It’s cold outside here in Minnesota and starting to feel like winter. Now that all of my fall chores are done and everything is ready for the winter, I finally have time to relax and reflect on this years gardens
|Tropical garden (front) and perennial garden (back)|
I like to think of gardening as a learning experience.
Every time I make a mistake, I learn from it and try to be better the next summer.
I know that some things are in my control and others are not.
Each year the gardens will be different, even if I was able to do things exactly the same way.
|Center perennial garden|
So, this time of year, I like to take some time to think about the things that worked well in my garden this summer, and the things that didn’t work so well…
What Worked Well:
- Keeping the gardens tidy by cleaning up as plants became overgrown. The gardens looked much nicer and it made my fall garden cleanup easier too.
- Amending the soil with compost!! The more I compost, the more I reap the rewards!
- Creating a large compost bin rather than two smaller ones. It was much easier to turn the compost and the compost seemed to break down faster.
- Growing cucumbers on a trellis was great, next year I’ll do that with all of them!
- Adding 1500 ladybugs to my yard was worth the effort!! I noticed I had less pests in the gardens this summer.
- Planting the peas early (April 15th), and in partial shade. I had the best pea harvest ever this year. In previous years, I planted them way too late, they hate hot weather.
- Creating a dedicated area for my annuals rather than trying to cram them all into the perennial gardens. I always start a lot of annuals from seed and having a dedicated annual garden took the stress out of trying to figure out where to plant them all.
|Large perennial garden|
- I started a bunch of kinds of peppers from seed and ended up planting them all, and they were way too close together. I think this had a negative impact on my pepper crop. Next year I will thin out the seedlings better.
- Tomatoes from seed. This is the second year I’ve tried growing my tomatoes from seed and I haven’t had great results. Our growing season is too short to start tomatoes from seed. Next year I will spend the money on tomato plants in the spring rather than starting them from seed again.
- Broccoli and cauliflower. Although I had a decent broccoli harvest this year, it wasn’t the best. Also, I didn’t get any mature heads of cauliflower this year. I think I made the same mistake as I did with the peppers, I planted too many seedlings and they were too close together. Next year I will thin them out more
- Cold Frame. I built a cold frame a few years back and I still can’t figure out how to use it. I tried using it again this spring and fried the plants again. This winter I plan to do more research on the proper way to use a cold frame. I’ll give it one more year and if I can’t figure it out, I will get rid of it.
All in all, I am happy with the way the gardens performed this summer. I’m glad that my list of successes is longer than the list of things I need to try differently for next year. Please feel free to give me some advice and/or share your successes and areas for improvement in your gardens this year.
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