So here we’ve got the last harvest of the year. Having a vegetable garden to take care of while the planet apparently fell apart around usreally kept me sane. Gardening was that the real definition of treatment this season.
My last huge harvest was October 15, 2020. (I’m in zone 6a New England)
Best Crop: Cucamelons
Worst Crop: Peas
Impressive Crop: Hops
Wasn’t Super Impressed: Ground Cherries
Garden Tragedy: Bean Teepee Breaking & Falling Over
Favorite Herb: Pineapple Sage
Favorite Good Bug: Praying Mantis
Runner-upward: Honey Bee
Pests/Disease: Potato Bugs/Fungal Disease on Morning Glory Foliage
The conclusion of this season came a bit sooner than anticipated. It went out of a 60 degree day to 20 levels with snow under 24 hours. Then, the weather moved back up to 60 as though nothing had occurred.
Of class, after frost strikes, that is game over. Right prior to the frost struck, what sounded magnificent.
The peppers were generating , the cherry tomatoes were still going and the herbs were giant sized! The Pineapple Sage was around 5 ft tall and loaded with red blooms.
I was really impressed with how well everything did this year. There were only a couple of big lossesbut that’s to be expected. Most crops exceeded my expectations.
I feel like this year’s garden deserves a special shout out for helping my mental sanity. With that being said, it’s time to give out some awards to my top performers!
3. Black-Eyed Susan
I ordered two pea trellises from Gardener’s Supply early in the season. Since they came late and this year was terrible for peas, I ended up growing some pole beans and Black-eyed Susan vines instead.
I harvested my beans and then decided to let my flower vines take over the trellis. They did such an amazing job and I absolutely loved it!
When you become a gardener, you’ll make plans at the beginning of the season. But, nothing ever goes as planned! I’ve learned to just go with the flow over the years, and it usually ends up turning out better than you originally expected!
2. Cardinal Climber
I cannot say enough good things about the Cardinal Climbing vine. It has been my absolute favorite for years.
The hummingbirds go absolutely nuts for it, and once it starts growing, it takes off so quickly! The foliage is super unique and the blooms are vibrant with a tropical flare.
I briefly discussed about growing this vine in my post The September Garden.
Fun Fact: The Cardinal Climber vine is actually a hybrid. It is a cross between a red morning glory and a cypress vine.
This can be a tricky flower to grow here in Massachusetts. Our season is very short, so my trick is starting the seed early indoors.
You can plant the seed directly into soil once the chance of frost has passed. Although, I find when I do this, the seeds don’t have enough time to mature before frost hits. It can take a few months before these flowers hit their prime.
During the months of June and July, the foliage looks absolutely amazing, but I usually don’t get a flower or bloom until August. You need lots of patience for this one. It’s well worth it!
I was at one of my favorite garden centers searching through the greenhouse that was full of tomato plants. I was thinking of getting two hanging baskets filled with tomato plants. I’ve always wanted to try growing them like that.
While I was hunting for the perfect baskets. I came across the hops plants. I was completely fascinated. I had always wanted to grow hops, I just didn’t really know where to find them or what they required.
Since the fence around my vegetable garden was finally finished this year, I decided that would be the perfect place for some climbing vines. Turns out I was right. They did very well for their first year of growth.
The common hop vine/bine is a perennial and can take up to 3 years to fully mature.
Rose ‘Julia Child’
3. Garden Toad
This little dude took up residence in my veggie garden this year. I’d see him hopping in and out of my raised beds.
He would hide under the Nasturtiums on hot days, chill inside a muddy pot when it rained and he loved the toad abode. I also turned some terracotta pots on their sides for him to hide in. I mentioned him in my post The August Garden. I grew very attached to him!
I sacrificed some of my geraniums I had grown from seed since he took a liking to them. Below you can see him relaxing in his own personal pool. I also let him enjoy my purple sweet potato vine. The leaves provided him good coverage and safety.
2. Praying Mantis
I absolutely adored having these guys around this year. One took up residence on the cucamelon trellis, another in the lemon cucumbers. Some seemed to like the bean tower that fell over. Others and the cosmo flower foliage. I even had a lady mantis who liked my greenhouse.
I started to notice them beginning to leave at the beginning of October. Then, I noticed my greenhouse lady left an egg sack on some ornamental grass by the greenhouse. Even though she is no longer with us, her ootheca remains.
I found solace hanging out in my greenhouse at night. One night, she came over to investigate me. I think I passed the test.
1. Dot (My Buff Orpington Chicken)
Dot, along with 4 White Sultan chicks arrived in my life on April 8, 2020. They came during quarantine and really helped me focus on something positive, raising chickens.
Dot is full of personality! When she was a baby chick, she would greet me every morning by jumping up on top of my head. She loves attention along with demands cuddles.
She likes spending time in the vegetable garden and is very good at weeding. She also has a love of cucamelons, lemon cucumbers, parsley and lemon balm. Dot actually inspired me to write the post What Can Chickens Eat From My Garden.
Here’s a throwback video of a young Dot exploring my garden back in May.
This young hydrangea impressed me right at the end of the season. I didn’t expect it to bloom this year!
Pooh Swan Island Dahlia
A dahlia inspired by Winnie The Pooh? Count me in! This anemone variety really does hold up nicely as a cut flower!
Dragon Tongue Bean
Bush Bean ‘Phaseolus vulgaris’
I loved growing Dragon Tongue beans this season. This bush variety produced large 7″ pods that were mesmerizing.
This was my first real successful season growing carrots. The difference? Completely ignoring them! I didn’t check on them 24/7 and waited until the end of the season. It worked!
I don’t make any natural dyes, but if I did, this would be my top choice! The color of these berries transfers very easily and is super vibrant! This was my first year growing this kind of spinach, and I absolutely loved it. The flavor was excellent and the berries were really fun.
and that is a wrap on the 2020 backyard!
It was hard not to feel uneasy and unsteady during many different points this year. I’m so very thankful to my vegetable garden.
It kept me grounded. It kept me balanced. Most importantly, it kept me sane.
Focusing on growing something tangible kept me positive and optimistic. A safe haven that is a garden silences this outside world and surrounds you with a feeling of peace. My hope is that things change for the more and that 2021 holds a future filled with brighter days.
As always, thank you for reading!
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