Well it is almost the end of the gardening season. I am trying not to notice that my August garden is calling me some very bad names. And I deserve that name calling. I love March-June garden. It is so neat and pretty and loved. July always ruins everything. Company comes and camps happen and I have less time to devote to the garden. Although to be completely truthful the month long fight in June with the bugs and slugs really wore me down. If I had a dollar for every slug I pulled out of my garden this year I would be wearing a very nice new outfit from Ann Taylor.
I was laying in bed this morning thinking about my yard and how things went this year. What I am happy about, what I am sad about. Now don't you dare stop reading... this is a good tale with drama, violence, and lessons learned. I am thinking it may win a Newberry. :)
It started in March. Everyone says that is too early to start. But I am a very impatient person. And the minute the ground can be rototilled I am SO there. Everyone talks about me behind my back and I am happy to provide the conversation. This was the first year I really thought about my decision to plant early in New England. The things I put in the ground first are potatoes, peas, lettuce, beets and onions. I choose varieties that like cold and even prefer it. I think my potatoes did very well this year. I got a lot of Yukon Gold's and white potatoes. I wish I would have planted more Red Norlands and I will do that next year. Brian thinks the potatoes are his job and I have the whole winter to convince him that they are now my job.
The onions did not do well. Onions in all my other gardens in other states were not needy but onions in Massachusetts need something, I do not know what but I will not be bested by them. So I am going to have to find some stimulating reading on growing onions in New England for the winter. They just never get big.
Peas are my favorite part of the garden. I put all my hopes and dreams into the peas. This year I planted 6 rows of peas. They did pretty well. They all came up. They did not produce as much as I thought they should. Me and my expectations:) And some rows were really tall and some rows hardly grew. I think they needed better soil. For the first time in ALL my years my peas got a disease. All the rain in New England caused some problems this year. We got to eat peas but not near enough. I am thinking better soil will fix my problems with the peas.
My beans did great this year. I planted 9 rows. I planted them a little close so they were hard to pick so I will watch that next year. Every year I think I will not have enough room and I end up having plenty. SO I need to remember that. This year I decided to try not to waste so I froze my beans. I do not think we are a canned green bean kind of family but frozen I think we can do. So I blanched them and froze them. I am anxious to find out if they like them.
I love seeing a little seed become something. It is so rewarding that I always plant more than we need. Especially squash. This year I had 6 squash plants and that is way too many. I can not believe I am saying this but I think I will not plant squash and cucumbers next year. We just do not eat them as fast as they appear and then I waste and feel guilt.
The beets are just barely getting ready for me to pick. Same with the carrots. The pumpkins are still growing. I am curious to see how they work out.
I planted some tomato plants and some pepper plants all around the outside of the house to see how they do in different locations. The peppers are doing well. The drama of the year in the garden was blight which got to a lot of the tomatoes in New England. I was one of the ones that got it. And I am so glad that it was a large scale thing so that I did not have to wonder why me. All 24 of my tomato plants within 3 days were ruined. I was SO sad. I have had two horrible tomato years and it is starting to discourage me. Being a farmer is an emotional roller coaster. I need to figure out a really awesome plan for staking them and put some mulch down for them to lay on. I have never loved tomato cages and the last couple of years I have used wooden stakes but the plants get so heavy they just pull the stake right over.
One thing I tried this year that I have never tried before is planting flowers. That has been hugely successful. And very rewarding. I love going outside everyday and picking my own flowers. So I think I will add a lot more flowers next year.
So I learned a lot about slugs this year. And I learned about blight this year. And information is power so I am going to use that information to fight nature next year :) I also was able to get some horse manure this year which made me SO happy. Yes, horse manure makes me happy:)
So my biggest goal for next year is to have supremely happy soil.