End of Summer Garden Review

It’s been a great year getting my hands a little bit dirty in my first attempt at gardening.  Most notably, I learned that plants need loads of sun to grow – and mine didn’t have loads of sun –  so I plan to move my two raised beds into a sunnier location next year.  (The lack of sun also caused my vegetables to be rather miniature, but very cute.)

A few weeks ago, I picked two butternut squash and a zucchini before my squash plants developed powdery mildew.  I think the powdery mildew was brought on by having the plants watered by the sprinklers while we were in Hawaii.  I ended up ripping out the zucchini, but there are a few more butternut squashes on the vine.  Perhaps they’ll still grow.


I was able to get half a dozen tomatoes before the deer started feasting on my tomato plants.  The tomatoes also developed some sort of disease, but after snipping off the infected branches a few tomatoes are still growing.  I’m not sure whether they’ll be good or not as I read that the taste of the fruit will be compromised if you cut off too many branches.


Here is a picture of the Brussels Sprouts from a few weeks ago.  They still look like this today, except more starved for water… which reminds me I need to water them.  I don’t think I’ll plant them again next year.  They take WAY to long to grow and I don’t know if they are going to make it.


The leeks which get the most sun have grown pretty well.  Unbeknownst to me, I did a good thing by planting the leeks and carrots side by side.  Apparently leeks help ward off carrot flies. (I wondered why the carrots were so healthy.)


I uprooted the cucumber plant the same day I yanked the zucchini.  It was looking bad. 


Here are some pictures of the cabbage and onions.   The cabbage was the size of a baseball – super tiny – but it smelled fresh and healthy and was beautifully flawless  The onions were extremely tiny.  I planted them next to the tomatoes and as the tomatoes grew, the onions suffered from lack of sun. (You can’t really tell in the photo, but they are TINY.)  After pulled them, I let them dry in the sun for a week, something I didn’t know was necessary.  Both the tiny cabbage and onions were used in today’s Minestrone soup. YUM!





I replanted lettuce and spinach a few weeks ago.  The little lettuces have already been eaten by the deer.  I’m going to have to leave my “fencing” up the whole time next year.  

Other than the spinach and maybe a few more lettuces, I’m not planning to plant any fall crops.  How about you?

Here is a recipe for crock-pot Minestrone.  It’s delicious! (I hope my brother-in-law’s wife doesn’t mind that I’m sharing it.  It’s her recipe.  Hi Jill!)


1 onion, chopped

2 carrots, sliced

1 zucchini, diced

1 cup cabbage, shredded

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cans (15 oz) kidney beans, rinsed and drained

2 cans (15 oz) beef broth

1 can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes

1 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 cups cooked elbow macaroni or shells

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Combine all ingredients in crock-pot except the pasta and parmesan.  Cover and cook on low 7-9 hours, or on high 4-5 hours.  Stir in the pasta and parmesan. Serve.  (*I don’t put the parmesan in the soup because my son doesn’t like cheese, so we sprinkle it on as a garnish.)

I have loved every vegetable I was able to harvest, no matter how minuscule.  I hope you’ve had a good time in your garden this year.  Thanks for dropping by!

Mrs. Mallard

7 thoughts on “End of Summer Garden Review

  1. sarah cook

    Deer is one problem I don’t have to deal with. Good luck with that. 🙂
    I tried brussel sprouts this year, too, for the first time. They shot up over three feet tall in no time, and I was so excited. That was at least two months ago. Since then, they’ve developed tiny little sprouts about the size of peas and have apparently given up. I don’t know if July was too hot for them, or what exactly the problem was. Disappointing. I don’t think I’ll try them again. Anything that takes that much garden space had better produce!

  2. sarah cook

    Oh, I tried a new-to-me cabbage variety this year, called Gonzalez. I chose it because it is super early and only supposed to get the size of softballs, perfect for a meal. They were amazing! Perfectly formed, firm, delicious cabbages by the end of June, and they actually got huge. I’ve never had much success before this kind.

  3. Mama

    I bought the Square Foot Gardening book. Is that what you’ve been using with Mel’s Miracle Mix? (The beds look like his design). We’re going to try our very first foray into gardening. I guess I have to be able to take a deep breath with things like “dust mildew” and whatever else. Hmmm… Any resources you recommend in choosing what to plant (like your carrot/leek combo). Everything looked so beautiful!

  4. JustToSay

    Dear Sarah, Thank you for the recommendation about cauliflower! I’ll check them out. My other cauliflower was harvested much earlier. This little guy had been left for dead, but then it started to grow. Also, very odd, but I chopped off the top of my brussels sprouts, watered them, the temperatures dropped a bit, and now they are growing. As of yesterday! SO WEIRD. (I read that if you chop off the tops, the sprouts mature at a uniform rate.) Hugs, Rachel
    Hi Mama! I am square foot gardening, but not using bags of Mel’s Mix. The local nursery was having a sale on the components of Mel’s Mix: vermiculite, peat moss and compost, so we just mixed up our own. The vegetables have seemed to love the soil. The carrot/leek combo was just luck, but I do plant marigolds next to my tomatoes. Unfortunately, I don’t have any more good combos. Maybe if my friend Sarah reads this, she can give some suggestions. She has a lot more experience than I do! Thanks for reading!
    Hi Becca! I’m looking forward to seeing how your garden changes for the fall. I’m sure you can grow year round, too! Thank you for dropping by.

  5. sarah cook

    First thing in the morning, I’m chopping the tops off my brussel sprouts. I was planning to pull them up, but I’ll give them one last try. I can’t wait to see if it works!
    My garden has a lot of shadey area and really isn’t nearly big enough for everything I cram into it, so I mostly try to plant things with similar watering needs & sunshine requirements together. Basil loves tomatoes. Corn & squash do well together. The vines can just trail through the corn stalks, which saves a lot of space. Cantaloupe, cucumbers, & peppers are all vaguely related, so they will all do better if they aren’t too near each other (to prevent them from cross pollinating which reduces yields for all three). Free gardening classes at a good nursery are the best resource I know of, because they are specific to the particular area’s climate and especially soil type. Most county extension offices offer “master gardener” courses which are also great region-specific info. Happy gardening!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s