Healthy Eating/ In the Kitchen/ Living Life

Garden Wrap-up: What I Learned from My First Year of “Real” Gardening

Seeing as I’m on day 4 of my Fall Maritime vacation, and 1700 miles from home, I’m pretty far removed from gardening right now. That means that much of the end of season wrap-up work might get delegated to hubby. Or it will just be waiting for me when I get home. Who knows. There is actually not much left to do, since I didn’t really plant any root vegetables. All of my plants are pretty much done. The only thing left are the carrots, and I’m not sure that they will ever really be ready since they were not thinned. Oh well, live and learn. 

mature garden bedAnd learn I did. My first year of “real” gardening taught me a lot. And I’m sure I will continue to learn a lot every year that I continue to garden. I thought I would pass along my new found knowledge to any other beginner or wannabe gardeners out there. Here is a summary.

What I Got:

– Tomatoes: Around 15-20lbs, plus about 1-2lbs that I threw out directly off the vine due to rot or bugs

– Zucchini: Infinity. Seriously. I thought they would never end.

– Canteloupes: 2 (one really good, one terrible)

– Watermelons: 3, though they were ALL carried away by some type of critter before they were ripe

– Herbs: as many as I needed for the summer

– Jalapenos: 5-10 small ones

– Tomatillos: around 2lbs, but many, many more had not yet reached maturity when I left. Perhaps they still will yet, or maybe they don’t do well in such a Northern climate. Anyone know?

– Kohlrabi: 4 medium

– Garlic: about 15-20 bulbs, plus scapes

– Carrots: none yet, but hopefully some (maybe small) ones at some point

Mature zucchiniWhat Will I Do Differently Next Year:

– I will plant fewer tomatoes and zucchini. There were just too many for my family to eat, especially with a garden plus CSA.

– I won’t plant melons in my garden boxes. They take up WAY too much room. I may still try them again, but at the edge of my yard somewhere that I don’t need the space.

– I will arrange my garden differently, and give each plant more space so that the bigger plants (tomatoes and tomatillos) don’t drown out the peppers like they did this year.

– I will thin my carrots.

– I will plant different herbs. Some I just didn’t use (sage, lavender, chamomile) and some didn’t grow well (cilantro, thai basil). I will also try dill.

– I will try more root vegetables. This will mean planting earlier than I was able to this year. That means no Spring travel next year!

– I will try starting my own seeds for things like tomatoes, then plant the seedlings. There are just way more options in seeds than there are in plants that are already started. Plus it is the cheaper way to go. Again, it will mean getting an earlier start.

kohlrabiA few words about CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)

In addition to this being the first time growing a garden, it was also the first year my family subscribed to a CSA. Not knowing what to expect, we chose a full-sized, or standard share, once a week. This, plus our garden veggies, turned out to be way too much for my family to manage. Even though we are big vegetable eaters for the most part. We haven’t decided whether we will do the CSA again next year or not, but we know that if we do, we will choose only a biweekly or small-sized share. No point in wasting perfectly good veggies!

Canteloupe

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Richard Tooley
    September 17, 2014 at 12:53 PM

    My father always said; “Plant one hill of zucchini. Once it is up, cull half the hill. After another 2 weeks, cull half the hill again. You will still have to many zucchini.” 🙂

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