages, beets, and turnips in this space, although most have been harvested already.

2016fallsquashThe squash were out of hand!

2016fallzuchKale.  We ate a lot of it! There are some sad little peppers laying on the ground next to them.

2016fallkalePotatoes.  These were grown in the shade so I’m not complaining.  They were cooked in one batch with green beans and onions.  Tasty!  The tiny carrots we just ate raw with lunch one day.

2016fallpotatoesLate in the summer, the kale got cruciferus aphids.  Bummed me out.  I will be watching for them next year, and spraying them with soap to kill them off before they ruin the kale.

2016fallkaleaphidsBees! They love my basil.

2016fallbeesButterflies too!

2016fallbutterfly Flowers – zinnias, a coleus, nicotania, nasturtiums, and others I don’t know the names of.

2016fallflowerrsFlowers in pots by the garage.  I do love my color!  The little begonia on the left is a much-propagated cutting from my great grandmother’s plant. 

2016fallflowerpotsOne more view of the garden along the house. 


2 Responses to “Garden Wild”

  1. jillybbear says on :

    It all looks just like a magazine! I think you did great! I wish I had a sunny spot at my house – all the trees have grown up and shade the yard most of the day – which DOES help the electric bill but is terrible for a garden. I tried last year and only got a few small tomatoes and peppers – even my mums in the front garden have died back due to lack of sun. :(

  2. PamP says on :

    It all looks so lush. I remember those sad little zinnias from last June – they have certainly overcome their unpromising beginning.