As summer progressed and the weather ran its course, I noticed that after every single storm or crazy weather, the garden flourished. Even the banana peppers that looked like they would die grew into two large plants with a decent amount of peppers.
I welcomed the beetles, the pill bugs, the ants, the honeybees, the paper wasps, the dragonflies, the praying mantises, and the cicadas. There was so much life; especially bunnies and lizards―all from a small garden I can barely walk through!
I learned to stop obsessing over my plants and accept that nature will do what it will. By the end of July and the beginning of August, I managed to harvest some sun sugar tomatoes, green zebras, banana peppers, and pepperoncini peppers. The heat wave stunted the growth of most of the nightshades with many of the blossoms breaking off. I didn’t have a massive harvest, but enough to make at least 5 delicious salads and a plate of Eggs in Purgatory. I cooked the banana peppers with salmon and capers―absolutely divine!
The most rewarding harvests have been all of the fresh herbs: the basil, the tarragon, the pineapple sage, the thyme, the chives, the rosemary, the bay laurel, and the dill did so well. I cooked with these herbs all summer. One of my favorite things to do now is walk out to the garden beds and pick fresh herbs for breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.
I did lose a few goodies, however. My flossflower and dill did not survive the heat wave. I replaced the pots with Starcluster Lavender. Also, the Knockout Rose bush was eaten alive by something; it has no leaves! In fact, it barely has stems! The marigolds in the raised bed have also been eaten alive. It was all probably the slugs. I also had to divide my spearmint and replant a fraction of it since it was growing out of control and browning at the leaves.
My tomatoes now have developed some kind of disease. Even though they continue to grow (they’re 9 feet tall or higher now), I will probably get rid of them soon because the flowers have not grown additional tomatoes and the leaves are beginning to brown and curl.
As I look at how the garden unfolded, I do plan on making a lot of changes for next year. Even though I made everything so neat in the beginning, the garden had a mind of its own. The garden bed especially has been overrun with lantanas. In fact, it looks like a bush. The lemongrass also grew super tall, and overpowers the rest of the herbs. My once pretty garden bed now looks like an overgrown jungle. And, I’m not ready to cut it back because I’m still harvesting herbs and waiting for the lemongrass to mature.
After I harvest the lemongrass, I’ll be cutting a lot of foliage back and prepping the garden for fall and winter crops.
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