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When Your Garden is Growing Slowly

We’ve been gardening in Maine for years now. But this year, the garden isn’t behaving the same way. Here are some thoughts on when your garden is growing slowly.

Wax beans, sugar snap peas and sweet peas grow in a raised beed.

The plantings went in later than last year, though that proved to be a surprise blessing. Our last frost fell later than usual — during the first June weekend. The seeds hadn’t been in the ground long then though, so it didn’t harm their growth.

Some of the seeds — the sweet peas and sugar snap peas, for instance — when in later though. So I probably shouldn’t be surprised that they are only just starting to bound upward. Others at the community garden have peas hanging alluringly from theirs though, and I can’t help but notice.

Summer squash begins to grow in a raised bed.

Meanwhile, the summer squash we just planted is sprouting faster than anything that came before it. Perhaps the late planting was actually good for it?

A look at a raised bed garden that's growing slowly.

Our zucchini and wax beans are showing some promise. But like everything else, they are on the small side.

When your garden is growing slowly, it can be tempting to be disillusioned, but don't be.

Overall though, everything is moving slowly in our garden this year. There have only been a few radishes ripe for picking. The carrots are a ways off. The beets have a single beet thriving. And while there are tomatoes on the tomato plants, the plants are still small and the leaves itty bitty.

All of this is different than we’ve experienced in previous years.

By this time last year, we were overwhelmed with radishes and wowed by the peas and beans growing. There was lettuce to harvest and herbs with promise.

So, what’s different this year? Why aren’t we seeing the same success?

Planting later, as I mentioned, may have a little to do with it (lettuce thrives in the cool air of May).

But so does the soil itself.

Each year, we augment the soil in the boxes with compost provided by the community garden. This year’s looks different than I have seen before.

It has bits of wood chippings in it and doesn’t look as rich and fine.

Plus three of our four boxes are new — the were filled by the city, but I am wondering if they were filled with just compost and no soil. If so, that could be challenging the growth too.

Or, maybe I need to stop looking around at the other boxes and comparing ours. Maybe, instead, I need to just be patient and give it more time.

When your garden is growing slowly, it’s easy to be disillusioned by it. But what it needs is for you to keep going — and to keep trying. So that’s what I plan to do.

How’s your garden growing?

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Kate

Monday 6th of July 2020

All we've been able to eat so far is our arugula, but the weather has either been boiling or pouring, so it's not the most productive garden. Our first little tomato popped up this week and at least our beans are growing even if they haven't flowered yet.