Since the garden is all sad and empty now, I thought it would be a good time to recap the season. Lin will be doing hers as well this week, so come back for that!
I tried several new things this year: a tomato trellis system, dried beans, potatoes, brassicas, squash (butternut and spaghetti) and onions. I also planted sweet peppers, peas, green beans, carrots, kale, watermelon and zucchini! Here’s the good list:
- Red beans – this was so fun for me to grow! I planted maybe 12 vines, they did not take up a lot of space, and I got a substantial harvest from it (maybe 2 cups of dried beans?). We don’t eat a ton of red beans, so this was great for us!
- Kale – it was giant this year, bigger than I have ever grown! It was more than we eat, and so either we need to up the amount of kale we eat, or maybe try a different/smaller variety in the future.
- Carrots – I have had great luck with carrots in the past, so this season wasn’t new, however Lin encouraged me to succession plant it and I LOVED doing that!!
- Sweet peppers – I have always struggled with green peppers in the past, not sure if I planted them too close together or what. I spaced them out this year and planted the mini variety and it was awesome! Totally going to plant these same darlings next year.
- Brassicas – I have tried growing them in the past and never had any luck, but I think I left them too long maybe before? At any rate, the cabbage was show quality and I had a perfect sized head of cauliflower! Yay!
And here is what didn’t work so great for me this past summer…I want to make a note here that I added aged compost a day or 2 before I did the majority of my planting, and my sister and I are thinking it may have added to some of the problems I had with plants this year.
- Squash – so, while I did get 4 spaghetti squash and 1.5 butternut (Unfortunately I didn’t realize I had a mid-sized fruit when I ripped out the plant, would have left it to mature), it was not a lot for how giant the vine was and how many flowers I had. Not sure if there was a pollination issue or the compost.
- Potatoes – man, I was so excited for these! I got 6 fabric pots that I filled with potato starts, and the foliage looked amazing all summer, but when it came to the harvest there was not a lot. It was very disappointing, and these pots did not have the same issue as the main garden did with compost, since they were in pots. Next year I plan to try a different variety and maybe a different area of the yard.
- Tomato trellis system – This is a so-so for me. Part of the problem was user error, another part was I stopped wanting to tie them up as they got larger. They are supposed to be used with determinate plants and the German queens were indeterminate, so that was an issue. By the end of the season, some were falling down and it was a slight mess. I will give it another try next year because it was great the first 2/3rds of the summer.
- Onions – I got one onion that was like a giant sized green onion. We planted the onions alongside the tomatoes, and I think part of the problem was that they didn’t get enough sun. Also, the squirrels loved them (I think, they kept disappearing) so not sure how to combat that in the future. I will try again though!
- Peas – I may have gotten these into the ground too late (it was a weird spring with a super late snow and then got hot very fast) and they did not produce a lot and developed a gross brown spottiness all over.
- Green Beans – these were also so-so. Mostly good production, especially out of the purple variety, but the Asian beetles decimated them when they should have been mass producing, so the harvest wasn’t as good as I would have hoped for. Next year, need to get the Asian beetle traps out in mid-July and make sure to change twice a week.
- Watermelon – they are very hard to grow here. I have two that got big enough, but one an animal got to before I harvested it (I waited too long). Another one would have gotten big enough but it was too late in the season. But again, it was covered in blooms and even small fruit that died off early.
- Zucchini – ooh, it was so bad this year! Traditionally these plants produce so much fruit that people are often trying to off-load them off on everyone (insert pictures of me last year with 8 plants!!! EEK, never again!), however this year I had 2 fruits from 1 plants. And it had a zillion blooms. So, I wonder if I need to try to up my pollinator enticements (I did plant pollinator friendly flowers all around but maybe it wasn’t enough), or even the crazy idea of hand pollinating in the future.
So, while it looks like an unsuccessful summer, it wasn’t so bad. Some years it is nice to have a break from all the canning and freezing I usually do in the fall! However, next year I am coming back with a vengeance!!