Last year was my first year for a full-fledged garden at my house, and even with the drought, I received some decent crops.
Last year, I planted -
Strawberries (they started out well, but ended up getting roasted)
Onions (decent production, but rather small... but according to my wife, they tasted great)
Sweet Banana Peppers (did OK, were rather leggy, though)
Creole Tomatoes (did VERY well, lots of production, and tasted incredible)
Cucumbers (terrible production, didn't grow well)
Cantaloupes (poor production, didn't like training up the fence, but tasted great)
Zucchini (great production, ended up getting destroyed by spider mites)
Straightneck Squash (incredible production, met their fate from spider mites)
I also had peaches and two varieties of pears. The peaches were awesome (small, but VERY tasty and juicy), but the pears were lackluster (small, hard, and starchy).
This year... I'm simplifying things a bit.
I'm keeping the peach tree (although I suspect its production will stink - it was very warm this winter, so it hasn't put out many flowers, and likely didn't get enough chilling time), and I'm also keeping one of the pear trees. I don't think the pear tree will survive, as it has been hit by some kind of fungus (or maybe disease) that started at the buds, and is moving down the branches regardless of what I do to stop it. The other pear tree I actually pulled up and gave to my neighbor - and I replaced it with a plum tree... that has added almost a foot to its height, and has some baby plums slowly getting larger.
For the garden, I went more with stuff my wife and I would actually eat, so I planted the following:
Purple Queen Snap Beans (on the left side of the pic, near the fence). The beans will be about 4-6" long, and be purple when raw... but turn green when cooked.
Super Sweet Yellow Onions (in the back left corner, in the corner of the fence). I planted them much more densely than last year, since they don't need a lot of space.
Celebrity and Creole Tomatoes (2 of each, along the far fence). Celebrity Tomatoes supposedly do well here, and the Creole Tomatoes did VERY well last year. I'm growing both to see a comparison between the two, since I can get the Celebrity plants here, but not the Creoles. (I have to go to New Orleans to get them)
Soybeans (in the middle section, under the Saints flag). My wife and I both love edamame, and since all we can find is in a restaurant or frozen... I figured I would grow our own.
Straightneck Squash (in the front, with the mulch). This one did VERY well last year, and I love having fresh squash to grill during the summer. I gave them a LOT more space to work with, so they can go wild. I also know how to prevent spider mites this time around, so they shouldn't be an issue... hopefully.
I'm planting the beans and soybeans from seed, and staggering the plantings every 2-3 weeks, to get a constant flow of new harvests, hopefully throughout the summer.
I'll add more updates every few weeks, and maybe add in some tropical thoughts periodically, as the season warms up.
View of my garden, April 10, 2012.
After a recent thunderstorm, I happened to capture this sunset by peering over my back yard fence. 5 minutes prior, it was a downpour. 5 minutes later, the sunset was obscured by low clouds.