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August 14, 2008

Garden 2008: Successes and Failures

I realized yesterday I should take a minute to jot down some of the many things I've learned from our garden this growing season; successes, failures, and ideas for different approaches to next year's garden. I'm not sure what would be the best model for this entry, and in light of the carpel tunnel I've developed after a few hours of weed-whacking cattails at a local mitigation wetland yesterday, I'll keep it as a brief list that might be expanded on later...

1. We got vegetables! Lots of vegetables. Maybe too many of only a couple varieties (see Failure #1). What was also cool was that this crop is pretty tolerant of the climate without needing lots of maintenance.

2. The seeds were started in good time so that tomatoes were rocking to be put in the ground not long after the last frost and really started growing huge!

1. We planted too much of only a few things all at the same time. This included 3 zucchini plants, 3 hot jalapa pepper plants, and 6 tomato plants! What?! Are you kidding? Nope. We really did that. It might not have been so overwhelming if we staggered the plantings by about one month. That way, by the time the first plant started closing up shop, a new one would be all fired up. Instead we have ended up with a pile of zucchini and tomatoes, and don't have any more cilantro coming to us this year.

2. (This sort of ties in with Failure #1...) We planted ALL of the seeds of a few varieties of plants. This included all of our tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, spinach, parsley, and cilantro. What we could have done was planted only a few seeds of each (because, as we learned above, we didn't need so much all at one time) and saved the rest to either stagger the plantings to extend the harvest or to use next year and save a good amount of money.

3. We didn't pick the zucchini fast enough. The result: giant zucchini! It is my belief that by letting the fruits grow too big, it sucks lots of nutrients out of the rest of the plant (and the ground) and hurts other fruits that could be produced.

4. We didn't stake the tomatoes or pepper plants early enough which hurt the plants and made it very complicated to finally get the cages around them. Hopefully this will be done at the same time the starts are plugged into the ground!

New Ideas for 2009
1. More vegetables! Here are veggies I would like to try:
- romaine lettuce
- beets
- beans and/or peas
- onions
- edible flowers (i.e. pansies)

2. More structure. It would be cool to have a trellis or a bamboo tepee for certain plants (runner beans) to climb. Maybe a raised section of the bed, or introducing a potted plant, will add an interesting aesthetic...

3. Lots more flowers! Sunflowers especially! Other herbs, like chamomile are pretty and interesting, and fill space well...

4. Try to use organic pesticides or repellents to keep away certain insects (esp. those that like our zucchini!)

Ok. That's all for now...Peas! D

1 comment:

  1. D- Glad to hear you were able to have a garden. After my garden last year (and the rabbits that ate it), I couldn't find the will for the work this year. My Dad always has a huge garden that I love picking from. This year the sunflowers are literally like 10 feet tall, it's quite a sight. I am hoping I get to the seeds before the birds this year so I can attempt roasted sunflower seeds (my favorite snack). much love-ryan