Monday, September 5, 2011

Lessons Learned

Looking back on my garden, I've learned a lot of lessons regarding how and what to grow. I'm documenting them here so I can remember for next year.

Beans: Red swan were the first to harvest, but they were a pain to pick (and somewhat hard to find in the low-to-the-ground bushes). Ideal market were...well, ideal. I grew them up the trellis, so they were very easy to pick. I confounded things a bit by planting vine veggies in front of the trellis, but I'll fix that for next year. Edamame - well....they're harvested but not eaten. We let them to too long, and we need to use them as dry beans. I'm not exactly sure how that's going to work out yet.

Beets: They were delicious, and we didn't have enough. I need to plan to have 3-4 turns of these (and carrots)

Broccoli: Great crop that I didn't eat nearly enough of. I'll probably plant 2 plants next year.

Carrots: Other than the carrots that got eaten by a critter, they were great. We're still eating some of them that are stored in the fridge. However, again, we didn't have enough. We'd like to plant 2-3 turns of these, and maybe focus on some easy-to-grow varieties instead of really cool heirlooms.

Leeks: I haven't picked them yet, but they look good.

Lettuce: We planted too much all at once, and then didn't harvest it aggressively enough. Next year, more turns, happier harvests. The varieties we chose were good. My favorite was Forrellenschlus.

Arugula: Was great while it lasted...again, plant more turns.

Spinach: see Arugula

Melons: I got one Charentais that unfortunately was over-ripe, and it doesn't look like any Emerald Gems will make it to maturity. I might try these again, but in the garden beds, not back against the fence - and on a trellis, now that I realize how small they are.

Peppers: I didn't end up growing any of them in containers. I also screwed up my labeling so I grew 6 or 7 jalepeno plants and only 1 or 2 bull nose bell :( More bell peppers next year....probably less little peppers, and more large hot peppers (I picked up a hungarian hot pepper at the farmer's market that's just about ready to harvest).

Swiss Chard: Good to eat, but I planted WAY TOO MUCH. It's sort of a pain to harvest it all. Next year I'll only plant 1 or 2 rows (this year I had 4 or 5).

Summer Squash: yum. But, I planted too many plants, too close together. Next year I'll do 2 of each plant. It's so easy to shred and freeze, and include in roasted tomato sauce :)

Winter Squash: I have 2 Marina di Onioggia, but they're not mature yet. It looks like I have about 12-15 butternut squash, but I haven't picked any yet. Butternuts will definitely be grown next year, with something to climb

Tomatoes: Not enough blondkopfchen (now that my niece and nephew love them). And oddly, not enough for preserving, even though I grew 8-10 paste tomatoes. We'll probably plant 2 beds of them next year, and I'll grow some determinate paste tomatoes for canning, saucing, etc.

Basil: Too much, if that's even possible. We had about 16 square feet of basil. Four square feet would suffice.

Overall: I need to plan for seasonality. I didn't grow enough early-season vegetables (radishes, peas, garlic scapes, etc) and the bounty started to come in in July, right when we went on vacation (also: no more summer vacations). I need to plan for multiple turns, and re-using garden space.

Garlic is ordered, so it's almost time to get started on next year's garden!