If you’ve been reading my blog, you know I’m a complete newb to gardening so I was surprised with how easy stuff grew here. Bobby and I were gone for almost a month in the summer and I was sure that by the time we came back the garden would be dead. But that wasn’t the case at all! We even got this November harvest!

We started the garden season with two 4×8 garden beds and at first we were all organized, planning our beds with seedlings we were starting, but that took a huge turn when the seedlings died.Β πŸ™Β Β I still don’t knowΒ what the hell happened to them. They started getting this mold on them which some blogs said could be from over watering and recommended to take them outside. So I did, and nothing. I think I’m going to try peat pellets next year to see if that works better. I mean, it can’t be worse, right?!

It was around March, the seedlings died, and Bobby had built the garden beds so we rushed to some local garden centers and just started buying their seedlings. They weren’t too bad in price, but definitely not as economical as starting them ourselves. On the bright side, our neighbor was so sweet and gave us a couple of tomato plants that have been thriving which produced roughly 60 tomatoes this year.
tomatoes_garden
SoΒ just to get an idea of how easy stuff grew here, I totally forgot to transplant some sweet potato seedlings and left them on the soil on top of the garden bed to transplant “tomorrow” lolΒ (I think the problem was that I ran out of space more than anything). Anyways, they struggled their way through the container and gave us like 30+ HUGE sweet potatoes! I made a lot of indian dishes with those sweet potatoes like my crockpot sweet potato & chickpea recipe.
sweet_potatoes

The relentless sweet potatoes

Some other veggies that grew really well here were bell peppers – I think we planted too many of them though (16 seedlings) and ended up with tons of peppers. They just kept coming so I used them in everything – tofu scrambles, mexican dishes, soups, etc. Next year, I think we will properly plant the sweet potatoes and reduce the amount of peppers planted by half. Squash did well too. Planted two squash seedlings that produced around 10. What’s cool about squash is that the bugs don’t even touch them since they have such a tough outer shell.

mexican-squash-boat

Squash, peppers, & tomatoes from the garden

Strawberries, I’d rate a “C” for effort. We planted 6 seedlings and only got like 15 small strawberries. However, just when we thought the strawberries had died, they’ve started to look like they could come back. Apparently in some climates strawberries can be treated as perennials. They were really juicy so here’s to hoping they come back next year!Β 

strawberries

Yummy strawberries (these were the biggest ones we were able to grow this year)

Cilantro did not grow well at all but that didn’t surprise me. Cucumbers did well, but they required a lot more water than other plants. I’m thinking we add bigger holes to the waterΒ irrigationΒ around the cucumbers so they receive more water next year. Basil on the other hand did extremely well. I made vegan pesto a couple times and just added the fresh basil to all my Italian dishes.

basil

Fresh picked basil for vegan pesto

Another learning from our first year gardening were the plants that we will need to cover with mosquito netting for 2017. We didn’t use any pesticides and want to continue growing our food as organically as possible. Plants that will need mesh covering are tomatoes, cucumbers, and strawberries.

So those were some of our hits and misses for 2016. We’ve learned a lot and are hoping that each year just continues to get better and better!Β