I know something you don’t know.

But I’m awful at keeping a secret, so I’m gonna spill it now.


Here goes:

I’m kind of a big deal in the garden.

I grow mountains of tomatoes, zucchini the size of my forearm, garlic bulbs you could play softball with.  Peppers, lettuce, spinach.  And herbs.  Oh, the herbs.

Our backyard is a veritable wonderland, I tell you.  My baskets floweth over.  I provide my neighbors and loved ones with the bounty I can’t manage to use in my own kitchen.

Go ahead.  Hate me.  I can take it.


False.  All false.  In case I actually needed to tell you.

The only things I tried to grow this year were a half dozen varieties of herbs and tomatoes.  The herbs are mostly all dead – I guess you could say I lost interest around the time I lost the baby.  Harsh but true.

The tomatoes, on the other hand, are doing better than I’ve ever managed.  Of course that isn’t saying much – last year I ended up with three or four tiny specimens which barely qualified as grape-sized.

This year I bought six tomato plants – figured I’d take it easy and not jump in feet first without being certain of success – and so far all but one have yielded fruit.  I just don’t know why that one isn’t giving me anything.  Its neighbors are doing just fine, but not as well as they could.

As a result of the difficulties I’ve faced thus far in my gardening career,  I’m insanely proud of what I have managed to grow.

What I need to know now is this: How do I grow more?

I know that some of you brilliant, lovely people have grown tomatoes and other gorgeous fruits and veggies and have some tips for me.

I’m serious.  Teach me.  How does your garden grow? Because I want to have a successful, lush, bountiful harvest next year.  Any websites, books, articles, little pearls of wisdom you’ve picked up – hit me with your best shot!

I know that together, we can make my dream garden a reality.  And I’ll owe you one forever and ever.  Or I’ll just make some tasty goodies and send ‘em your way.

Deal? ;)

Leave me your gardening tips in the comments – please!

  33 Responses to “How Does YOUR Garden Grow?”

  1. I wish I could help, but I have killed cactus plants before.


  2. All I can give you is that I’m not good either. I tried… but the ONLY plant I can manage to keep alive is a peace lily and it doesn’t seem like it’s a “happy plant” at the moment either. :)

    Good luck – and I might stalk your comments to learn something more!

  3. I am as neglectful as a gardener as they come, but I still manage to yield a few things. Squash, beans, peas, and peppers are pretty easy. Weed, water, and feed. What part of country do you live?

    • Feed…? See? I don’t know anything!

      I live in New Jersey. America’s armpit. Or so I’ve been told.

  4. I will send you links etc… to help you :) Just not TODAY! (BIG SMILE…. HEAD POUNDING AWAY!)

  5. LOL! Having our first successful year of vegetables after YEARS of crappy harvest, I have no advice to tell you except don’t give up! I think amending our soil and adding more of it helped us this year. That and a good wet SoCal spring. Savor those tomatoes!

    • I definitely need to add something to soil, and from what I’ve learned so far I need to be more diligent about feeding too. Oh, I made something with the tomatoes today and let me tell you…whew! Amazing.

  6. Well, when we remember to water it, it grows pretty good! Though, we didn’t do any new planting this year. We’re still harvesting from our artichoke & strawberry plants from prior years and our graphed apple tree is producing apples this year on about half of it’s six main limbs (each main limb is a different variety of apple) and I can’t wait til the fall when we can harvest! But, in all seriousness, watering them is our biggest challenge. A few years back, we had a drip system on it and that worked sooooooo well. But, time & sun wore it out and we never replaced it. Your tomatoes are looking mighty great! :>

    • A drip system, eh? I’ve heard from people who’ve installed them as well. I can see how that would be super helpful. That’s so neat about your tree, I never heard of that sort of tree before.

  7. I wish I had good advice for you, but it seems like such a crap shoot. One year we’ll have great luck with zucchini, the next year there aren’t any. I haven’t figured out the magic fix. We’ve never had enough tomatoes to satisfy me. We’ve been composting so it seems to be getting each year.

