Gardener Story: Jennifer & Perry Johns

The Hills and Valleys – Build It Up Year 2


            My husband and I both have go-getter personalities. We like to tackle a project, get good at it, and get moving to the next thing. Last year (our first year gardening), our hills were growing beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, white potatoes, corn, cucumbers, sugar snap peas, and tomatoes to name a few. Our valleys were melons, squashes, Mexican bean beetles, grass in the pathways, cabbage worms, and fruit.
            This year, feeling confident in what we had accomplished last year, we were set to climb out of last year’s valleys and continue onward and upward with the things we were already proficient in growing. Fast forward a few months into our garden and I am ambivalent regarding our situation; most of our hills and valleys just flip-flopped! I was shocked to see that almost none of my root vegetables from seed took, even after two plantings. Some of my potato plants just died and we haven’t seen nary a bean beetle.
             My cucumbers, tomatoes, onions just seem stunted and my sugar snap peas barely produced before they were done for the season. Some things didn’t change despite increased efforts, cabbage worms and persistent grassy pathways. Also, oddly, last year I heard about aphids but I had to look them up because we didn’t see any. This year phrases like, “Oh, that’s an aphid.”, and “What’s the flea looking thing devouring the eggplant?” have been expressed.
              Thankfully, while some valleys persist, we have tremendous anticipation for our promising looking squash tunnel, we are devouring and freezing an abundance of fruit, we still have eggplants, and are still enjoying the journey!

More images from the Johns’ garden!