Although the weather has turned back to quite warm here, last weeks snow and nights of freezing ended the gardening season for me. I thought I’d do a quick recap of how the season went. You’ll have to excuse the less than stellar photography, 98% of these were taken with my iPhone only for the purpose of documenting the process for my own learning next year.
I started some plants from seed. Only the tomatoes, kale, lettuce, spaghetti squash, zucchini, and pumpkins made it to the garden though. From that only the tomatoes were truly successful, which really surprised me. I figured they would be the failures! I will definitely be starting from seed again next year, I found this part to be the most rewarding on top of being super cheap! I won’t be starting kale, lettuce, or zucchini though. I will just start those in the garden and see how they do.
I was skeptical that my seedlings would do well because I didn’t have any lights on them. However, my living room is very light and I was diligent in rotating the plants often so they wouldn’t grow lanky. I also repotted them and planted them deeper into the pots to try and establish a good root system. Lastly, I hardened them off for quite a few weeks when the days were warm, and then would bring them inside for the nights. I did that until the nights weren’t quite so cool and then I left them outside until I had my gardens built.
It took me a while to get the gardens actually built and ready for plants. I didn’t plant anything until June 4, next year I will be planting much earlier!
These were the gardens on June 19, at this point I was quite happy with how things were coming along. Everything seemed to be popping up quite nicely.
This was the zucchini on June 30. I was so excited to actually have fruit, but had no idea that I wouldn’t be getting any good fruit from these plants due to flower rot. None of my zucchini were getting pollinated because I didn’t plant any flowers to attract bees. Also my soil was severely deficient in so many things. Two rookie mistakes I will be correcting next year.
Here’s a look at my very first tomato on July 9. I was ecstatic!
Here’s the pumpkin and squash plants on August 14. They looked like they should be doing well but they were complete failures for the same reasons as my zucchini. The vines actually grew much larger than these but started to die at the bottom and continue to grow at the top.
Here’s the left garden with the tomatoes, zucchini and you’ll see the beets which didn’t produce anything. Through the season I was diligent in pruning my tomato plants and I think it really helped get the amount of fruit that I did. This was right before I topped them off.
Here’s the tomatoes right after being topped off on September 6. I topped them off to force them to give the nutrients to the fruit that was already established rather than produce more fruit. I didn’t have many days before it snowed to see how well this worked but from what I can tell it was beneficial. I will do it again next year, maybe a week or so earlier.
I really wanted my tomatoes to ripen on the vine, so when the forecast called for snow I made sure that the temperatures would stay above freezing and just covered them with a sheet. After a couple days of snow, however, the forecast was showing temperatures well below zero and I was forced to pick all the tomatoes. I placed them all on the window sill and they are ripening up pretty well. I got about 40 big tomatoes and a lot of cherry tomatoes. Next year I will plant more tomatoes and plan on doing quite a bit of canning. We buy a lot of canned tomatoes so it would definitely all be used up.
This was a couple days after it froze, pretty sad looking!
And finally, this was the last harvest of the season, half a bucket of potatoes!
All in all it wasn’t a superb year for my gardens, but I set out with a goal of learning and I definitely learned a lot! I kept notes during the year of when things were planted, what did well, what went wrong, where things were planted etc. I’ll be referring back to them next year in order to plan well. I’m already preparing lists! I really can’t wait to see how I do next year, until then I’ll be planting herbs and collecting indoor plants to tide me over.
Did you plant a garden this year? Any words of wisdom for me?