Letting nature take its course on the garden

Embarrassing truth: Gardening just wasn’t a priority at Wayward House this summer.

This fact disappoints even little Scooby.

“You ought to be ashamed of yourself.”

Although I began the season with great seedy intentions, weird weather and my tendency to overcommit led to a very poorly managed garden in 2012.

There was much death, underproduction and waste – of money, water, plants and time.

Fortunately, a few species persisted in spite of my neglect. There was that bumper crop of mutant squash.

And my uncaged, untied, laying-down-on-eachother, half-mowed-over tomato plants managed to produce a bounty that, while very modest, dwarfs our total tomato failure last year.


At least three varieties of cage-free, homegrown red and yellow tomatoes.

The tomatoes are so sweet, delicious and few that we have been careful to savor every single one.

A few other plants in the garden still show promise.

Some of the healthiest things seem to be the ones I didn’t even plant. Lots of basil self-seeded from last year.

Volunteer lemon basil.

Volunteer Thai basil

A rosemary seedling we bought at the Waldo Farmers’ Market seems rather robust.

Fragrant, green rosemary.

The only eggplant that remains from my own starts is struggling to survive at the foot of our sad, dead pear tree. The bright purple blooms give me hope.

An optimistic eggplant blossom.

If the weather cooperates, we could get some sweet potatoes this fall. These vines were started from last year’s huge sweet potato harvest.

Sweet potatoes ready for a watering.

Although there are signs of life, this summer’s garden will not go down as a success. I allowed it to get truly wayward, in the bad sense of the word.

So, what’s the takeaway for next time? Simple:

  1. Focus on fewer species and overall quantity of plants.
  2. Plan out the design instead of planting willy nily.
  3. Figure out how to make watering easier so that I don’t get lazy and skip it for too many days in a row.

“This was a depressing garden tour. Leave me in the house next time.”

What brings you success as a gardener? How is your plot looking at this time in the season?

About crystalwayward

I live with two formerly wayward dogs. I care deeply about the environment, and I think gardening is a revolutionary act.

Posted on August 17, 2012, in Dogtography, Gardening and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. Glad some of the crop survived you. In answer to your question, anything in my garden is very hardy – if it dies, it doesn’t get planted again.

  2. Our plants all died too. The jalapeno plant is barely hanging on. I was hoping to get at least one pepper out of it! 😦

    • I don’t feel so bad. Maybe it’s a Waldo thing!! I didn’t show our peppers in this post, but we still have a lot of healthy-ish pepper plants. They just haven’t been producing much. Too much drought, maybe?

  3. My garden was hugely successful this year. Because I only planted squash, green beans, onions & carrots – all are pretty hard to screw up. Plus I have a Hubster who waters for me. Otherwise, I’m sure I would’ve killed even the squash. It’s taken me 3 years but I finally realized by only planting 3-5 vegetables instead of 8-10, that I see a lot more growing.

    • Good for you! I, too, feel like I’m figuring out what’s easy. That’s why we did sweet potatoes this year and will likely start carrots again soon. Zach was more helpful with the watering and whatnot last year, which is no doubt why things didn’t go as great this time around. The garden was supposed to be my thing this year, and I have not proven myself! Haha!

  4. You know we don’t even have a garden this year? We’ve been relying on the farmer’s market for gardeny goodness… I’ll admit it, I’m lazy!

  5. A suggestion for watering, I use drip hoses, I run them threw and around my flower beds, and my veg gardens .(just not this year as I didn’t do veg) I leave them there for the season and just go over hook hose up and let them go for 30 to 40 mins. I invested in one hose for each section ( when possible I connect some of the drip hoses to water a wider sections at once)put them down and the hardest thing to do after that is hook the hose up.My flower beds reseeded and I was Happy because I would not have been able to do this year.

    • Drip hoses are awesome! Mine needed some maintenance this year that obviously didn’t happen. Sigh. I’m glad to hear your flower beds reseeded themselves. How thoughtful of them! 🙂

  6. Our summer is so hot and dry that our yard is looking like a desert, except for pumpkin plants that are trailing everywhere like triffids 🙂

  7. We tried a container garden for the first year and it failed for the most part. I wasn’t quite sure what I was doing or what varieties of certain plants we needed, and had struggles including birds, heat waves, disease, and traveling too much.

    • Traveling is a real hassle when you have a garden. Getting someone to water your crops is harder, I believe, than getting someone to take care of your dog when you go on vacation.

  8. Your tomatoes looked good and maybe next year will be better 🙂

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