Gardener Story: Justin Delp
This was our first year doing a garden and while it has had some hardships, we have absolutely loved it. There’s so much we’ve learned throughout this experience, like de-weeding early and often, putting fencing up to keep the bunnies from eating everything, and doing a drip irrigation system to keep from having to spend all our time watering it.
We tried out lots of different vegetables for our first year to try to see what worked and what didn’t. Our squash and zucchini have been thriving and we’ve loved getting to make different dishes with them. It’s so rewarding cooking with foods you grew yourself. Although, we did learn that the zucchini can die very abruptly. We also have started to have a problem with bugs on some of our winter squash, so we know for the future to be better about spraying and preventing them. We also probably should’ve given our winter squash (and maybe all the squash) more room because it definitely took over a big chunk of space.
Our tomatoes haven’t been harvested much yet, but they are doing great as well! We wish we would’ve started trellising earlier because they grew quick and they started to block some of our peppers and herbs. We know for next year to plant those farther away from the tomatoes. Thankfully, our peppers are still doing well along with our cilantro! They’re doing much better now that the tomatoes are all trellised. The bell peppers are now ready to harvest and we can’t wait to try them!
Our broccoli and kale are both thriving! We haven’t really had any problems with either and we’ve been able to harvest a lot! Our onions and potatoes are also doing well without having any problem, although we haven’t harvested those quite yet.
We’ve had some veggies that have still grown but had problems along the way, such as our eggplant. We’ve gotten to pick a few, but we have had a problem with bugs for it. It was really helpful learning about the different types of bugs in our virtual class so we could realize what the problem was and now we know better for next year. We also didn’t have great germination from our popcorn—three out of sixteen. But the three are doing well. And our cucumbers aren’t doing great but they’re still alive and producing.
Unfortunately, we didn’t have as much luck with some of the other veggies. Our basil died (but it might’ve been blocked by the tomatoes before we got them trellised.) None of our spinach, lettuce, or carrots made it. And while our edamame and sugar snap peas didn’t survive, we did buy more and are working on watering them in their containers so we can transplant them to the garden later. Sadly, it looks like we didn’t catch the bug problem with our winter squash quickly enough, so we don’t think those ones are going to survive.
Moriah definitely had times of regretting ever doing a garden when the weeds got out of control and we had to work hard to get them all pulled. (The most difficult ones were the ones that grew huge because we didn’t realize they were weeds until way later on.) Getting the walkways covered with cardboard made a huge difference and we wished we would’ve done it way earlier! We think next year, we’re going to put down mulch or hay. Hopefully, it’ll keep that pesky crabgrass at bay!
Our homemade drip irrigation system has been a life-saver and we’ve loved it! We’re planning on expanding it next year to do a grid system so everything gets covered better. But I’d say that was our biggest success of our first year as gardeners!
We’ve learned so much throughout this process, most of which has come through the virtual classes. We’ve definitely had trial and error too, but we have just loved getting tips and tricks from people who have been doing this for years and have had to learn the hard way. It’s been so helpful for us and we’ve loved getting to be in this program!