There are brown thumbprints all over my garden!

One of my dreams is to be a fantastic gardener and have a huge fruit and vegetable garden, possibly even a small greenhouse, from which we grow most of our food. It’s a big dream, folks. For starters, we don’t yet have that much land. Someday maybe. Second, I’m a complete newbie.

This season is my second shot at gardening ever. Two years ago it was a bunch of containers on the deck at our duplex. The hot peppers did well, as did the cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and lettuce. All else failed, including broccoli, bell peppers, and a few other experiments.

This year, we’re in a new home. We spruced up the existing raised bed in the back and put in some strawberries, cucumbers, sugar snap peas, and two blueberry bushes on the side. Out front, we filled in some spaces with strawberries and flowers and three big hanging baskets full of flowers. Pretty. The side of our driveway was a giant ditch, so we filled it in and made it a raised bed, putting in three grape plants and some tomato plants. We also put in a huge row of arborvitae all along the back fence to eventually block out the weird semi-abandoned nursery behind us. My parents did a ton of the work to help me out on this project, by the way. Big thanks to them. Here are some pictures.

Backyard garden bed

Cucumber in garden bed

Grapes and tomatoes

It’s great! However, there’s a problem: new season, new house, same brown thumb. I would love to chalk it up to the bad weather, but I’m not sure if I can. The pea plants seem to be growing but have a brown base that is spreading. The strawberries aren’t producing fruit starts. One cucumber is completely dead.  Look close – it’s there, blending in with the dirt.

On a brighter note, the ditch garden seems to be thriving, there are a few patches of lemon balm (great for teas or cleansing baths) that were already there, and these tall and beautiful white irises from the farmhouse next door are peeking through the fence!

Lemon Balm


It’s a good garden.


About GirlDuck

I am a wife, mother, and homemaker who loves Jesus. I am married to an amazing man, Aaron, and I have three fantastic kids. I write this blog mostly to share information with others, record things for my own future reference, and pour out just a bit of my heart.
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6 Responses to There are brown thumbprints all over my garden!

  1. Stephanie says:

    Each year I try about 10 things and honestly, about 80% of them don’t make it. That’s the beauty of gardening though, each year you get to learn and try new things. My goals is to someday only lose 30% of my original plantings, we’ll see how that goes.

  2. Penny Dixon says:

    Hi Girlduck,
    My garden experience was one very similar to your experience. I am happy to read your sweet article and take a little rabbit trail down memory lane this morning. All that tilling and planting and shopping for plants, I remember well. Some would die, yes, but the ones that made it, I would be so excited!!! The master producers always seemed to be the ones we really didn’t need so much…why is that? Zuccini, squash, WEEDS!! My favorite plants would be the ones that usually died first or something else would eat them just when I was ready to harvest. Once I gave a whole raised bed to asparagus at the expense of other things like radishes and carrots. What I didn’t know was that you don’t really get a (crop) the first year and by year 3, I was done with asparagus. Ugh, it is hard work! Garden patience pays off though. There are rewards in planting gardens. The family time is valuable.. the memories you create are kind of their own harvest. They are some of “the fruits of your labor”. For example what I rember right now, more than the laborous part, the expense part or the disappointments, is the memory of my son, cruising the yard daily and picking what peas or tomatoes that did grow. The excitement when he found a cherry tomato or snap pea that had ripened and asking me if he could pick it yet? When I said yes, he would pop it in his mouth with a little smile and reply how yummy it was. That memory makes me smile… oh yeah… you think you are planting radish seeds…lol…what seeds have you really been planting? Live, Laugh and Love!!

    • GirlDuck says:

      That is so true! Thank you for pointing that out. The huge garden my family had in our backyard is a big part of my growing up memories. I can’t wait to share that with my kids! Jaron already has his little plot, and he’s better now with the plants. When I first tried it with him a few years ago he was SO young and he’d just run up to me smiling with the broccoli plant he just uprooted. 🙂 It was cute though.

  3. Lawson says:

    It may be an issue with the soil that is in the raised bed, too. I tried growing some herbs in potting soil in a flower box on my porch when we had to give up our garden out in Forest Grove, and pretty much–it flopped. There is something to be said for soil that is natural and already has something growing in it, like your ditch garden. Maybe it has just the right PH or something…I’m no expert in this area, I just know the garden dug out of my back yard was much more successful.

    • GirlDuck says:

      Yah, come to think of it, it probably is the soil. But we’d have the opposite problem. We filled in the ditch with topsoil made for starting gardens (with the peat moss and all), so the plants are growing in pure topsoil we just purchased and are doing great. We just mixed some into the garden bed. That’s probably the issue. The bed probably needs to be replaced.

  4. Saundra says:

    The bigger the garden – the more tools you get to buy to try out too! Loads of fun! Picking weeds the old fashion way, with my Ipod firmly planted, also gives me a lot of very warm satisfaction. You will have to try that out when the wee ones are not there helping of course. Love, Mom

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