Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The year in gardening

The year is almost over, and the reflection virus has been unleashed.  Top ten lists are dominating print and online media--the top ten movies, the top ten news stories, etc.  Regarding the gardening season, I have collected my own data on what has and hasn't worked, and made resolutions for 2009 as I put my community garden plot to bed.  Here are my lists, not in any particular order, with a few links to past posts.

The top 5 successful plants in my plot:
1.  basil
3.  Sungold tomatoes*
4.  eggplant*
5.  California poppies

The top 5 failures:
1.  watermelon* (my daughter really wanted to grow it, but I had my doubts)
3.  fall lettuces* (Bibb and Romaine, planted too late)
4.  the other heirloom tomatoes* I planted (some had ripened but not without rot, catfacing or other problems)
5.  Scarlet Nantes carrots (they had been covered for a while by squash leaves from a neighbor's plot, and I harvested only about a half dozen)

*started in pots by others, and transplanted

Resolutions for 2009:
1.  Provide more supports for tomatoes, especially large varieties like Brandywine.
2.  Contain the strawberries so they don't spread like crazy.
3.  Grow the following:  green beans (haven't head of any Mexican bean beetle infestations lately, and Curtis's crop left me envious), spinach, brussel sprouts, and broccoli (mildly successful in my backyard, would like more).
4.  Skip the following:  peppers (not reliable), carrots (not reliable plus cheap to buy anyway), and some squash varieties that take up too much space.
5.  Start more plants indoors and sow more varieties into the plot, when possible.
6.  Mulch earlier to combat the spread of pigweed and other weeds.  Try to find salt hay before it becomes scarce.
7.  Plug some important gardening reminders into my calendar (such as starting my fall lettuce earlier, from seed).
8.  And finally, keep up the blog.  The exercise in blogging has helped me expand my knowledge of gardening and connect with other gardeners.  Now that I have a better camera (a Christmas present) and some experience, I hope to reach out to more gardeners and deliver more informative and relevant posts.

Happy New Year!  If you have any thoughts or resolutions, please share them.


Bryan Bunch said...

I think my biggest success was raspberries, which all started with some plants that your neighbor across the street was discarding. Biggest failure was leeks--I think the plot they were in is the problem. I never had much success with that plot. Even the arugala, a fail-safe plant that is great for children because it is so easy and reliable (like radishes), did poorly in that plot. I did have more pole beans than I could cope with (from two seed packets). Broccoli failed to head up. Tomatillos were eaten to stems by unknown insect, but then rebounded late in the summer and produced one batch of green salsa. I forgot to plant basil (biggest mental error). But we had just enough tomatoes, so garden was a success.

Dan said...

I also had very poor results with bell peppers but not the mild banana peppers.

Heirlooms Tomatoes I have always had success with but last year was a very poor year for tomatoes in my yard as well. Way to much rain and cool temps.

Happy New Year and best of luck with next seasons garden.

Melinda said...

I love your reason for blogging! I'm getting a blog up and going (still under construction) for kinda the same reasons. I also hope it will help me keep a tidier garden since I will be taking pictures and sharing. I'm building a new raised bed and moving some perennials to make room for some beans in a good sunny spot. I bought an old aluminum water trough at a garage sale, drilled holes along the sides near the bottom and planted my herb garden in it. It sits on the deck near the back door and is perfect for reaching out the back door for a quick handful of thyme, rosemary, chives or oregano. One of my biggest successes.

Black Eyed Susan said...

Um....I had some Mexican Bean Beetles 2 years ago, but the beans survived it anyway. Good luck!!