It’s that time of year again, the time to sit back and reflect on the gardening season. What better day to do it than the first day of the new year?
Every year I like to write a garden reflection post so I can keep track of what worked well (and do it again next year) and what didn’t work so well (so I can do it better next year) in the garden.
|Large perennial garden|
As I did in my 2011 garden reflection, this year I’d like to start by following up on “what didn’t work so well” from last years list. The main thing that didn’t go so well in 2011 was discovering that my vegetable garden is becoming too shady because the neighbor’s trees are maturing. I can’t cut down the trees, so I had to figure out ways to work with this loss of full sun.
The first thing I did was research what vegetables grow well in part shade. I was excited to see the list is quite long. This helped me plan my garden accordingly.
I also decided to try growing some of the sunny crops in a sunnier area of the yard. The only problem with this is that the soil in the garden area isn’t as rich as it is in my vegetable garden. I think I’ll try this again next year, but I’ll have to haul some compost over to enrich the soil. Who knows, maybe this sunny area will become a little vegetable garden of its own.
Another thing I tried was growing several peppers and a tomato plant in pots. This worked out really well, the peppers did fantastic. The hardest part was keeping the plants hydrated, especially during the heat wave and drought in June/July. We also had issues with blossom end rot, but it wasn’t too bad. The best part, we were able to move the pots into the porch in September, and were harvesting peppers well into November. We’ll definitely do this again next year!
|Growing peppers in pots worked really well|
- Last fall I learned about lasagna gardening, and just in time because I was planning a few new beds for spring. WOW, this was fantastic and saved me a ton of time and labor in the spring. This is how I will start all of my new garden beds in the future. The only change I would make (and advice for those who plan to use this method) is that next time, I’ll determine the size of the garden and put the edging in before I start piling on the layers. This way, I won’t have to dig up or dispose of any grass.
- My awesome husband build me a greenhouse in 2012, and it turned out great. I love my greenhouse and was able to harvest early spring vegetables in April this year. That’s two months earlier than I’ve ever harvested anything before. Some day, I hope to have a permanent greenhouse, but this one is perfect for now.
- Several years ago, I started planning my vegetable garden every year. This year, I decided to try the same technique with some new perennial garden beds. It takes time to sit down and research the plants you’re going to plant, and then come up with a final planting plan. But oh boy, this is totally worth the effort! Taking the time to plan the proper plant spacing, cascading heights, bloom times and colors will make my gardens even more fantastic than they would be otherwise. I will definitely do this from now on.
- I found a few cool projects on Pinterest last winter, and was able to incorporate them into my landscaping in 2012. I added a tiered planter (which was not only easy, but very inexpensive) and cinder block planter (which was also inexpensive, but definitely more labor intensive!). I love these, and will continue to scour Pinterest for more project ideas for next year.
- I added a beautiful architectural feature in my vegetable garden this year, my squash arch. This turned out to be the star of the show in my 2012 garden. I got the idea from a fellow blogger, and this will be a permanent feature in my vegetable garden for years to come. It not only look gorgeous, it works great to support the squash.
|Squash arch was a wonderful addition to my 2012 vegetable garden|
- Another awesome addition to my vegetable garden was some new bean and cucumber trellises. These arched supports were inspired by my squash arch, and a combination of a few designs I found on Pinterest. The arch design worked great and made harvesting super easy because the vegetables hung down. I grew my lettuce and spinach under the arches, which was a huge space saver.
- As I already mentioned, growing peppers in pots worked great and I will definitely do this again next year.
What Didn’t Work So Well:
- My spring was consumed with finishing projects left undone from last year, or the year before. From now on, I will try hard to finish a project before I start the next one. No more “I’ll finish that next year” for me!
- I made a list of the vegetables I’m going to skip next year. Most of these have been on my mental list for a few years, but I just couldn’t give up on them… until now. It’s not worth wasting space in the garden to grow vegetables that never do well for me. So, this year, I vow to finally give up, and stick to growing vegetables that do well for me.
It’s fun to read through my garden reflections from previous years. Once again, my list of successes is longer than my list of misses. That’s a good thing!
What about you? Do you have a list of hits and misses from your 2012 garden?