Food & Drink Magazine

2016 Garden Education, Fails and Heart Break

By Irene Shaver @hhwife
A little update about the garden this year.  I suppose this is really for my own records and perhaps a bit of venting ;)  It has been a really tough year here in Ontario.  We have been hit with a drought. There has been such little rain we have had to get our well filled twice this year, which in his 40 year history has never been done.  The lawn is completely brown and the leaves fell off the poplar trees already in July.
2016 Garden Education, Fails and Heart Break
The garden has taken a huge hit.  Since we are really trying to conserve the water I have not been out there much with the hose.  The soil is also depleting in nutrients and becoming quite attractive to various pests.
2016 Garden Education, Fails and Heart Break
2016 Garden Education, Fails and Heart Break  My sad tomato plants.   Many of the tomatoes on there are getting brown bottoms because they  aren't absorbing enough calcium. 2016 Garden Education, Fails and Heart Break
Early this summer I had to pull out all the cucumber, zucchini, watermelon and squash plants due to the cucumber beetle.  I tried to spray naturally but they were repopulating themselves much quicker than I could manage.
2016 Garden Education, Fails and Heart Break
Come July I was faced with the dreaded potato bug.  Yuck, I was so glad to have 6 year old around to help me pick them off the plants.  She was such a trooper.  My 8 year was out there spraying the plants with some diluted peppermint oil.  Thankfully we managed to rid the plants of these pests in about a week.  I found these ones so gross, I won't bother posting a picture...
I am now experiencing other bugs on the cabbages and the kale...oh no not my precious kale!  It has been quite heart breaking and I find myself avoiding the garden because of its disappointment.
This will be our fourth fall here with the apple trees.  The spring showed great promise as there were thousands of blossoms, many working bees and then tonnes of apples.  The apples now however are half their normal size.
2016 Garden Education, Fails and Heart Break
With all this said, I will take this as a big learning curve.  Isn't that what a homeschooler should do ;)  I will plant a few things later into the spring and let the compost break down even further before spreading on the garden.  Next year I will also be adamant about adding another layer of manure down in order to bring back some nutrients.
On the upside, my 6 year old planted ground cherries from seed in the spring which we planted in the garden in June.  They are doing so well and she is super thrilled.
2016 Garden Education, Fails and Heart Break2016 Garden Education, Fails and Heart Break
We have also learned that cherry tomatoes, onions, peppers, pole beans, swiss chard, kale and snow peas don't require as much water as we are still reaping those rewards.
2016 Garden Education, Fails and Heart Break Despite the frustration, my husband and I have both been thankful that we live in an area that still has water available.  Perhaps it isn't always in our well but with one phone call, clean water is delivered the very same day.  We do live in a safe, healthy and abundant environment that is just a little dry right now ;)

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