Our Backyard Vegetable Garden: The Fun and the Challenges

Creating a backyard vegetable garden brings fresh produce and joy, but involves challenges like battling pests and weather dependency. It fosters convenience, and canning or freezing opportunities, yet demands labor and faces unpredictable elements. The experience enriches meals and life, despite the effort.

It’s summer and time to reap the benefits of our backyard vegetable garden. I need to clarify this statement.

It is Tony’s garden. And it is in our side yard.

Tony, my husband, does most of the work regarding planting and weeding. When it comes to harvesting the produce I do help with that.

And when it comes to cooking or preserving the goods, it usually falls on me but he will help with snapping the green beans. There are many pros and cons to planting and taking care of a vegetable garden.

But before I go into that let me tell you a little history of our struggles. You will be entertained if nothing else.

No Backyard Vegetable Garden

Several years ago, Tony decided to not plant a garden. After 18 years and no garden!

He gave the tiller and his row maker to my daughter and her partner. Well, I was devastated, to say the least.

I loved being able to go out to the garden to pick green beans or a ripe tomato or even dig a hill of potatoes to fix for supper that evening. Handy right?

You can also read about my favorite ways to prepare green beans.

Well, I thought so and I was going to miss this. Tony came to this decision due to the many hours he was working and just didn’t have the time to give the garden the attention that was needed.

So I decided to plant a few green beans around the house where I usually plant annual flowers and I planted one zucchini plant in the corner of the deck in the backyard. I also planted a few tomato plants in pots and set them around the deck.

Needless to say, we did get a few picking from the green beans and some zucchini but the tomatoes were a flop!

Tony Changed His Mind

A vibrant illustration capturing an enchanting backyard vegetable garden during golden hour.

The next year, Tony changed his mind and decided to plant a garden. He made a few changes and moved the garden from the backyard to the side yard.

The only thing is, he took part of my yard. But the gardening was a challenge because he had given the tiller away the year before.

But this didn’t stop him. Deep down I think he missed not having a garden the year before.

He didn’t fool me one bit. He loves to plant and work in the garden.

Since that bad decision, he has planted a garden every year.

No Spring

A vibrant illustration of a serene backyard vegetable garden under the moonlight.

The first year after that bad decision was a real challenge. In essence, we had no spring.

It went from winter straight to summer. So the cool weather produce such as peas and beets didn’t have a chance.

I was disappointed. One of my favorite dishes regarding peas is creamed peas with potatoes.

Yum! I also love to have snow peas to put away in the freezer for when I get hungry for beef and snow peas.

Another yum here. Pickled beets anyone?

Not that year! I had to make them from a can of beets from the local grocery store but it was just not the same.

The Pros

Let’s get into the pros of a backyard vegetable garden, shall we?

  • Fresh produce right in your back yard (or side yard)
  • Preserving either by canning or freezing the fresh produce in your backyard
  • The convenience of walking into the backyard and “picking” supper

The Cons

Now for the cons and there are a few.

  • Always fighting the varmints be they insects or animals
  • A garden is a lot of work. Always needs to be weeded
  • A good garden depends on the weather. After all, some produce does not do well in hot weather and of course, rain is a help

The pros outweigh the cons. There is nothing like being able to step into your backyard for a nice plump ripe tomato for that salad you are planning to have.

Or picking green beans for your meal that evening. Of course, a vegetable garden is a lot of work too.

But in the end, it is worth it.

What to Plant

Since it is just Tony and me, our garden has decreased in the last several years. We mainly plant green beans, zucchini, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, beets, and radishes.

We do not plant sweet corn. The effort is wasted as the raccoons usually get most of it.

There are plenty of neighbors willing to give us a few ears. Our neighbor across the field however is another story.

She puts out a huge vegetable garden. She not only plants the above-mentioned but also peppers, (several varieties), cauliflower, broccoli, sweet corn, and melon.

Tomatoes on the vine

The produce, after being picked either needs to be cooked or preserved and that magic happens at home in the kitchen. There are so many ways to cook or fix the wonderful “gifts” from the garden.

Fresh green beans cooked with bacon, cucumbers, and onions in vinegar water, peas creamed with potatoes, fried zucchini (and let’s not forget zucchini bread), fried potatoes with onion, tomato, and bacon sandwiches. Need I go on?

So many possibilities and so much good food. I’m getting hungry just writing this, how about you?

Hungry yet? I do want to mention that we have in years past planted green peppers and eggplant.

But the sad thing is that we do not eat much of either and end up giving most of it away. Well, maybe that is not so sad.

Several others benefited. Which is a good thing, wouldn’t you say?

As far as the eggplant goes, I made eggplant Parmesan and took it to work. My co-workers went nuts over it and one particular woman started making it at home.

Her husband loved it! Another co-worker had asked me if I had planted any eggplant.

Of course, I had to tell her no.

My Final Thoughts

A vibrant illustration of a bustling backyard vegetable garden at noon.
  • Starting a backyard vegetable garden offers fresh produce and reconnects with nature.
  • Adapting gardening practices to fit small spaces and changing circumstances is key.
  • Weather conditions significantly impact vegetable growth and yield.
  • Growing your vegetables can lead to healthier eating and surplus sharing.
  • Selecting the right vegetables for your garden depends on personal taste and local wildlife.

There are many benefits of growing your own food.  One is you know that your vegetables are fresh.

I love this time of year for that fact alone. I never have a problem coming up with ideas for a meal.

All I have to do is step into my yard and pick to my heart’s content. I use a large metal bowl to pick my bounty.

Please leave me a comment below and let me know of your experiences of growing a vegetable garden. As always I love hearing from you.

Have a wonderful and tasty day!

FAQ: A Backyard Vegetable Garden

Q1: What are the benefits of having a backyard vegetable garden?

  • Fresh produce right at your doorstep, offering convenience and the joy of picking your supper directly from your garden.
  • The ability to preserve the harvest through canning or freezing, ensuring a supply of fresh produce throughout the year.

Q2: What challenges might you face with a backyard vegetable garden?

  • Contending with pests and animals that can damage the garden.
  • The physical labor required for maintenance, like weeding, and the dependency on suitable weather conditions for a successful harvest.

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