Back in February I recapped my family's last three attempts at food gardening and laid out our plan to successfully grow an assortment of vegetables (red romaine and butter leaf lettuce, broccoli, red and yellow onions, and cherry tomatoes), as well as nectarine and orange trees, in our backyard. Our gardening skills border on mediocre at best, but I truly believed the extra Valentine's Day affection we put into digging and watering and fertilizing would lead to extraordinary results this year.
Turns out the fourth time is not the charm.
We tried to grow red romaine lettuce, butter leaf lettuce, and broccoli. Instead we grew lettuce towers and broccoli weeds on steroids. What you can't see in either of these pictures is our red onions, yellow onions, and cherry tomatoes, and that's because none of them grew. At all.
We feel fairly confident we didn't harvest our lettuce soon enough, which is why that particular vegetable grew out of control, but we're not really sure what happened to the rest of our vegetables. We followed the package instructions fairly carefully, so my guess is that the insane amount of rain we received this spring may have drowned our plants. Is that possible?
We dealt with a little disappointment at first, but when we looked out past our vegetable bed to the back corner of our yard, all that disappointment melted away. Why, you ask? Because our nectarine tree was/is thriving. Thus far the tree has produced two beautiful nectarines, and while the first piece of fruit lost its battle against some kind of critter, the second one, harvested just last week before we left on our trip, tasted like heaven. Heaven, I tell you. (So good that a little hand couldn't wait until I'd finished taking pictures.)
I still hope to one day successfully grow a salad or batch of salsa's worth of vegetables, and I plan to try again next year. But in the meantime, our nectarine tree has gifted me what I've always wanted out of backyard gardening - the ability to walk outside and pick a (delicious) snack.