I can’t say I didn’t expect it.
What I didn’t expect was that it would go down to deer. Not weeds, or lack of water. Deer utterly destroyed the garden, and more so by trampling it than eating it. It looked like a herd thundered through it. Mucky must’ve had an off day to allow this.
Even with the destruction and inconvenient conclusion that a deer fence is vital, guard horse notwithstanding, I’m happy with my gardening success this year, and even post-deer, there are quite a few meals on the ground.
The scarlet runners were as fail-safe as always, and many escaped the depredations. I’m sorry I missed the amazingly quick spiral climb they do up their trellises. The other beans and peas, despite being completely defoliated (by the looks of the stalks, they were quite healthy before attack), forced out a fair number of pods. Celery- healthy, ignored, but not long like you’d buy in the store at all. All leaf.
The corn are the most successful and unmolested vegetables, if you don’t count the zucchini that won’t fit in the fridge. I’m already wise enough to only plant one zucchini. A megalomaniac among squash, they are. Tomatoes, trampled, although my upside down tomatoes are passably successful. Possibly too much water. They aren’t reddening, although I hear everyone’s tomatoes are doing that.
I got the cutest, perfect cucumber- amazing considering total neglect and trampling. I’m surprised it had enough heat, likewise for the jalapeno peppers, which also came through. My favorite of the flight-of-fancy plants, though, is the watermelon. At the end of a gnarled, shriveled, pale thread of a stalk, a perfect, green sphere of a watermelon, exactly the size of a softball. ♥!
Of the ground crops, the beets and carrots could have stood more thinning and less stomping, but they’re tasty, and I don’t know yet what happened to the potatoes. I’m leaving them underground for now. The mystery is what happened to the above-ground half. Were they mowed down? Potato plants can’t be that tasty. Did some blight sweep through? They just don’t exist anymore, and they were knee high and thriving when I left.
I knew that it was terribly neglectful to leave it for over a month while gallivanting the world, but the whole gardening exercise was a learning experiment anyways this year. We are so fortunate to not depend on our gardens to survive. Because I wouldn’t, off this one.
All in all, I didn’t do half bad though. The mulch totally thwarted weeds, most plants grew very happily, and I learned something about a few crops- what they would prefer in the way of planting timing, care, sunny zone placement and soil balance. Not too bad an education for year one.
Above all: fence.