Thursday, September 2, 2010

Garden lessons for 2010.....

Looks like it's time for the well intended gardener to have a chat about the 2010 gardening season here at the ol' homestead.
Rather than talk about everything in one, huge post and since my time right now in blog land is rather limited, I thought I'd share my experiences in various posts.
First off, I just want to mention that I've had probably one of the worst gardens I've ever had in years. I've determined two factors have come into play as to why.
One is the soil in the new raised bed gardens. Although we had a topsoil/compost mix, it turned out to be poor quality. I do feel, however, that once we amend it this fall, it will be a lot healthier for next spring. I know what it needs and once we give it some natural love and time to rest it will be in balance and ready to help the plants thrive next year.
The existing garden, which we've been amending for the past four years with straw, leaves, and our own compost is in fine shape and has given the plantings the nutrients needed to thrive.
Secondly, we've had one of the hottest, driest summers on record. And, it started early. Like May 1st. Watering was definitely a chore this year, but, it was a necessity to keep the plants growing. But, even with constant monitoring, most of the plants just couldn't take the heat. I know this is out of my hands and up to good ol' Mother Nature, but, I mention it because it was a major factor in the production of the garden.
One major lesson I've taken from gardening this year is choose wisely what you grow. Two things I will no longer grow will be leeks and cantalopes. I can use the space to grow something that can be "put up" or frozen rather than eating fresh. Since there is only two of us in the household, we just couldn't keep up with eating these fresh. Even with sharing the bounty with others - human and bugs, we wound up giving some of the cantalopes to the hens. Don't get me wrong, they thoroughly enjoyed them, but, that's not why I grew them!
So, the bottom line of this post is about growing choices.
No matter how "itchy" I get in February to start seedlings, I now know I need to curb my enthusiasm and be practical. (I hope I'm not coming back to eat crow on that statement)
What about you? Are there any fruits or veg you won't grow again?


  1. A good post Toni! I've heard others mention the same issues with their gardens that you have had in yours. I really want to plant a small garden next year (so I won't be subjected to the high prices of some farmer markets) but I'm told that it may be a bust the first year and to just be ready. We'll see--If I can get one good tomatoe plant, I'll be thrilled!!

  2. It was definitely a hot year. It affected everyone East of the Mississippi, I think.
    Maybe only plant one or two cantalopes, and plant them a month apart or something?
    Good luck next year! :)

  3. Hi Toni! Here on the west coast, we had a freaky cool summer, and it appears to have quit early. I'm not sure that my melons will ripen in time before the autumn rains start. We're headed for a visit with my sister-in-law this fall and she's already put in a request for me to bring vegetables-her garden, which is usually overflowing, was a bust this year because they got hardly any sun out at the coast.

    With the weather getting stranger and stranger, I wonder if the thing to do is plant a bit of everything so that if you get a hot one, you get melons and tomatoes, and if you get a cool one, you get cabbage, kale and lettuce.

    It's an idea. I will try potatoes next year, but have to do them in grow bags- we have the worst clay. I won't do so many cucumbers- I'm practically being pelted with them, there are so many. I will man up and thin stuff out. I will not grow zucchini again. Okay, maybe one, but only one and only a regular variety.

    I can't say that I really won't do various things again, but I will say that I'll be more judicious about when and where I plant them.

    Better luck next year!

  4. I worked really hard in my garden this year, and was disappointed in some things. No pumpkins, no peas, very little corn. The tomato's and green beans are great. We had a very late winter, and living in the mountains, I just think my little garden couldn't get going. Now, we have cool nights so we'll see how long I can keep harvesting and canning.

    Even the pears are teeny tiny this year. It's going to be a pain the peel them...