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Posted on Sat, Oct 2, 2010 : 3 p.m.

How well did your 2010 garden grow?

By Jim and Janice Leach

Broccoli and Kale.jpg

Broccoli and Kale

Janice Leach | Contributor

I was talking about gardening recently with one of my gardening-type neighbors while we stood in my backyard. I looked around at my thriving but still-needing-attention plants and started into my "would have, should have, could have" list. 

I had made a lot of pesto this year, but I could have made more. This summer’s tomatoes were great, but we would have had a higher yield if we'd staked them up sooner. And how had we forgotten — we should have planted green beans too!

My neighbor's reply was "But look at all you did. It is good to get anything done."

I appreciated the nice reminder. There's no point in feeling bad about having a less-than-perfect garden or failing to accomplish every possible task. There’s more joy found in gardening by taking the half-full approach. We did put in a pretty great garden this year. We tended our plants and watched them grow, and we enjoyed them immensely. That's what we need to celebrate.


Pumpkins climbing the fence

Janice Leach | Contributor

Gardening is always a study in risk. The weather and the seasons are unpredictable, especially it seems here in Michigan. Nearly recording-setting temperatures or much higher-than-usual rainfalls — we don't know what is coming until it gets here. We can't be sure whether it will be a good year for tomatoes or a lousy one, Farmer's Almanac predictions aside. The whole process has an uncertain outcome but is potentially full of rewards. We can plan carefully and work hard to make our gardens lovely and productive, but at least some results are out of our hands no matter what we gardeners do. We have to give ourselves credit for our efforts as well as our harvests.

When contemplating the gardens of 2010, take time to take stock of your gardening successes as well as your dreams and plans for improvements next year. We invite you to take a stroll through your garden — physically or mentally — and tally up what you've got to be happy about.

What were you most pleased with in your garden this year? Which crop or plant exceeded your expectations? What can you celebrate? Use the poll below to vote for your most successful plants; you can vote for more than one. Or leave more details about your gardening successes in the comments.

Janice and Jim Leach garden a backyard plot in downtown Ann Arbor and tend the website 20 Minute Garden.



Sat, Oct 9, 2010 : 12:14 p.m.

My melons did much better this year than last year. Last year the fungus got to my melons and cucumbers, and I didn't harvest any melon, and just a couple of cucumbers. I didn't plant cucumbers this year, but I did plant melons. They turned out well, considering how poorly they did last year. I planted about 10 plants, and probably harvested about 10 melons. I lost some to rotting on the ground, and a couple I picked too early. Still learning when to pick them.

Jim and Janice Leach

Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 5:14 p.m.

@ saintd: Sorry to hear about your raspberries! We treasure our berries and would be so disappointed to lose them. I'm glad the rest of your garden did well. @ Patty: I forgot to put eggplant on the poll list, but ours were fantastic as well! We had more fruits per plant and less flea beetle activity, and we are still harvesting eggplants. We've not grown tomatillos yet, but I'd love to try!


Mon, Oct 4, 2010 : 10:27 a.m.

I had the most amazing eggplant season, and tomatillos grew into trees!


Sat, Oct 2, 2010 : 7:03 p.m.

japaneze beatles ate all the raspberries. Beans where great as well as the peppers and tomatos.Onions where ok as well as the potatos. Best year for a garden in a long time. I love global warming if this is the summers we will have. 10-02-2010 and frost is due here tonight. Great season.