When it comes to gardening, I have never had much success except with cucumbers. One year I tried growing zucchini, which everyone seems to have too much of, and I didn’t get any. Now, that was before I created a raised bed garden, and the soil of my yard was probably deficient in whatever it is zucchini plants need. When I finally learned about raised bed gardens, and built one, I also had read that I would do better buying a garden-ready tomato plant at the farmers market than trying to start one from a seed. And I did get several tomatoes that year, though I was never sure whether I had saved more in having tomatoes from my own garden than what I had spent on the plant (though of course my tomatoes were riper and fresher than what I would get from the supermarket).
Unfortunately, I didn’t find out until last summer that you’re not supposed to try to grow tomatoes in the same spot year after year. Last year’s plant started out looking great, but I think I got maybe one tomato from it. A nearby tomato plant, however, which I didn’t plant but apparently grew from a seed of a fallen tomato (one left on the plant too long the previous year and gone bad, then allowed to simply fall to the ground and nourish the soil), more or less made up for it.
I built a new raised bed garden last year, in a different part of the yard, because the original one was in an area of the yard that needs to be regraded so the water from the sump pump doesn’t keep pooling next to the house – no problem in the summer, when we have the long hose attached, but in the spring I have to keep taking off the hose when things start to freeze again (we learned from experience that it’s bad when the sump pump motor spends all its time trying to get rid of water that can’t get out because the hose is blocked by ice), then it thaws and rains hard before I get a chance to put the hose on again.
I was afraid the new garden wouldn’t get enough sun for tomatoes, which is why last year’s tomato plant stayed in the old spot. And this spring, with so many businesses closed due to COVID-19, it didn’t look like there would be a farmers market, at least not until too late to plant the garden, so in April I tried getting a plant from Menards. (That hadn’t worked well when I tried it before, but that might also have been before I built the raised bed garden.) I kept it indoors until mid-May, but took it outside for at least a few hours on warm days to get used to outside weather (one of the benefits of working from home is that I can do things like that now).
As you can no doubt tell, I’m not a very knowledgeable gardener, though I’ve tried to learn some stuff from books and online articles. I know nothing about different kinds of tomato plants (at the farmers market I always requested “a plant that will grow for anyone, without a lot of attention”), so at Menards I just looked for healthy-looking plants. I got one that said it was a “small-fruit” tomato plant, which I figured was good because I mostly buy grape tomatoes anyway for salads (at least at the supermarkets, they seem to be more consistently better quality than larger varieties). I also decided to try zucchini again this year, since it’s related to cucumbers and they have done well for me.
Maybe the garden likes having me home during the day, though I don’t spend much time on it. Maybe we’ve had really good weather. Maybe I did a better job this year with the plant food (something I never knew about either, until a few years ago). Maybe I was lucky with the tomato plant I bought. But it is just growing all over the place (including having gone through holes in the mesh so some of my tomatoes are now growing outside the garden), and I can’t count how many dozens of little green tomatoes I have.
The zucchini plant is also doing quite well, so much so that apparently this little garden is not big enough for both it and the tomato plant. There are lines of tomatoes growing in the middle of the zucchini plant, and last week I finally discovered two zucchini also hiding among the leaves, which have spread through most of the garden. Not very big zucchini yet, I thought, so I left them to grow some more.
Yesterday I decided to pick one of the zucchini, and it turned out there was a lot more hiding under the leaves than I had realized. A lot more! According to the kitchen scale, it weighs over two pounds. (The tomatoes each weigh about a fifth of an ounce.) I don’t think I’ll need to buy any zucchini or tomatoes for a while.
But cucumbers? I guess the cucumber plant can’t compete with the zucchini plant, because there is not a single cucumber in my garden.