Don’t be mistaken! Our garden had terrific failures. Read for the truth!

This is a September look at the 2023 garden season so far.

Let’s start with the flooding. This was a rainstorm that delivered 3.25″ of rain so it was one of the bigger rain events we had this year, it wasn’t the only one that flooded most of our yard. The puddle in the lawn was more than ankle deep and mirrored many of our garden rows.

Our garden is 100′ (left right) by 70′ (deep).

AKA It’s a BIG space with a lot of water!

After the plant sale, prepping the garden, taking care of the kiddos and ourselves… we ran out of steam. As a result, our zinnias never got planted, they stayed in their 2.5″ pots all summer. There is a bottom tray collecting water so these plants were mainly sitting in water all season.

I’m pretty surprised that many of the pots had all 4 plants survive especially with the beetle pressure.

I said survive… these are both Benary Giants and Oklahoma variety DOUBLE zinnias. These plants are about half their true height and many of the blooms are considered singles.

The colors make me happy so while I could call this a “fail” for so many reasons I won’t because I enjoyed them, we made a few boo-kays (bouquets) from them and the pollinators had fun too… enough to produce seeds which we’ll harvest as a garden craft project soon.

We forgot to plant a pumpkin plant and I made two mistakes with this plant.

First was NOT planting it in the ground. I’m pretty sure Dave thought I planted it and I thought he planted it. The hole is cut (and growing grass+thistle beautifully) and the pot is laying a few inches away on the ground.

The second mistake I made second was thinking this pumpkin was just growing inside it’s pot…  I was so wrong.

About mid-September I decided I would “help” it out and put it in the ground. Once I picked up the pot and hear “snap” I knew I made a mistake. The pumpkin root had grown through the pot, into the black fabric, and into the ground below.

*palm to the forehead* The vine shriveled up later that day. The half sized pie pumpkin is now turning orange on my kitchen counter… I’m not sure if it’s ripe enough to eat but I’ll search the interwebs to find out when it’s orange.

I was waiting for tomatoes to “blush”... I didn’t remember that I grew a variety called “LEMON” and one called “Green Zebra”… Yeah these were a little past their prime by the time I picked them.

Something was eating my tomato plants and a high on the vine tomato.

Hello horn worm.

They DO turn into the very cool looking hummingbird moth… BUT they chow down tomato plants and apparently can eat tomatoes. This tomato was a little smaller than a baseball…he was a very hungry caterpillar… what day does he eat the tomato AND the plant?

Teaching moment… This is what horn worm damage looks like as compared to just plucking off cherry tomatoes off their vine, looks similar, but not entirely.

Luckily, I only found two of these tomato chow monsters in my garden this season.

Oh, my basil… It’s short and… short!

I planted our basil underneath the cherry tomatoes. The basil was short and sad.

I said I’m never companion planting basil … they can get their own space in the garden!


You know what happens when you say “never”… yeah I found out that horn worms don’t like tomatoes with basil nearby.

And you know what? The only horn worms I had were at the tomatoes without basil.

Now I’ll be planting basil under all the tomatoes AND the basil will have it’s own place in the garden to grow big and bushy like I’ve grown before.

Beans… they are the easiest plant to grow… right?

Well I planted A LOT of beans this season – I planted plants, seeds, bush beans, pole beans – in four different beds in two different garden spaces.

I have yet to harvest more than a handful of beans this season.

The Japanese beetles came and decimated the leaves, bringing disease to ALL OF THEM. And what the beetles didn’t take out… our black lab went crashing through our last hope for a decent harvest.

I want to throw my hands up and ask for a do over… they are BEANS!

I promise new gardeners that they are the easiest plants to grow because it’s usually true. I hope by next spring I’ll be less salty about this defeat AND I’ll put out beetle traps earlier in the season so they don’t take up residence in the garden.

And to round out our real-world garden adventures… the pumpkins.

They are beautiful.

They are just now turning orange…Those pumpkins you see at farm stands and in stores?

Yeah, those are very likely local so our pumpkins are for sure behind because we planted them late… *smirks* at least we planted them right? *smiles* see above.

I wouldn’t call it a fail, but a reminder that my garden was planted later so the results came later regardless of the weather, pests and pet pressure.

So, did your garden have ups and downs like mine did?

Send me a note and tell me all about it!


P. S. Garden stories are THE BEST part of my week! I can’t wait to hear from you!

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