Monday, February 17, 2014

Spring will eventually come (it better!)

Although it doesn't seem like it now, with over two feet of snow on the ground; spring will eventually come and I must be ready.  Now is the time to reassess my seeds, garden plans, and what I learned from last year's garden. Since 2013 was the first year with a vegetable garden at the new house I learned a lot. Number one lesson being don't have your gallbladder out at the peak of harvest time. So here is a review in no particular order:
Onions- started too many; read you could plant them in bunches of three, but the ones planted singly did much better; while I like the taste of Ailsa Craig onions they didn't last very long; I must get the onions out of the garden when the tops die; it would be easier to plant seeds singly in my mini planters then have to detangle the roots to plant in the garden.  Definitely don't need to plant so many as I still have plenty left.
Tomatoes-can not plant them any where near the area where I grew them last year. The large walnut that fell down in Hurricane Sandy has poisoned the soil for tomatoes. If they grew better I would have had enough, but I didn't get more than needed for salads and cooking, none for canning. 
Potatoes-we don't eat that many; need longer storage varieties; they were very happy with lots of leaf mulch; my star crop.
Thai pumpkin-too much space needed, too little harvest and too long to harvest, won't grow again.
Spaghetti squash- we don't really eat much, not worth the space.
Boston Marrow squash-makes great pumpkin pie, easy grower, good yield; but now I have a ton frozen so I won't need to grow any this year.
Sweet Meat Squash- harvested two very small squash, I guess it really doesn't like my growing conditions, although the vines grew great.
Peppers-slow to start then took off, great harvest on all varieties, hot and sweet. Didn't seem to mind the walnut tree area but were a little farther away than the tomatoes.
Tomatillos- great but don't need five plants. Two would be fine.
Collective farm woman melon-how could you go wrong with  a name like that? The rabbits loved the new plants and they had trouble getting going, never did very well.
Black beans-grew great, but left too long to harvest, should have just pulled out the plants and hung them in the greenhouse until I could shell them; must make black bean chili.
Corn- the popcorn did great and actually works. Sweet corn grew well and tassled a little too close to the popcorn, tasted bleh. But hey, I've never had enough sun to grow corn so this was amazing. And the goats liked the stalks.
Green beans- ready to harvest when I was having surgery, not the beans' fault, will try again this year.
Basil- grew fabulously! Definitely will grow thai basil again too.
Cucumbers- did OK, need better supports.
Sweet potatoes-started slips early but they took forever to get going, probably too cold upstairs in the unheated guest room, will start slips near the woodstove this year.  The three slips I grew last year yielded sweeter sweet potatoes than the slips I bought.  
Broccoli- did great under row cover, very buggy not under row cover.

Things I want to make sure I do this year:
I never did plant any root veggies so I need to make that a priority this year.
I also didn't plant much in the way of cover crops.  The oats I planted around the tomatoes were all eaten by the birds.  The clover was eaten by something unless it was under the row cover.
Need to do more with row cover.
Have ordered these hot kaps for keeping new plants/seedlings protected from rabbits/birds.
Need to get shade cloth for the greenhouse.
Must get started now!

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