If you have been reading my blog, you know that we have attempted and failed for a number of years to grow a vegetable garden here at our home in North Carolina. We went from your standard in the ground open to the critters garden in 2012, while it started out great and it looked like we would have a bumper crop of fresh tomatoes, that dream ended when one morning I discovered all the green tomatoes had vanished off the vines overnight. I blamed Big Foot, but it was more than likely a family of light fingered raccoons who discovered the open air grocery store and pilfered the tomatoes, leaving no evidence behind. Garden-1, Us-0
In 2013 we built our garden cage out of a carport and fencing. We covered the entire thing, including the ground with fencing. It was bolted into wood and anchored down with fence posts. We even grounded it, in case of a lightning strike. This thing was going nowhere and nothing uninvited was getting in. We planted and set up a watering system on a timer and awaited our glorious yield. We planted tomatoes, peppers, zucinni, lettuce and cucumbers. Alas, another failed year. Not enough sun, too much water, we just could not figure it out. The tomato plants grew straight up but yielded no fruit. The pepper plants tried but only succeeded in giving us one tiny pepper. Garden-2, Us-0
Not wanting to give up, we tried again in 2014 and 2015. We had some trees cut down hoping to get more sunshine on the garden, we adjusted our watering schedule to account for less sun, we monitored and begged those plants to grow. Again, tomato plant grew up at an alarming rate, reaching at least 8ft, but no fruit. The pepper plants grew slowly and tried valiantly to give us what we wanted but lost that battle. We did containers one year and raised beds another year. The only thing that grew was some Swiss chard, and it didn’t show up until winter. Garden-4, Us-0
Now it’s 2016, this year we have left the garden cage and moved back into containers. We watched the sunshine in the yard and picked a place that is almost in the center of the yard to place them. We relocated our watering system and downsized to four containers. We have four tomato plants, three pepper plants, and numerous pepper plant seedlings. We also have a unique lettuce growing system on our deck railing that consists of a rain gutter attached to the railing with drainage holes drilled in the bottom. I think this year we have a fighting chance. Already the tomato plants are growing tomatoes, and are not spiking towards the sky. The lettuce is growing quite nicely, and the pepper plants are trying their best. It’s still early in the season, so only time will tell. And as an experiment we are growing watermelon, mini cucumbers and potatoes on a small area by our driveway that gets sun and was grass free.