    This year our sugar snap peas and green beans have gone wild. Our trellises were way too short so they grew up and over them and onto the ground.

    • Composting. There’s something I definitely need to start doing. Lord knows we have enough ‘raw material’ around here to start composting with! :)

  8. Oh! One more cool thing I did a couple of years back. Our lettuce was getting infested with afids. So we ordered lady bugs on-line. They came in a box of 5,000 I think. We released them into the garden and they ate all the afids and moved on when they were done. So far the afids haven’t come back.

  9. Lovely tomatoes! I’m in Nor Cal and ours have yet to redden, but hopefully the warm weather will hold and it won’t be long. My thoughts on growing are this: do not underestimate the value of companion planting. This means grouping your plants by those they thrive alongside. In fiction and in gardening, there are antagonists and protagonists, and certain plants will die when placed alongside another. Last year, I hurriedly put in soy beans alongside tomatoes, and while the tomatoes took off, the beans gradually withered and died–the result of sharing ground with a more aggressive plant (tomatoes are antagonists to beans) that sapped all the soy beans’ nutrient needs from the soil. This year I did my homework and planted the soy beans alongside its companions, eggplant and peppers. Currently, all three are lush and bountiful. Many companion lists are online, some are more thorough than others, but the companion rule applies to herbs too. For example, basil will wither when planted anywhere near rue. Other thoughts, I’ve had great results from continuing to apply additional nutrients throughout the growing season in the form of organic fertilizers and compost worked into the topsoil.

    • I definitely need to spend more time next year feeding the plants. That much I’ve learned. Thank you for the tips about companion planting! :)

  10. Jen, I come not with advice but the empathy of another what my green-thumbed friend calls ‘the black thumb of death.’ Actually, you sound far more garden-talented than I. Thank you for making me laugh and inspiring me to learn how to get better. So glad you followed me on Twitter so I could find your great blog!

  11. You know those plants that are viney and you keep in a bowl of water and they can grow anywhere? I killed one of those. So yeah, no, I’m no help. But I did enjoy the pics of your tomatoes :)

  12. I’m not much help, since I don’t have a garden this year. I’d like one though. Maybe next year? Wait, we’re not talking about me here, are we?

    All I can say is water and feed those suckers! We do live in pretty darn good soil, so I thought it was supposed to just happen? Or is that on movies?

  13. I have a million tomatoes and hot peppers, but if I don’t get to the tomatoes in time, they split. What’s up with that? I have all of these tomatoes that are just bursting at the seams. It’s so odd. On the other hand, my cucumbers are miserable. I feel your pain!

    • Hmm I’ve never had my tomatoes split, but then again I’m so all over them they don’t have the chance to do so. I practically hover. ;)

  14. I wish I had a green thumb too! But it’s terribly brown. When you figure it out, will you let me know? Because I LOVE garden fresh veggies :)

  15. I would recommend a book called square foot gardening by Mel Bartholomew. It is perfect for learning.
    I am so sorry to hear that you had a miscarriage. I had no idea. ~sending hugs~

  16. At first I was totally jealous and was going to ask you for your gardening tips. Ha!

    This is the first year I have planted a real garden in the ground. It wasn’t doing so well until I installed a drip system. Now, it’s taking off. My plants are growing like crazy. I have 1 pumpkin that is going to overtake my whole yard. So, if you don’t have a drip system I suggest that or sprinklers. Also, try covering the dirt with compost or something else so it doesn’t dry out. Last tip, at Home Depot they have these organic fertilizer stakes from company called Jobe (I think) and you put them in the ground next to plants.

    Anyway, those are my tips. Hope at least one helps.

  17. I have no tips for you; I’m pretty hopeless in the garden.

    I did once grow a few tomatoes, though – a couple of years ago. I found it incredibly rewarding, particularly when I was seeing the very first teeny tiny tomatoes starting to grow!

    • Isn’t it the best feeling? I was beyond overjoyed last year when I saw those first few little guys. Same thing this year, too. :)

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