Dreams of a Garden

This summer, and what seems like every summer, I have grand ideas of having a lush vegetable garden.

And each year, my attempts fail miserably.

Summer 2009 was my first summer in the house that Kyle and I live in now. It was the most successful use of a green thumb that I have ever had. I grew tomatoes, green beans, okra, yellow squash, and a few other things. Because it was just me, and I was bran-new at gardening, I only grew a few of each kind of plant. Even though some of the veggies turned out tough, or were more enjoyed by insects and birds than by me, I still squeezed out a small harvest. I actually got to enjoy a few meals with the things that I had grown with the work of my own hands. It was a very rewarding experience.

In December Kyle and I were married, and my house became our home. As springtime approached, I already found myself dreaming about a vegetable garden for the summer.

But last summer proved to be my busiest season of life yet. In early May, Kyle traveled to Olive Branch, Mississippi with APX (now Vivint), a home security company to sell alarms. I was able to join him on the weekends while I finished out the school year teaching my third graders. Talk about an interesting time to be newly-weds! Just as school let out for summer, the office he was working for moved to Jackson. I had just been able to join him in Olive Branch, when we packed up and made the move. Whew. A few weeks later, I was enrolled in a class at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock trying to wrap up my gifted and talented teaching certification. This required me to teach a two week summer program called SLUFY for gifted and talented students in the Little Rock area. I traveled home to Arkansas for two weeks, what seemed like eternity, to teach my part of the program. Later I was able to return to Jackson to be with Kyle, but all the while I was making middle-of-the-week treks back to Arkansas for required teacher professional development and training. Before I knew it, it was time for school to start again and summer was changing into fall. Needless to say my car was my best friend last summer, and I had zero time to think about much of anything, especially vegetable gardening.

This year, after making the decision for Kyle to take a new job, I knew that we were going to be at home in Arkansas for the summer. Yay! I could have a garden! I did a little bit of research (but not near enough) about container gardening and thought that I could give that a shot. Seemed easy enough, and Kyle was on board. We went to Walmart and got some basic supplies, picked out what we thought were easy to grow plants, and set to work. We filled the containers with tomatoes, bell peppers, and jalapenos in less than an hour. We also planted a blackberry vine and a few blueberry bushes that I had bought from Lowe's earlier in the spring. We were really excited about the potential of container gardening, but this summer has to top the list of worst gardening attempts ever.

Here was our grand harvest for this year. Two red (maybe orange?) bell peppers the size of ping pong balls. Embarrassing.

We honestly don't know what happened. We planted kind of early, hoping to get a jump start on things. Here in the South there is always the risk of a frost in late spring. When the late frost came, we moved the plants inside. We even had bad hail storms and heavy winds during April, and we brought the plants inside then too.

Needless to say we are clueless when it comes to growing a garden, and obviously need to do some more research and honestly probably some harder work.

Here is our container garden now.

The blackberry vine has dried up in the hot sun. Up until this week we had not had a good rain in a very long time. I have a good friend that has a whole trellis of blackberry vine that was such a beauty at the beginning of the summer that is now slowly turning into a brown skeleton. It's so sad, but it's just so hot.

Those tomato plants never even blossomed. At least the bell pepper and jalapenos still have leaves.

I am very thankful for one thing though.... my beautiful blueberry bushes. :) They actually produced about a handful of blueberries this year. They are my favorite. They remind me of my grandma. And they are still looking very hardy and are continually putting on new growth. I pray that they are able hold on so I will be able to have them next year. 

Kyle and I are already working on a new vegetable garden plan for next year. What we want to do is going to take a lot of work, some of which we have already started, but I am convinced that we can make it happen.

I was going to share with you today what we have already started working on, but I think that I will save those details for tomorrow.

Much love.

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