Giving thanks for the 2010 garden
I am no one's idea of a constant gardener. Because I see my in-ground plot only every other weekend, I've endeavored, through trial and (mostly) error, to create a garden that runs primarily on autopilot: a timed sprinkler, black mulch paper to discourage weeds, occasional infusions of plant food and slug bait and insecticidal soap. Needless to say, no one would be overly impressed with the results. But this year has been improbably successful. I harvested more bush beans than I knew what to do with. My snow peas produced pretty well. I had a surprisingly large crop of edamame, enough to keep three or four sake drinkers happy for at least a half hour. The spinach and lettuce did not disappoint me. Although my carrots and radishes and beets were small, they were plentiful. And at long last...tomatoes. After year after year of miserable yields, culminating last summer in the tragedy of The Great Blight, I have approximately a zillion cherry tomatoes and a respectable number of Polfasts. So before the whole thing freezes solid, I offer up my thanks to the dirt gods, who finally saw fit to smile upon me.
How'd you do?
I started gardening again in 2008 so I still have a lot to learn and re-learn. I planted too many tomatoes, too closely and didn't put the cages in deep enough so many fell over. Peppers were my only disappointment though because the last two years they were fantastic and this year some plants are barely providing. I am growing them in a different area to rotate. Cucumbers did fine but planting different varieties next to each other was foolish. Some needed to be picked quite small (Poona Kheara). Sugar snap peas did great esp tied to wire mesh panels leftover from a construction project. We enjoy watching the birds sit on the fences and then swoop after insects. Now there are yard long beans on one panel and I'm not sure I even like them. Fun to try, though. Spinach was fantastic. Will definitely warm soil with black plastic and cover beds with Agribon fabric in the spring. My husband loved filet beans. In this beastly hot dry summer the beets planted in August seem to be happy on the north side of the yard long beans while across the path the same variety (golden) aren't doing very well. I thought I was giving both the same amount of water. Really enjoyed trying new varieties from Bakers Creek so it will be interesting to see if we like an Amish squash as much as we like Confection from Johnny's. Wish I had planted a late crop of sugar snaps. A volunteer seedling produced a couple of delicious pods in late August.
I've been very happy with the lasagna method of making beds and have learned the importance of more composted manure each spring. DH was happy with the garden produce and I received compliments on how great the garden looked. There were a few times when I got sick of weeding and overheated but all in all, it's been a great year and I'm sad to see fall coming. However, it will be nice to try the winter squash and we have a very nice bed of parsnips to enjoy in the early spring.
That is a very nice post. You should make copious notes on the particular seens you used and when you planted (and where) for next year - NOW. You know how the mind goes by next planting season. I had amazing carrots this year and I could kick myself for not writing down which ones I used.
Edamame. How fun. Good news about the black mulch paper. I had been wondering about it. Thank you!
re: Sal Vanilla
I kept a garden diary all summer, a record of when I planted, harvested, fertilized, replanted, etc., with a chart showing what went where. The only seeds I will definitely use again are the Kentucky Wonder bush beans - they have never failed me. And if you ever figure out which carrots those were, let me know!