A few weeks back I hit a wall. The thought of harvesting, canning, preserving, or putting up anything else made me want to go take a nap. My poor garden was overgrown and out of control. Every time I walked by it, I would cringe a little, yet, do nothing about it. It's been over a month since I wrote my last garden update post, mostly because I was burned out. I needed to take a break, so I did. And my garden was so sweet and continued to give me fresh peppers, broccoli, tomatoes, chard, herbs, and strawberries, despite all of the neglect. What a good little garden. Now the temperatures have dipped below freezing and it's time to get my garden cleaned up for the season: get all the sad droopy plants pulled out, put away the accessories (poles, trellis, rakes, and tomato cages) and till up the soil so I'm ready to plant in the spring.
I'm already thinking about my garden for next year, and plan to sit down with my notes from this year, to see what worked and what didn't.
Here's a recap of some of the vegetables I planted this season, and a few things to remember for my garden next year:
- Plant less peppers. My peppers eventually turned color and they were beautiful, but I had way more than I needed. We like to grow hot peppers and dry them to use as a spice, but I still have some from last year that we didn't eat. I can definitely go easy on the peppers next year. I will plant the orange ones again, they were super sweet. I did make some hot sauce the other day and it is HOT!
- Tomatoes: I want to try some heirloom varieties next year, which will be easier once I have seed savers seeds at my fingertips. I'm looking forward to learning more about the best varieties to plant, and hoping to pick some of my friend's brains about this. I will plant my cherry tomato plant (just 1) in a large pot up by my door, so I can just pluck them off and pop them in my mouth while I'm sitting on the patio.
- Beans: It was a crappy year for my beans. I got my large harvest for canning from the Furleigh Farm so it didn't matter, but I planted 4 rows of beans, and only 3 plants survived. Sounds sad, but in reality, those 3 plants provided enough beans to feed Dave and I throughout the growing season.
- Cucumbers: I planted 4 cucumber plants, 2 survived. I will plant about the same amount next year, but again, I got my bulk cucumbers from the Furleigh's for putting up. Read about my pickles and tickles gathering here!
- Greens: I thought I was being really fancy this year and scatter planted my greens. Turns out that's good in theory, but when it comes to harvesting and taking care of them, not so much. I also planted an ornamental kale that did awesome, but you can't eat it. I will plant a lot more greens next year (less lettuce and more spinach, kale, and chards). I really want to plant the rainbow chard because it adds a lot of color to the garden.
- Celery: I can't really say I like celery that much, but I really liked the look of my purple celery plant. I never harvested anything from them, so probably don't need to plant so many next year, but they really were too pretty to be mad about.
- Strawberries: I raved about my strawberries and I will continue to rave about them. I'm leaving them, right in the middle of my garden and we will see what happens. I'm wondering if they are only a 2 year plant?
- Broccoli: Success! All my broccoli plants did well again this year. I find this is one of the easiest, most delicious things to grow.
- Onions: I failed at onions. I'm not sure what I did wrong, but I will do a little more research next year to make my harvest better. I planted both red and white onions and harvested around 8 onions total.
- Carrots: This was my first successful year with carrots. At least I call it successful, although I would definitely not get the award for prettiest looking carrots. They were short and fat, which was maybe the variety I planted? I would love to grow more varieties of carrots, and maybe even experiment with the colored ones...
- Asparagus: the asparagus patch we planted took off--woohoo! I'm happy to start getting that established, I really love having fresh asparagus first thing in the spring.
- Fruit trees: we have plans (hopefully we get it done before the ground freezes) to plant some of the leftover apple trees in the space behind my garden. I'm hoping that as the years pass, we can establish a small little orchard with apple, pear, and cherry trees. These things take time, but we plan to be here for awhile, so I can be patient. :)
- Raspberries and blueberries: we got a few raspberries off of our bushes this year, but I'm afraid that I didn't tend to the patch they were planted in and it was so overgrown with weeds, part of the raspberries got run over. I need to spend a little more time cleaning up the patch, and we will plant more raspberries next year to grow the patch.
- Herbs: I think I will work on a separate post about my herbs...I'm going to experiment with using them in vinegars, oils, and tinctures, and I pulled lavender, rosemary, and lemon thyme from my garden and potted them to bring them inside. Not sure if they will survive but I thought it was worth a shot. Any tips for drying and using herbs would be greatly appreciated!!
I plan to write a post outlining my plans for Garden 2016 in more detail, but some things I'm definitely going to add next year: zucchini and summer squash (just a few), rainbow chard, potatoes and maybe sweet potatoes (grown in straw bales?), and continue to add to the orchard.
All my other Garden 2015 posts: