Gardening at my house looks a little different this year. At a time when seemingly everyone has a sudden interest in growing their own food, I opted to cover my vegetable bed with a plastic tarp to smother all the weeds. This has been my plan since last gardening season for two reasons:
- I needed to get the weeds under control — they were bad enough to actually impact the growth of some of my vegetables.
- I am too busy with grad school to devote the time and energy it takes to tend a decent-sized vegetable garden.
I decided to try containers this year so I could still grow some things. It’s just easier and far less time-consuming. I planted two containers of Contender bush beans, two containers of San Marzano tomatoes, and a container of strawberry plants.
Well, the strawberries aren’t really going to produce this year. I’ve gotten two berries so far. Mostly the plants are just spreading. This is fine, and I expected it. The last time I planted strawberries, I didn’t get a decent crop until the second year. I think they will be in good shape for next year.
The San Marzanos are coming in, but I’m picking and tossing a lot of them due to blossom-end rot. I’m trying to diagnose what’s causing that so I can at least salvage some of my tomatoes.
Finally, the Contenders. This is my first time growing bush beans. My husband, who is not a fan of vegetables in general, likes green beans. But I honestly thought he only liked canned green beans (store-bought, that is, not home-canned). He actually encouraged me to grow these and said he would eat them.
They are easy to grow, and the plants are producing well. I’ve picked enough over the past three days to prepare some for dinner tonight. So I have them simmering away in the slow cooker in some vegetable broth, seasoned with a bit of sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.
To me, this is a victory. It may not look like the gardens I’ve had the past few years. And I’m certainly not getting the same yield. But I’ll take any success I can get in 2020.
I’ll definitely be growing these Contenders every year.
There is a time for everything. Once you finish grad school, you may have the time to do the gardens as before…or you may decide you really like the container method. Do what you can do, and don’t feel any guilt for not doing it as in the past.
I’ll probably do a bit of both. But I’ll plant good companion flowers with the vegetables next year.
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