Spring Garden of 2011 ~ Successes & Failures

Spring 2011 Garden

We added a fourth raised bed this year to house corn & peas.  My husband screwed PVC pipe over the box and draped netting over the arches to keep pesky squirrels away.  This photo shows our sprouts coming up in the beginning of April.
The beginning sprouts from left to right:  2 rows of lettuce, 1 row of okra, 2 rows of broccoli (did not come in), 2 rows of radishes, 2 rows of yellow squash, 1 row (2 plants) of kiwi from previous year and along the backside of the bed, 1 row of cucumbers.
Another raised bed holding:  l to r ~ grapevine to grow over the arbor, cherry tomato, Roma tomato (not shown to the right of the tomatoes ~ 1 yellow pepper plant & 1 orange pepper plant).  {Beginning of April 2011}

To the right of the previous pictured planter we have 3 blueberry bushes and 1 blackberry vine along the trellis.  {Beginning of April 2011}

A couple of the herbs in our herb planter...thyme & dill weed.  {Beginning of April 2011}
Rosemary...continuing to flourish from the past couple of years and located in the middle of our herb planter.  {Beginning of April 2011}
DELICIOUS blueberries eaten as quickly as they ripened...taken the beginning of May 2011.
Our two tomato bushes {l - cherry tomato & r - Roma tomato} a month later...beginning of May 2011.  
The presence of blackberries...these to will disappear as quickly as they ripen.  We are blessed to have MANY wild blackberry bushes growing in vacant areas of our neighborhood and have taken advantage of picking a couple of buckets full over the season.  {Beginning of May 2011}
One of the lettuce plants growing behind the protective netting...this was a successful endeavour.  {Beginning of May 2011}
Promising blooms from our yellow squash plants...beginning of May 2011.
Promising blooms from our cucumber vine...beginning of May 2011.
Our corn is coming in nicely and still intact thanks to the Lord's protection and the netting that remains over the planter box...beginning of May 2011.
The peas coming in nicely, too....beginning of May 2011.

Better boy tomatoes growing from one of the two topsy turvy containers hanging between two of the raised beds...beginning of May 2011.  These make for delicious salsa...click here for the post containing the recipe.
The cherry and Roma tomato plants have grown wonderfully this year and continue to yield {without any bugs} nice amounts of fresh organic tomatoes for our family.  {Mid June 2011}
Our okra (planted one row) has flowered and is producing a nice pod on the plants now.  Not sure when to harvest or what to do with them at this point...our first time growing it, but looking forward to harvesting and tasting the fruits of our labor soon.  {Mid June 2011}
As lovely as all those blooms were in the photo mid-way up, we have about 4 nice squash growing currently...between heat, smoke, not sure what else, this has taken a toil so it seems.  Beautiful squash for what we do have so far, though.  {Mid-June 2011}
One of many cucumbers that have grown pest free...but the only one that resembles a normal cucumber.  ;-)  Our other either look like balls or paisleys...interesting and not quite sure why...any ideas?  They did the same thing last year as far as shape.  If you look in the distance behind this one, you can see a couple of the ball shaped ones.  {Mid-June 2011}
Cherry tomatoes full and ripening...Mid-June 2011.
Roma tomatoes also lush and ripening steadily...Mid-June 2011.

  • I will say, unlike last year, this year we have not had issues with as many pests...the tomatoes in the ground have actually yielded much more than the ones in the hanging upside down containers.
  • Lettuce has done wonderfully, as well.
  • Blueberries yielded quite a bit considering they were new (small) bushes, however after last year one of the bushes died, so we'll have to see if these will continue to grow or not.
  • Blackberries...already an ample supply in our area growing wild, but our private vine produced larger ones and not quite as bitter tasting.
  • Corn has done better this year for the simple fact that the squirrels were not able to get into the crop.  We have 3-5 ears growing now and will just have to wait to see what the final outcome it.

  • Cucumbers...not necessarily a failure, but definitely not the "normal" shape and only one seems to be doing what a cucumber should in the way of growth.
  • Broccoli...did not come up at all.
  • Raspberry vines...did not come back from last year.
  • Peas...aphids have been an issue even though we treated with 'green/natural' methods to rid the problem.  Also no blooms on the vines, although the vines themselves have nice leaves and are continuing to grow.
  • Yellow squash...started out wonderfully and we do have 3-4 nice sized squash growing now, it just doesn't look like we will yield as much as anticipated from earlier progress.
  • Kiwi...year two and still no fruit with sparse leaves.
Still to be determined:
  • Our pepper plants are still growing...slowly.  We'll see what produces on them.
  • Grapevine is filling back in with nice sized green leaves, but no fruit yet.
  • Radishes...should be fine, but have not harvested yet.
  • Okra...doing well as far as I can tell.  Will see what the actual harvest is when they are done producing.
Things we will do differently next year:
  • Plant more...to yield more.
  • Better soil prep...more compost added (Lord willing), turning more in the down season...any ideas for further enriching it?
  • Moving one of our raised beds to the front of the herb garden for more sun light next year {the new bed which houses our corn and peas}...it probably gets too much afternoon shade right now.
So, that's our Spring Garden of 2011 thus far...a photo journal so-to-speak.  I would love to hear any recommendations or successes you have had, especially if you are in Florida and deal with the same issues we do (heat, bugs, sandy soil, etc.).  :-)

Happy Gardening ~

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