Farmer Kristine??

Farmer Kristine??

It’s true! I’ve done it! I’ve eaten vegetables that I grew myself.

I planted last year’s vegetable garden on Memorial Day weekend.  I was really excited to be growing my own veggies, because who doesn’t love organic?  The list included cucumbers, tomatoes, green and red peppers, oregano, basil, and an eggplant.

Shopping for garden supplies!

Initial start-up cost: $95

Includes: eight bags of nutritious soil ($2 each), 13 plants for $2.50/plant, $4.99 for a roll of black landscape fabric (already had pins), 4 tomato cages at $2/cage, $2.95/panel+tax for 8 small garden fences, $2 for annuals, and $2 for a bag of mulch

Finally done clearing out the yard, laying down the soil, and planting!  That’s a good looking garden.

My Airbnb guests thought it was really cool, too.  I was out watering the garden every morning.  All was going well (except the cucumbers, which got rained out and died within two weeks).  The leaves were full and green, and there were tomatoes and peppers growing.  Then things went downhill fast enough that it may as well have been a cliff dive.  Tobacco hornworms swarmed the garden and ate all the leaves of the plants, and they left the garden bare.  I got a special organic spray to keep them away, but it was too little too late.  The garden was a goner.

The tomato plants were eaten within two days, and the peppers and eggplant were next.

I was on the fence about trying again this year, but figured it was worth a shot.  We picked up the same organic spray, and much to my delight, this year started out significantly better!  No tobacco hornworms!

Second-year cost: $43

Includes: two bags of nutritious soil ($2 each), 12 plants for $2.50/plant, organic spray ($6 for a bottle)

The annuals are the only thing to survive from last year… they’ve clearly taken over!

I got the area cleaned up, replanted the vegetables, watered diligently, sprayed the organic pest control twice, and the fruits of my labors paid off.  I have now eaten my own home-grown vegetables.  Granted, I only had four tiny red peppers (and could have bought a red pepper for $2 at Publix instead of the $138 I’ve put into the garden).  To say “farmer” is definitely a stretch, but it’s exciting to say “I grew those.”

Nom nom nom… they were delicious!

And then a different caterpillar came to eat my garden.  I’m officially disillusioned.  We’ve decided to rip out the garden and put down pavers next year instead.  The end.

Have you been able to successfully grow your own vegetables?  Any tips or tricks?  Should we try again next year, once the disappointment wears off?

2 Replies to “Farmer Kristine??”

    1. Thank you for Tip #1: “find a great LOCAL gardening blog and follow along. For me, that’s @nwedible, but since you’re in Florida, you’ll want to find someone close to you. Gardening tips vary quite a bit by region and it’s so helpful to have someone write to your area.”

      After some google searches, I found none of the purchased plants were on the recommended list for my area, even though they were all sold down the street two miles away! And apparently tomatoes would be okay, if they were planted in September!! The big box store set me up to fail. This is definitely a lesson of “research first” and “don’t be a mindless consumer.” 🙂

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