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this year’s garden: hits and misses part one

September 8, 2008

zora naki

When I came into the house yesterday with my haul (see above), I felt like a walking Lady Bountiful! This was the first year I really tried to garden, what with the raised beds and the trellis and everything and it worked! Things grew!

I’m still very far away from my goal of trying to grow most of the produce we eat in a summer season, but this is all a process and I’m figuring things out as I go. Some notes for next year:

tomatoes: I’ve already gone on about these in another post, but I forgot to account for the heavy feeding of tomato plants (and didn’t). I also followed the spacing recommendations for square-foot gardening, and I think the plants were a bit squished (and stunted) as a result. Even with these issues, the tomato cages I bought were too small for most of the plants – I think i’ll repurpose them as pepper cages or something.

peppers: I love peppers and would eat them all the time. Four plants. My yield? One small sad little green pepper about the size of a plum that got eaten, and 1 jalapeno pepper. Transplanting them from one bed to another in June probably didn’t help either. They’re flowering now, so obviously there is some confusion going on. I will give them their own dedicated patch next year, with some marigolds for moral support.

basil: I have never been lucky with basil, but this got devoured by slugs before it even cleared the sides of the raised beds. The seed tape basil seeds that I planted threw some attitude and refused to even show up. Next year? Pots all the way.

brussel sprouts: these grew like crazy (see above – bigger than your average 5-year-old), but were real estate hogs and got infested with some nasty moldy thing towards the end of the season. Probably not a repeater.

cucumbers: these need a lot more water than I gave them, and suffered as a result. There was also plant confusion between the pickling cukes and the slicing cukes. Next year, plant them closer to water in two entirely separate patches.

squashes: i finally overcame the curse of the zucchini and managed to grow a few past puberty and into zucchini bread! yay! Five spaghetti squash off of two plants doesn’t seem like a great yield to me, but i’ll take it. The mystery squash was yummy, even if I don’t know what it was. Next year, I probably wouldn’t give up raised bed space to squashes, but would dig a giant pit in the middle of a flower bed, fill it with compost and create a squash patch where they could sprawl with abandon. Perhaps more diligence against slugs too…

onions: I don’t know that it would be worth growing regular onions, given my limited gardening space, but I do think it’s worth it for their more expensive relatives – spanish onions and shallots. These grew early and quickly and came out very well, considering how little space and attention I gave them.

carrots: These did better than ever before, even though I should have thinned them out even more. I must be more ruthless!

Next up: beans, peas, artichokes, strawberries, fruit…

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One Comment

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  1. ourfriendben #
    September 9, 2008

    Good for you, Zora! I love this chronicle of triumphs and tragedies. Vegetable gardening is hard work, especially when you garden organically. I agree with you that, unless you’re doing it for a living, it’s best to focus on the things you love and things you can’t get at the market (and, of course, things that grow well for you). I think you’ve learned a lot this season, and next year will be even better. Congratulations!!! Looking forward to the next installment.

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