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Garden Report Card


Last year at this time, I was a gardening newbie.  Other than a couple of strawberries in a pot that were rather unsuccessful, I had never grown anything edible.

But I had grand visions and we built three raised beds.  And largely it was a success.  If I can do it with no background knowledge, so can you.

We started with three empty raised beds and a lot of gravel….


And planted some little sprouts in the them (wow my old camera was pretty crappy)…MOV02216

And by July we had this…DSC02382

Since it is now officially spring and am now a “seasoned” veteran, it is time to  plan for this year’s selections.

Should I have done this earlier?  Yeah probably.  Especially if I was going to start seeds indoors.

And this would be the case if that did not miserably fail at this task last year.  I blame the sunny window that was not sunny enough.


So this year we are sticking with plants that I buy and direct sowing seeds in the garden.  Once it thaws out I mean.

So here is what I planted last year -


Strawberries- A  We did not get a lot of fruit last year, but according to my sources that it normal and we should get a lot more this year.   Our lack of fruit also could be a result of a furry friend named Jack hijacking the fruit.  The entire summer, I was cursing the birds thinking they were the culprits.  Until Jack was caught not once, but four times with a perfect red wipe berry in between his paws.  Which he promptly ate as soon as saw him.  So even though this crop will not need to be replanted, a dog deterrent/fence will be in order.


Radishes- C  They grew very quickly and easily.  But I do not think we will replant this because Derek does not like radishes.  And other than an occasional one on my salad I am not huge on them.  So we decided that the garden real estate will be better served for something else.  But if you are new to gardening, this is a quick and easy crop to start with.


Red Leaf Lettuce- B  I really learned last year that lettuce is a cold season crop.  Once it it gets too hot, it starts to bolt and then tastes nasty.  So this will definitely be repeated this year but I will not be afraid to harvest some of it early and will replant a second crop for late summer/fall when in cools off.


White Onions- A  These were easy and we used them a lot.  I started these from an onion set which was easier than seed.  And they stored well.  Will be a repeat this year and I may add some purple onions. 

Chives-B These would get an A except we did not use them as much as I thought I would.  But they are a perennial and are already looking very robust in the snow.  Even if they did not I would be replanting.


Pole Beans-B  This grew after the bunnies decimated them twice (note to self to install dog and rabbit deterrent).  But the trellis I installed was not tall enough and I waited a little too long to harvest them.  So they were, well, stringy.  But I have learned from my mistakes and they should be spectacular this year.  At least I hope.

Sugar Snap Peas-F  One of the lowest grades in the garden because…well they never grew.  I replanted them twice and really thought that I had been successful.  But my “success” turned out to be giant weeds that I spent the summer fighting and no peas in sight.  But I will not be beaten by these peas and will be triumphant this year.  Hopefully.



Tomato-A  We bought this plant on a whim and ended up with so.many.tomatoes.  We are not huge tomato people, but the sauce and salsa and brushetta is already being planned for this year.


Jalapeño- A A random purchase and we ended up with tons of them.  Way too many for our Mexican nights.  So I gave a lot away and made jelly with them.  I was happy how that turned out and  a single plant does not take up too much space, so it is on the shopping list for this year..


Mint-A  We bought it for the mojitos.  And it did not disappoint.  Enough said.


Basil- A+ Probably the most used plant in the garden.  So easy to grow and so easy to use.

Parsley-C Looks pretty and was easy to grow but I did not find a whole lot of uses for it.  But it is a perennial so it is back.

Cilantro-F The only other F in the bunch.  I killed it planting it.  But let’s try it again.

Sage- C-See parsley.  Exactly.


Raspberries- Since they fruit during the second year, I can’t comment on that yet.  But they grew really well and I have high hopes for this summer

Carrots-D Since Derek is allergic to uncooked carrots (i know weird) and I hate cooked carrots these did not used that much.  Not to mention I really struggled with unearthing them.  As in hours digging struggled.  So these will not be repeated.


Pomegranate- B  I bought a dwarf pomegranate online last year.  And I had to plant it in a pot because it cannot survive the winter outdoors. So it is growing in my kitchen right now.  There is tons of fruit on it but I am a little unsure how big they will grow.  I can’t wait to see what it does this summer, especially now that it is in a bigger and prettier pot.

