Feeling Blue Over the Green

The two tomato plants hit hardest by worms and our sad cucumber plant

 

I’m not feeling blue over the green in our bank account, although that could always use some improvement, especially now that our boat broke down and we’re confined to land until we can save up enough to have it fixed.

No, I’m really talking about the green on our deck; our container garden is looking pretty bad.

At the first of the season, I read an article about whether growing your own vegetables was really worth it, as compared to the yield one gets.

It took into account all of the money spent to get the garden up and running, as well as the stuff you spend money on throughout the season to keep it producing.

Although we don’t use chemicals and do it organically, we still spent a little over $100 to get the container vegetable garden going this year.

We needed new pots, soil and organic plant food. I also put in the largest garden I ever did in containers this year with 4 different species of tomatoes, red bell peppers, tomatillos, jalapenos, cilantro and banana peppers.

Last year, my cilantro died immediately. This year, it went wild, and I didn’t know exactly when to cut it. Before I knew it, the cilantro had gone to seed and began dying.

Then I had a bad infestation of green horn worms on one of the tomato plants, which quickly spread to another. One plant was almost wiped out, and although I got them by picking them off and by spreading cornstarch on the other plants, two other plants were severely damaged.

Next came the squirrel or wood rat that ripped one tomato plant in half, took the green tomatoes off of another and finished off the plant severely damaged by the horn worms.

It’s taken my only banana pepper and the only red bell pepper, and it’s munched both plants in half.

My cucumbers are not doing well at all this year for whatever reason. The tomatillo plants are blooming, but nothing has set.

My yield so far is 2 patio tomatoes and 4 cherry tomatoes.

When I read that article about it not really being worth the money to garden yourself unless you’re really skilled at it and you love gardening just for the sake of trying, I thought, “Yep, that’s me, I want a garden even if it doesn’t produce.”

However, I was hoping, since we began eating an all plant based diet and we eat as much organic produce as possible, to save some bucks this summer.

That doesn’t look like it will happen. Dale said over the weekend, as I discovered yet more tomatoes missing, “I think you should just forget that next year, it frustrates you so.”

He’s probably right. I seem to do better with flowers, they’re prettier and whatever loves my vegetable plants doesn’t seem to care about my potted annuals.

How does your garden grow this year? Are you blue over your green?

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12 Responses

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  2. I got the game as well, and I love it. It’s so hard it makes me angry, but that’s actually good. Not many games make me lose and still make me want to try again over and over. Good job!

  3. Pamela says:

    I have a square foot garden. Over the years, I find I do best in the spring when I have more time and we get plenty of rain. I grow spinach, lettuce, and peas. Oh, and I have a permanent asparagus bed. When the heat of summer comes, I ignore the veggies until the fall.

    During the summer, I usually get a pumpkin, squash, or some potatoes out of the compost bin. They don’t need any care. And it’s very satisfying to harvest them.

    I’d love to have a pretty, producing garden all summer. But not as much as I want to spend my weekends kayaking and sailing. So I enjoy my spring produce and don’t sweat the rest of the season.

    Maybe you need to think about what works for you and find a happy medium.

  4. Alexandra says:

    Sorry to hear about your veggie garden woes. Here, on Cape Cod, it has been dry, after being very wet. There are tons of mosquitoes and deer ticks. My husband has been watering the veggies, although I wanted to go a year with nature doing the watering. We have green beans coming up. They seem very easy. Have you tried green beans? I also planted blue pumpkins. To my amazement, they all came up. So, I have about a dozen pumpkin plants. No to see whether the squash vine borer does them in. It prevents me from growing zukes.

    • Kerri says:

      I’ve never tried green beans. I wonder if those can be done in a container. One of our favorite veggie meals this year is green beans, new potatoes and onions wrapped in foil with lots of spices and a little non-dairy butter and put on the grill. Nom Nom.

