Summer Crop 2011: Part I

August 3, 2011

This year, my veggie garden is nothing to be proud of. Here’s what I’ve harvested so far.:

  1. Three small zucchini.
  2. Green beans for only two evening meals.
  3. Barely enough tomatoes for two adults.
  4. Plenty of lettuce and crook neck squash– ah, success here.
  5. Seven undersized orange sugar pumpkins.
  6. Lemon cucumbers and melons being consumed by something other than humans. (I harvest one watermelon. It was 18 pounds! There are at least a dozen smaller ones–success here–but some have been eaten into.)

Every day, since planting the summer garden, I nudge Ralphie into the early morning light. He does his business while I head for the chicken pen and open the hatch door so the hens can free range. I replenish the feed and clean out the coop and water dishes then meet up with Ralphie on the front lawn to walk the gardens.

Much of this summer has been cool. Before 7 a.m., when we venture outdoors, the air is crisp. By the time we stroll through the perennial garden then approach the vegetable grounds, my eyelids have opened wide. Ralphie wanders past the raised beds to stand at the pasture’s edge and twitch his nose for unusual scents. Unless a jacket rabbit or low flying bird lures him to break loose, he opts to stay out of the foxtail infested pasture. On occasion he’ll lose all common sense and bolt into the field crazed with fire and vigor. Eventually he returns decorated with irritating foxtails from head to foot. So this time of year, Ralphie imagines most of his doggie adventures on the sidelines.

While he dreams of a wild chase, I look over the veggie plants and vines. I imagine my own possibilities, those of daily harvests full and abundant. I am visualizing instead of harvesting because the garden is a flop. This is my second year cultivating from raised beds and the first of many gardens to produce so little.

A wimpy garden doesn’t sit right with me. It’s not my style, but it happens.

There are several reasons for the poor crop production. Some problems can be adjusted before next summer and others are out of my control. Next week I will explore the causes, share my mistakes, and nature’s influence so that, hopefully, we will learn together how to produce a sizable yield.

Stayed tuned for Part II of Summer Crop 2011.



  1. The simple pleasures of a few green beans, zucchini, tomatoes, lettuce and crook neck squash make life worthwhile. They prosper even amid the critter melon munching and poor Ralphie’s encounters with foxtails. bernadine


  2. […] vole. This doesn’t have anything to do with the poor yield previously mentioned in Part I, but it impacts how many veggies reach my dinner table versus the mouth of […]


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