Garden Diary 2008

I’ve gardened for all of my married life until 2004, when I was diagnosed with colon cancer and had to have abdominal surgery. I’d felt so ill that spring that I tore out my lovely little garden, which was right outside the kitchen door, and planted grass. For the next three years I pouted about not having my vegetable garden, but didn’t feel well enough to tackle it until spring of 2008. I started small, just a three-foot wide strip next to the fence at the east side of our property, and a small space next to the fence on the west side, next to my two blueberry bushes. I planted three "Celebrity" tomatoes, two red bell peppers (six more went into flower gardens in the front yard), a double row of Burpee bush beans, each row about 8’ in length and planted three more rows, each two weeks apart, using leftover seed from 2004. I also planted one hill (4 seeds) of yellow crookneck squash, one hill (4 seeds) of zucchini, and a tiny two-square-feet patch of mixed lettuce for the pet rabbit. In the blueberry bed I planted two cherry tomatoes and two pots of bush cucumbers.

Everything was growing well, although I lost a few of the large bean plants and half of the squash seedlings to cutworms. I protected two of each squash plants with cutworm collars made of toilet tissue rolls, and never saw any more damage. Then, on July 1, we had a couple of very strong wind gusts that split our large maple tree in half, and the entire east garden was crushed under a huge branch.

We had to call a tree removal company to remove the entire maple tree, and they were quite careful when they lifted the branches off the garden. Quite a few of the bean plants were wiped out, and a few stems broke off the zucchini plants, but there wasn’t a lot of damage otherwise. Of course, the fence was crushed, giving our two puppies access to the garden, so they found the bed of lettuce was a lovely, cool place to nap and nibble.

I immediately purchased new fencing (under $100 for materials) and moved it further into the yard to give me space for some raised beds. I had quite a bit of lumber in the garage, saved from several years ago when we removed a deck from the back of our house. It was good redwood, 2x6 lumber, and enough to build four 4’x4’x12” deep beds and one 3‘x4‘x6“-deep bed that I‘ll use for shallow rooted greens. I purchased a yard of top soil for $18 and a yard of “leaf and twig” composted steer manure for $20. That was a good buy, as I had asked for regular compost but they were out, so they gave me the more expensive blend at the same price.

I had planned on leaving the beds empty until next spring, adding lots of chopped up leaves and more compost later this fall. But…I couldn’t resist. So here is a diary of my garden, my very first summer planted garden. I’m hoping I have a harvest before winter.


  1. I love your blog! Great job!!!!!!

  2. Thanks, Barb. I loved your Zucchini Pie!

  3. What a challenge start granny.

  4. It was a lot of hard work, Toni, but well worth it. The yard was too shady for a decent garden, so it was a stroke of luck when the tree came down. I do miss the shade, though.

  5. I have a cottonwood tree just north of my SFG. It needs to be cut back a bit.

    Looks like you've come a long way since last year!

    You've inspired me to try some purple beans next year!

    Thank you Granny for sharing your gardening with us! I do enjoy reading your blog posts.

    Back to work for me... It's "house finishing" day... I'm mudding while hubby is installing drywall...

  6. Hi Granny!

    I did it! I read thru your entire blog... I made note of sooooooo many recipes.

    Granny, you have inspired me to have my best garden yet.


  7. Farmer, I'm so proud of you! When I get an internet connection (other than in the truck at the library) I might even blog about you and Wendy, who are probably the only two who have read it completely through.