  5. Sue Moak says:

    We have a lot of troubles out where we are too. But we have always been gardeners and just can’t stop! Ha! I’m quite sure it’s not a money saving endeavor. In fact, it seems more like a money pit at times.
    Our main worry is water because we are in a dry climate. We installed drip irrigation and still have to use supplemental hand watering. We use water from our rainwater cistern when we can.
    Deer will eat every single thing so we had to put a high fence around the garden and our fruit trees before we planted a thing. Then raccoons climb and get the peaches in the years we have them. So we had to add a hot wire to the fence that we only turn on when the peaches start to ripen. Squirrels and birds get the grapes so we have to cover them with netting when they start to turn. They also get some of the tomatoes and peppers; usually we can share but in the years they are bad about it we made some frames out of fence wire and covered hem with netting.
    I was going to share tomatoes with the hornworms because I like the giant moths they become but they started taking more than their share so I reluctantly pulled them off and stepped on them.
    We had three late freezes this year and our grape crop was more than 50% lost even though I covered them each time.
    The sun is killer hot here so we have some frames we made from PVC pipe that we covered with shade cloth and have those over the pumpkins now, moved from the squash earlier.
    I just ordered some more shade cloth to make another frame.
    We are able to rake our oak leaves to mulch so that helps, although it is a lot of work.
    We did all this work ourselves, including the high fence or the cost of gardening would be even higher.
    We just like seeing things grow and we have gardener hearts! So we keep planting. I have to say we have never had any luck with container gardening in the areas we have lived in. But if we didn’t have room for our garden I would like to try using some of the galvanized stock tanks normally used for water. You can put a deeper soil and they would be easy to cover. I’ve seen them enclosed in a little fence like that. But that’s a fairly big money investment. Raised beds also would be pretty easy to cover.
    But cost saving, no I don’t see it. And some years are better. We haven’t had peaches in three years; still trying to recover from the worse drought of two years ago that killed some trees and damaged the others.

    • Kerri says:

      I do remember your drought, Sue. We had one last year. We had a really nice cool spring, even cold up until May so the garden went in late. Stock tanks are a good idea, but you’re right, that would be a big investment. Still not sure if I will remain a hopeful gardener next spring, I’ll probably have to wait and see how I feel about it in May. 🙂

  6. We used to plant a garden. Then we went to containers. Then we abandoned that also for the same reasons – a lot of work and a lot of money with no results. I do have an herb garden and even that is trouble this year for some reason. Someone is nibbling at my basil and my parsley just completely disappeared.

  7. Kerri says:

    I was used to gardening in the suburbs and the squirrels and rabbits, at least in our neighborhood, wasn’t this aggressive. I cannot believe the amount of times it comes right up on the deck all the while we have 6 dogs wandering around! Thanks for the netting suggestion. This is the only thing we haven’t tried, I even bought Deer Off and put it on all of the flowers surrounding the veggies (you’re not supposed to put it right on them) and the smell of that didn’t even detract. I’m going to set the wildlife cam out to see if it is a squirrel or wood rats. If rats, we have traps for them. Not doing the screen this year, I feel we’ve already spent quite a lot for the yield we will get. And yes, in KC, we were harvesting tomatoes right up until Halloween one year. We were even giving green tomatoes to the neighbors. Ah, those were the days….:)

  8. Kim says:

    I’m there with you. My best harvests seem to occur in August, when I give up and retreat inside. I come back in September and find that I had a giant harvest once it rained a couple of times. Hang in there and keep ’em alive… we’ve had tomatoes all the way into November before.

    Have you ever thought about hoops or covers or some such protection? Your squirrels seem particularly aggressive. Here’s an (overpriced) option; you can make your own much cheaper.
    http://www.gardeners.com/Plant-Protection-Tents/40-219RS,default,pd.html?start=10&cgid=GardenPestControls_Cat

    Of course, that’s another expense… but a one-time one, hopefully.

    I see gardening as a purposeful hobby, one that it takes years to learn and perfect for each garden’s location. If times ever got hard, I really want to at lest be well on my way to being able to fend for ourselves. It’s not easy, especially here in the Ozarks.