I am also planning on moving all the herbs out of the raised beds and into pots on the deck.  Why?  First of all I want to free up some space in the beds for some new things. And my hope is that if they are closer to the kitchen that they will be used more often.  And last but not least, the more pots I fill with herbs , the less I will have to fill with flowers.  There will be flowers of course, just not every pot.

So with all the new space what is going in there?

Here is what I am thinking, but I am open to suggestions and to my whims when I am staring at plants and I decide something looks good.

-Cantaloupe-  I love this fruit and they are not cheap at the store.  From what I read they take a lot of room but I am up for the challenge.  Maybe.

-Spinach- This will like lettuce in that we will not be munching on it in July, but we have been trying to eat more of it.

-Grapes-I really want a grape arbor.  Just need to figure out a place for it that will not look dumb.  We will see….

-Red Pepper- We use this a lot in cooking and hopefully it will as easy as the jalapeño

-Potato-  I am considering this but am still unsure.  They are cheap at the store and we really should not be eating them that much.  But I really like them.

-Asparagus-I think I might give this one a whirl because we should be eating more of it and it a perennial

So what do you think?  Anything I need to be adding or subtracting off my list?

11 comments on "Garden Report Card"
  1. Hey Jenny,
    #1. ilove to garden and im glad that you are giving it a whirl. ive grown things in pots mostly, but i have also grown things in a formal garden.
    #2. Suggestions: red pepper YUM!,cucumbers and spaghetti squash (watch out, this will spread!)
    #3. if you do asparagus, you will have to wait 2 years or more to reap those delicious little trees. BUT you will be graced with tall red fern like plants in the meantime.
    happy planting!

  2. I'm about to start my seeds for my herb garden. I've got a black thumb, but I am determined to have an herb garden on my patio this year. I'm starting from seeds inside. I want some strawberries, tomatoes and blackberries, too. It looks like you had a LOT of success. Congratulations!

  3. We keep talking about a veggie garden in the backyard too..

    Yours really took off last year! Can't beat Salsa, a year round fav for me...

    We have a huge cherry tree in our back yard, i'm thinking of grow starberries, squash and tomatoes and herbs...we'll see

  4. Very inspiring! We have had great success with tomatoes - pretty much the easiest thing to grow and the only thing we have tried. My favorites off your list are mint, basil, and jalapenos. I second the previous comment for cucumbers - gotta love fresh cucumber salad. I have also wanted to grow our very own pumpkin for fall (not quite sure when to start that). Your list looks great and very well rounded!

  5. I love gardening and am hoping to build some raised beds this year!! Thanks for the info and inspiration:)

  6. mmmmm.... mojitos. We used a lot of mint last year, too. Okay, I did. (Hands up)

    Sounds like a good plan. We had TONS of peppers last year, but I loved it and you can chop and freeze them which was nice. Hubby's trying potatoes and corn this year, which should be interesting. We also added sugar snap peas and took away eggplant. If you can, I would try cherry tomatoes. They grew really well for us and they are so satisfying and produce a lot, but it's easier to eat them on salads and just by themselves. =)

  7. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post and I'm definitely going to refer back to it. I am a newbie gardener, with a newly built home and a blank canvas of a backyard. I would love to have a garden! The info you provided was great. I love cilantro so it's too bad that it didn't work - keep us posted on how it does this year. :)

  8. Oh I'm so jealous of your garden! I wish we had the space to plan one of our own, maybe in our next place. I'd love to grow all sorts of fruits.

  9. we're getting to ready to start our seeds (can't plant until the end of May).

    I would definitely recommend growing bell peppers. They are so easy and if you've had good luck with the japeños, these should be easy too.

    If you do switch to herbs in pots, make sure to get big pots. Ours grow too fast, so we never get good herbs at the end of the summer. I'm upsizing our pots this year and moving the basil to the regular garden so it can flourish and I can make lots of pesto

  10. Hey Jenny! I love this post! I found this link today for a huge deal on a local coupon blog... looks like a great one. 200 bulbs for $11.99!

  11. Home dug potatoes can't be beat. They are easy to plant, grow, and dig. They are better than even the REALLY expensive new potatoes at Fresh Market.