For years, I've had a couple of small beds in my back yard. The first few years, I just put flowers in, and then last year, I put in vegetables. Everything always grew GREAT. I didn't always plant effectively (FYI, not a good idea to put two pumpkin transplants on the very edge of the bed, unless you are sure that your neighbor doesn't mind pumpkin vines all over his yard. LOL He actually didn't mind.)
This year, I decided to put a couple zucchini in one bed, and herbs in the other bed. They've done GREAT. I've already harvested 5 or 6 zucchinis, and harvested the herbs multiple times (I'm growing parsley, oregano, basil, and cilantro.) I take the leaves off, put it in the dehydrator for a couple hours, and then in the food chopper, and voila! Freshly dried herbs. I've done the hanging method, and found that with my lifestyle, that the dehydrator works better.
Then I decided to do a garden in a plot behind our church. We put in about 30 tomato plants, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, beans and peas. We planted the onions, the broccoli, the cauliflower, and beans and pea seeds in April. We were so optimistic. And it was almost Fun. The kids played so nicely while we planted. We waited for the seeds to grow into plants. Hmm, not looking so good. In May, we put in the tomato plants. We didn't have cages yet, but there was time. The plants were small. We put some grass clippings around the tomatoes, onions, broccoli, and cauliflower to keep the weeds under control. We put down one, then two layers. There was time to do more. Plenty of time. The beans and peas - ugh, still not really growing. By the end of May, we had to admit defeat. The only thing that was growing on that side was weeds, and LOTS of them. So we made the decision to till it again, put some manure in, and replant. It is early June. And HOT. So HOT. We tried to plant, but it was too unbearable. We'd do it next week. Then it was RAINING. And COLD. And more RAIN. And then it was July. We hadn't planted yet, and we hadn't put more grass clippings down. So even on the part of the garden that was growing vegetables, we were also growing plenty of weeds. Oh, and the tilled part? Weedy again too.
So I weeded again, and my sister planted beans (too late for peas by now). Oh, and the tomatoes? Remember those cages? Well, we got a hold of some, but not 30. Not even close to 30. But since we are Resourceful, we took the cages that we did have, put one in between two plants, and used twine to lift the plant off the ground and tied it to the cage (I've got a picture somewhere, I just couldn't find it today.) Not the best looking, but it seemed to work.
And guess what, some of those beans are growing! They are still small, but at least they are growing this time. And we've harvested tons of broccoli (oh, and is it YUMMY!), cauliflower (it was o.k., but I won't be growing it again).
I'm still fighting a battle with the weeds. It has always been something this summer - too hot, too cold, too raining, too many kids screaming, too busy. If all those things would have been different, I would have had a perfect garden. But you know, with big garden, it is always Something. Kind of like Life. If you try and control one small little thing, like cleaning, you might be successful, like I am with my small beds. But if you try and control your whole Life, well, something is bound to not go quite as you planned.