Gardening Confession

by Becky Elmuccio on October 19, 2014


It’s was a tough summer for our garden. Between me being back at work full time and the winter that we had, things were either blooming too much or not at all. I figured I’d give an honest recap of our garden as we set about developing a plan to have a working kitchen garden with two working parents in our house next year. We can’t be alone in this endeavor and I hope to shed some light on how it can be done as we do it.

Winter Damaged Fig Tree - Crafty Garden Mama

First up is the fig tree. Oh, the poor fig tree. One of many that suffered from the harsh winter that we had in South Jersey, this poor guy was black and leafless for much of the spring. But, as the summer continued, I began to notice some leaves sprouting at the base. Recently, I was at Fordhook Farm at a luncheon for Burpee Seed Company, and I asked their fruits and perennials head what to do. Venelin said to cut the tree down to the point where the leaves were and keep them warm this winter. With the possibility of our first frost emerging this September, trim away I did and I have already set up the burlap to load in the leaves as they start to fall.

Neglected Tomato Bed - Crafty Garden Mama

Neglected Veggie Beds

Welcome to the beds. Oh the poor forgotten beds. The asparagus were affected by the cold too and we barely had any to enjoy this spring. I’ll give them another year to see how they do and if they don’t bounce back, I’ll order a new set. The tomatoes did ok, but we were so bad about picking stuff that the rabbits and squirrels truly enjoyed their organic dining experience this summer. The blackberries are getting trimmed back and posts put in order to make them more manageable next year. We grew grass really well in the bed at the top right!

Back Section - Crafty Garden Mama

The back corner and the new beds that I cleared last year were completely run over by grass and weeds. I have some serious pulling to do and there are some squash and pumpkins growing somewhere in there.

Peonies and Hydrangeas - Crafty Garden Mama

Hydrangeas and peonies were also hit hard by the winter and I am looking to transplant these away from the house to let them get some more sunshine and not have their root systems abutting my foundation. There are a ton of bulbs in here that also need relocating before the weather turns.

Front Lawn - Crafty Garden Mama

Grass seed will be the big ticket for the front lawn next year as it continued to languish. I think the share cast by the big tree in the front is a big factor, but I am hoping to remedy it.

Crape Myrtle - Crafty Garden Mama

So, what did do well this year? Our front crape myrtle was fantastic. This is the first year that ours bloomed like crazy and at the same time as the others on the street. In years past, we have always been 2-3 weeks behind on blooming.

We’ll be retooling what we do and how we do it for next year. I’ll be bringing you some details about the new 2015 Burpee seeds that I got a sneak peek at this past August. There are a ton that will help us out with our more limited gardening time, but still have great yields. Stay tuned!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Mychal B. October 19, 2014 at 2:11 pm

Our garden was neglected this year. Weeds took over and the animals enjoyed a lot of fresh veggies. We did get quite a bit out of the vegetable garden but with me being down all summer things looked a little unsightly. We also had a random pumpkin plant appear in our front bed that produced some big pumpkins. There is always next year!

I can’t wait to see what you do.


Lauryn October 19, 2014 at 9:34 pm

Can’t wait to follow you on the adventure of this year’s garden! In the midst of moving last year, we didn’t get the chance to garden much at all so I am looking forward to this spring so that we can get back in the swing of things too!


sandra krapf October 20, 2014 at 6:28 am

Becky,,, I enjoy reading your updates… my garden was so so… I really do miss picking tomatoes/cues/peppers… get bugged when buying produce at the supermarket… zucchini was great… my eggplants did not do well at all… made tons of stewed tomatoes and popped in ziplocs then freezer… so much easier than canning… found an easy pickle recipe also… I have to admit I did not plant anything for the fall harvest… it truly takes a lot of time/dedication/$$ to prepare/plant/harvest.. will await your “planning” ideas and short cuts to making your busy household less hectic while being productive… keep posting…..


Brian December 5, 2014 at 5:37 pm

The first step toward overhauling your garden is admitting you have a problem (kidding). Looks great! Hope to see future posts following its transformation.


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