It was a good year.
So here is some of what we learned, lost, and gained along the way.
Support. Your Plants.
Pole beans like to have something to grow up like a slatted A-frame. Peas are similar, but they like to spread out across a horizontal trellis. There are probably other trellising solutions for vine-like plants.....the ones I suggest are just age old dutch tradition. I promise you the A-frame trellis will end up looking like a big tall bean bush by the end of the season....super neat.
Give your plants lots of space. I was a TOTAL rooky this year, so I made the error of not spacing certain things properly. And I paid dearly, but I learned.
Prepare to lose half of what you planted. Maybe to play it on the safe side, expect nothing.
Keep a scarecrow....this is actually pretty hokey I think. Our scarecrow kept nothing away, but my very dutch father always had luck with small posts stuck in the ground with a piece of string holding an aluminum pie plate on the end. He always said the noise kept birds away, and it's cheap.
Flowers/herbs are key to a good veggie garden. For a lot of plants your going to want some bees or other pollinating insects to move some love around your garden to make sure your plants produce as much fruit as they can. Flowering herbs are the best (i.e. calendulum, marigolds, chrysanthemum, etc). Other good herbs that can also be dried and used for teas besides those mentioned include peppermint or lemon balm/verbena. Herbs are also relatively easy to grow with the right amount of sun and drainage.
So I totally understand the garden lover who just cannot for whatever reason produce a garden. Don't fret. Try a succulent, marigolds, or some hens and chickens. I dare you to try to kill one of these. They require almost no maintenance, spread like wild fire, are pretty cute, and apparently trending at the moment. These even work in small indoor spaces.....impress all your hipster and granola crunching friends by setting them up next to those lentils your sprouting on the window sill. Look at you being all green and healthy.