It is the beginning of November. My chickens are putting my garden to bed for the winter. All of my veggies have been picked and eaten, or preserved. (with the exception of some kale and lettuces). It is now the time to look back and determine what I can improve in my garden.
Planning: I feel I would have had a better garden had a drawn out a plan. I had a little bit of a plan, but nothing specific. I “winged it” a little more than is ideal. This is one of my personality traits that I really need to work on. I need to take my time and think things out a little more. I used to err on the other side of this dichotomy and go into “analysis paralysis”. I would get so caught up in minor details that nothing would get done. Now, I tend to just go for things. This is good, as I get to experience and I try more things. This is bad, as I could have had a higher more productive garden had I taken more time to create a plan. It’s time for this pendulum to swing back toward the side of planning. This plan should include the plants I intend to cultivate as well as their location. I always have this plan, but get a little overwhelmed with the companion planting.
Also planning the timing of my plantings. We have our early crops (peas, lettuce), are post-frost crops (tomatoes, cucumbers) and then there is time for one last planting. So I need to make sure my plan includes not only a parameter of space, but also a parameter of time.
Note Taking: I started off wonderfully. I drew my garden on piece of paper and wrote when my seeds went in the ground. After my first planting of peas and carrots, I stopped taking notes. I just started to plant. My notes are valuable for my future gardens and also with helping others with their gardens.
What I planted:
Next year I want to plant more:
Peas: Jaxson loves peas, and most of them didn’t even make it inside of our home. They are also Nitrgoen fixing, so they leave you with healthier soil.
Potatoes: Almost every morning, my husband makes a pan full of hash browns and eggs over-easy. We use a lot of potatoes. They store incredibly easily. No processing is needed to get them ready to store. Conventionally grown potatoes are heavily sprayed, so you want to avoid them. However, organic potatoes are very expensive, but growing them yourself is easy. This is something I want to plant enough of so that I don’t have to buy any from the grocery store.
Sweet Potatoes: These are super easy to grow, and just as easy to store. They require no processing, similar to the potato. I recently saw organic sweet potatoes for sale for $3.99 for two potatoes. Plus sweet potatoes have beautiful vines and have attractive purple flowers. Some people actually use these vines for landscaping and never benefit from the tasty sweet potato. Please note that sweet potatoes cannot be eaten fresh. They must first be cured (that means sit around) for a few months.
Cabbages/Broccoli/Brussel sprouts: I love these veggies, but I always get so frustrated because they become infested with cabbage moths. I think it may be worth the effort to plant some this year. I’ll cross my fingers and we can figure out how to get a successful brassica harvest together.
Next year, I want to plant less:
Corn: This is a hog of a plant. The directions on the seed package instructed me “to plant only in the most fertile of soil”. I was put off. Corn is good, but not good enough to give up my best soil.
Preparation: I will also prepare my beds for carrots with a little more love. A lot of my carrots got stuck and gnarled on rocks. They were quite difficult to harvest. I believe if I spent more time to prepare the bed, the harvest would have been much easier.
Those are my notes on this past year’s garden. What are yours?