This has not been the best garden year here in the Middle of Nowhere. It started out great, full of promise, as most gardens do. Because I was working part-time, it was good that I left much of the space fallow this year. I haven't had time to weed what's there, let alone what could have been there if I'd planted the entire plot.
The strawberries didn't produce much at all – enough for a bowl of cereal, maybe. The birds ate the blackberries, one by one as each little shiny black berry ripened. I finally bought bird netting, but alas – it was too late.
I'm ready for next year, though!
I got a few snow peas and snap peas, enough for a stir-fry or two. And that was great. I'll probably devote more space to early-spring crops next year. (Gardeners never quit figuring out how they can do it better next time. I guess that means we're good learners.)
The big fail is the tomatoes. (If you're a Facebook friend, you already know this story. Apologies.) I noticed the Cherokee Purple looked a little lopsided a couple mornings ago, so I ventured out to find that the fruits were gone. I then looked to the left, where the Amish Pastes, Vilms Paste and yellow Oxhearts were flourishing, to find not a single damned tomato in the whole bed.
The deer had had a feast.
I knew this day would come, sometime. I've been warned and warned and warned that every year the deer get bolder and braver. They figure I'm planting all this food just for them. They'd already eaten the edamame leaves. (I managed to freeze exactly one quart-sized bag of shelled edamame.)
I was astonished at how thorough they were, though.
They also ate the leaves from the sweet potato vines, and I understand potatoes need leaves to develop. I haven't taken a shovel out there to see if any baby sweet potatoes had started to grow or not. I'm still mourning my tomatoes.
The Oxheart still has some flowers and the Cherokee Purple has two green tomatoes the deer somehow missed. One was quite large, so I brought it in to ripen indoors. And the deer haven't found the Sweet and Neat cherry tomato plant on the patio. They'd have to be pretty bold to come that close to the house.
The other garden area that remains untouched is the new herb bed. Maybe they were too full from eating tomatoes. Or perhaps their cunning little brains are letting me think the herbs are safe this year, and they'll make a meal out of it next year.
I found it very amusing that two jalapeños remained on the ground with bite marks in them. Serves them right! I'm thinking of planting a jalapeño border next year.
What worked? Onions and garlic. Success. Big success. Enough success that I'm sharing the garlic and have onions sets ready to plant for a fall crop.
And basil. I'm really, really pleased that deer don't seem to have a taste for basil. In addition to devoting a section of the herb bed to it, I also have 10 lush, gorgeous, fragrant plants right next to the Cherokee Purple. All of them intact.
Perhaps I should be a pesto farmer. 'Cause I clearly can't take care of tomatoes.
I got some great advice for a product from a Facebook friend, which I will be putting to use next year. I also will be getting new! stronger! fencing. And maybe a solar-powered motion detector deterrent. (I put it on my amazon.com wish list to think about.)
Grateful for onions and garlic. Grateful for the salsa and tomatoes I've already canned. Grateful (kinda) that the food garden season for me is, essentially, over. Garden fail and garden fatigue rarely coincide.