Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Garden summary 2010 (premature)

The garden is not yet put to bed, and here I am, already listing lessons learned and planning what I'll do differently and what I'll do the same.  Like a true Cubs fan, my mantra is "There's always next year."
  • Asparagus - Jersey Supreme F-1 - These poor plants. Between the weeds and the critters, plus my neglect, I will be surprised if this makes it through the winter. UNKNOWN   I guess we will just have to wait and see.
  • Snap peas - Amish - My first year with this variety.  It produced a good crop in the spring, but I planted green beans inside the pea fence, which precluded planting a fall crop. SUCCESS but make sure to do a fall planting next year, and freeze some.
  • Onions - Suttgarter - My first year with this variety, which is supposed to be a good keeper.  A good crop of mostly medium and large bulbs.  SUCCESS, but add a good scallion variety plus a few red onions for fresh eating.
  • Garlic - Broadleaf Czech and German Extra Hardy - My first attempt at growing garlic.  SUCCESS, but I probably should have waited a bit before harvest, to get bigger bulbs. I plan to plant next year's crop in a bed by patio, using bulbs from this year's harvest plus introduce one or two more varieties.  And I plan to make better use of the scapes.
  • Tomatoes - eight different varieties - judging by the contents of my freezer, this was a SUCCESS.  In the future, I may have to water bath some of them, to leave room in the freezer for other things.  Next year I will grow fewer varieties and fewer plants.  And I won't contribute to the blossom end rot by over watering them.
  • Peppers - six different varieties (sampler) - MIXED - not as successful as I had hoped, but not a total fail either. I think they need more sun as well as something else, to make them truly thrive and produce more. I liked the mild hotness of Wenks, so I will be sure to get more of those.
  • Green beans - four different varieties - another freezer stuffer - SUCCESS.  I did not see much difference between the varieties, except for the wax beans, so will probably fall back on my all time favorite, Blue Lake 274.  I want to do a better job of succession planting as well.
  • Potatoes - eight different varieties (sampler) - FAIL. Voles ruined what few matured under straw.  The potato grow sacks were successful, though, so next year, I will reuse them, and plant rest in the ground.  I will plant Carola again, for new potatoes.  After that, I am primarily interested in an all round potato that stores well.
  • Zucchini - Black - mostly a FAIL. Not sure what went wrong here. I think I need to do a better job of building and fertilizing the hills.
  • Cucumbers - Burpless - see Zucchini.
Next year:
  • I purchased see for kohlrabi, turnips, and rutabaga, but did not get around to planting them.  They are definitely on the list for next year, plus parsnip and carrots, maybe in the garlic bed after it is harvested.
  • The locally grown broccoli was quite disappointing this year (and more expensive than the organic from California!), so I plant to grow some brassicas - broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale.  I just have to figure out how to protect them from the zillion cabbage butterflies I've watched flit about the yard this year.
  • I've never had much luck with winter squash or pumpkin, but am considering growing them in the meadow, where the wildflowers may hide them from the usual pests.  One can be delusional, can't one?
  • Now that I have a freezer, I am more interested in growing my own strawberries and raspberries.
  • And, with more beds going to perennials, I will need to build another bed by patio and revert to using containers for some things.
  • One of my neighbors has a little orchard in his front yard.  I would love to do the same, except he knows how to care for them and I don't, and I don't want my incompetence to be on display for all the nabe to see.  But maybe a Meyer lemon?  We'll see.  I have not had much luck with container trees so far.
  • The freezer is great for many things, but I still need to figure out a better way to store winter veggies.  Some of next year's root crops can stay in ground, but what to do when it is almost October and the temp is heading for 90, like it is today?
  • I abandoned using the usual fertilizers and herbicides on my lawn, and it looks HORRIBLE.  I'm sure the fact that I have left nary a grass clipping behind in favor of mulching the garden has not helped.  I don't want to purchase mulching materials, but maybe I can grow my own, in the form of green manure crops.  Will I need a scythe?
  • Oh, and keep those weeds under control.  From what I have read, they may be providing those pesky voles with too much cover.
Yikes, that is a big list!  Gardening is an optimist's sport.  Obviously.

1 comment:

Pat - Arkansas said...

I'm extremely tardy in reading this, but what an accomplishment! I think you did wonderfully with a large assortment of veggies. How much land do you have? Either a lot, or you're a wonderful planner. My hay bale gardening was a complete flop, and I planted only one other plant in the ground, a banana pepper, which did not do well because I let it get too dry. The one mature pepper I did get I gave to my neighbor, who likes spicy stuff. I'm going to tear down my hay bales (use them for weed control on the back of the lot, at least that's my plan.)