Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Lessons learned from a garden

What a strange garden I have this year! The tomatoes I thought were late, never did get started. I may have a couple of dozen tomatoes from three plants. The peas did great earlier this year... but they quit blooming after the second week. I've got fewer cucumbers from two plants this year than I did from one plant the last time.

I planted zucchini and yellow squash on new ground because they'll grow anywhere, right? Maybe not. There are 50 times as many male flowers as female so the harvest is skimpy there.

But when one vegetable doesn't do well, another will. This year is the year for winter squash. I only planted acorn and butternut and it's a good thing. They took over one entire raised bed and I'm talking one plant of each! Some acorn squash has already been harvested and I counted seven more almost ready, with heaven only knows how many coming on and yet to form. The butternut is slower to mature, but the vine is loaded. I lost count twice and gave up but there are at least as many butternut squash as there are acorn squash.

I'll eat squash this winter, even if I don't have tomatoes and pickles to go with it.

Beans, of both kinds: green and dried, are prolific this year, so I'll have beans to go with my squash.

Roll with the punches, go with the flow, whatever way you want to say it, truly frugal living means making the most of what you do have and not crying about what you don't have. So there won't be many tomatoes. Instead of having homemade spaghetti sauce, I'll have butternut squash soup. Zucchini and yellow squash are seasonal favorites here, but we'll eat green beans instead.

So you can't get a new couch this year? Paint the walls instead. It will make your life brighter, and like gardeners (and frugalites) say... there's always next year.


  1. My tomato harvest started in July this year .. it's usually August. It's been a good year for beans in my area, too. Now the bell peppers, eh, not so good. But as long as the freezer is full, it's all good.

  2. Exactly. As long as there's a harvest of something, we can't complain.

  3. My peppers did fairly well, my tomatoes did average, but my zucchini didn't produce at all. I think it got too hot too quickly for my lettuce and spinach, because they all bolted before they were even big enough to pick leaves from. The weather was also too hot for my cucumbers.
    I'm hoping to start my fall crops soon. Maybe the lettuce and spinach will do better if they are maturing in the cooler weather?

  4. I'm hoping so, Stacie. I planted peas, lettuce and radishes over the weekend, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

  5. Pat, that was really good advice! (You can't buy a new couch? Paint your walls instead.) It sounds simple, but it was really profound.

    I have a couple pieces of similar advice for people whose favorite hobby is shopping:

    1. Switch to garage sales and thrift shops.
    2. Go shopping in your own home. Most of us have the supplies for lots of different projects just taking up space. Why not finish those, instead of going out and buying more supplies that may just end up in storage? You can de-clutter, and at the same time, end up with a nice finished project.

    Lisa G

  6. Hi Pat Here at Alpine Ca, garden has done well untill the hot weather started last week, cube are now stunted, and all cabbage is starting to split.Made Kraut with them, and will hope that the new broc.califlower and cabbage will do well. I am going to replant gr. beans and see if they will mature for fall. My best gift
    this year is my compost from the compost pile last year, as i have winter squash,tomatoes,watermelonand other stuff for free where it was spred

  7. Thanks, Lisa. You're right about garage sales and shopping in your own home. It's all about doing what we can instead of fussing because we can't.

  8. hi
    i am a newbie (kind of) i know pat from frugal living...
    i have a patio had done well! lots of bells and hrebs and tomatoes...
    i love the comment about shopping in the house...
    i did that recently and found card making kits that i had bought, so i made birthday cards for my mom and my uncle..they loved them!

  9. My harvest was skimpy this year too and my tomatoes (Early Girls) never really took off either. I got some real small tomatoes as well! My broccoli was small and I did plant pepper plants too. One died in the heat the other is struggling! You just never know what to expect from season to season! This is why I don't depend solely on my garden! LOL

  10. I am in the middle of rearranging my rooms in my house. I am not buying anything new just using what I got! Really sometimes just scaling back on what you have is a great way to revamp your home and make it look new! I have been watching the show Hoarders and I am amazed at what people get attached to! I don't mind being Frugal but then saving everything for a rainy day doesn't make sense when it gets out of control! I am scaling down and unburdening my life at this time! Not that I have a lot but I do have things I can get rid of that will not cause me pain to do so! Being frugal does not have to hurt!

  11. I too had the strangest garden this year. It was a huge dissapointment though. I was lucky if I got 6 useable tomatoes out of 3 plants. I fertilized once a wek and watered deeply every other day. I have been gardening for over 20 years and have NEVER had any issues growing tomatoes. I have heard from several others too that they had a bad year also. I am hoping that next year is better. I cannot believe I have to buy tomatoes in the summer. *sigh

  12. I wish I knew what was going on. Makes me want to can and put up everything I can get my hands on.

  13. Last 2 weeks in Alpine Ca was so hot that many plants have died even with watering every day. Have put up 20 quarts of spagetti sauce
    from tomatoes that were ready. That gave me over 20 qts of tomato juice that will taste pretty good in a bloody mary minus the acohol at Sunday brunch this winter.I had to use all the peppers that were ripe also the onions as everything was cooking in the garden. Please
    send us your cool weather.

  14. I for got to ask, have any of you had 2 crops of apples on your apple tree, in one year. I harvested my Anna 4wks ago and as I was picking I noticed huge blooms
    that are now little apples the sizeof 50cents if this weather last
    untill Dec. we will have our 2nd crop of apples. I am fertilizing and lots of water. Hope that it will work as the apple sauce is so good. Please let me know.