What Did You Learn This Year From Your Garden?

Lisa K
Lisa K Posts: 1,842 ✭✭✭✭✭

Two years ago this question was asked and it made some of reflect on lessons learned, so I thought with COVID and other things going on to see if anyone learned anything new. For me I was laid off in June so I have had the luxury of working in my garden this summer and I took advantage by trying a lot of starting new seeds especially medicinal herbs, some of which did well and others not so much. Now I am learning what to or how to use the new herbs and working on creating new recipes for the produce I grew this year. Some lessons I learned this year, our season in So. Calif have definitely shifted, I still have dragonflies in my yard even though I let the ponds dry out 😊, I had a lot of success moving some of my herbs to a partially shaded part of the yard the most surprising being ginger, I need to keep my greenhouse zipped up at night otherwise creatures will eat the seedlings & seeds (just discovered that😥), that basil can root in water, I learned about a new kinds of mints and one of the biggest things I learned is that I want more land so I can raise chickens!



  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,226 ✭✭✭✭

    @Lisa K I have learned a lot about my garden. Just today I harvested kale leaves that where over the sidewalk. Since I have such a narrow garden I didn't want someone to walk by and wreck the leaves. I should have an even larger spot to garden next year. They heavy bookcase will be gone and the rose bush will be gone and I am going to enjoy a sunnier space too. I understand although I haven't researched it yet that we will have a very cold winter. We have had those before. I just am not sure whether I will be able to plant spring peas or not. usually we plant those around February 25th. I have also learned that people love to add a footprint or two and that really messes with what the soil wants to grow. I always tamp down the soil because the critters including cats like to dig up the soil otherwise. One other thing I learned is that once I harvested the swiss chard more grew in its place and the leaves seemed to be sturdier. The Swiss chard was excellent when I steamed it just a little.

  • silvertipgrizz
    silvertipgrizz Posts: 1,990 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2020

    How much I have learned over the many years I have been gardening and how much I don't know in spite of the many years I have been gardening..

    so now I have begun the late summer, early fall, and into the winter gardening using my expansions and the new a frame trellises I"m building today...I"m sure my dunce hat will be ever bigger when the seasonal gardens are finished with me.....🙃

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,842 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @silvertipgrizz I am there with you, I am always discovering how much I have yet to learn regardless all the years I have been gardening. In fact I just bought the recommend book "How to Grow More Vegetables". 😊

  • silvertipgrizz
    silvertipgrizz Posts: 1,990 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Lisa K Some of us are gluten's for punishment so I wear my dunce hat with great pride lol...

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texas
    seeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭

    This year I have learned that I can grow cantaloupe because I allowed an unknown seedling get big enough to identify. I've learned that my compost tumbler needs more water to work than I have been giving it. I've learned there are a lot of little spots in my yard that I can plant a thing or three. I've learned that full sun does not mean full Texas sun, and that I need to plant some small trees that can handle the climate like vitex. The most important thing I have learned is to let Mother Nature tell me how to grow things and not to sweat every little setback.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,842 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @silvertipgrizz hahah, I consider it being a science experiment and we are mad scientists! 😂

    @seeker.nancy - Central Texas I agree! I have had plenty of setbacks and I too have learned not to sweat them. It is all part of the experiment 😊

  • dianne.misspooz
    dianne.misspooz Posts: 105 ✭✭✭

    This was my very first garden in about 3 decades so I didn't remember too much about plants. I couldn't believe how much a good pair of gloves would be a must-have. So many veggie plants have prickly stems!! Ouch!

    Also, I didn't have much in common with my aging father but I discovered that he was a great source to go to about growing crops. He grew up in the fields of MN so he knew quite a bit of things to help me in my own garden. I was so thankful to get closer to him while picking his brain.

    That's what I learned!


  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,842 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I discovered this morning a website that calculators First & Last Frost Dates - https://morningchores.com/frost-dates/ (you may have to copy the url since clicking on it does not seem to be working.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,842 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @nicksamanda11 when I grew borage many years ago I thought I had giant worms! Turns out that each flower produce 4 seeds and that they will grow anywhere, I had a plant growing in a pipe that was being used to support a fence! They also will grow well in a compost pile and any where you put the compost, my dad will never let me me forget that part!

  • burekcrew86
    burekcrew86 Posts: 248 ✭✭✭

    I learned to really think about what you want to harvest. I’m learning to hone in on how much of each crop to plant based on what I plan I to do with it. Somethings I end up planting too much of, while others I didn’t plant enough. Trying to get that equation right and I always take notes at the end of the growing season to try not to make the same mistakes of the years before. Constantly learning.

  • naomi.kohlmeier
    naomi.kohlmeier Posts: 380 ✭✭✭

    I've learned that it pays to double check what labels you are giving to your seedlings. I thought I planted at least German Pink tomatoes and ended up with only a few, so I'm bummed because i was planning on canning a large amount of tomatoes this fall. Apparently I planted Romas and San Marizanos. I have plenty of them.

    Don't plant cabbage near strawberries. Mine didn't grow very big.

    Sweet corn will grow to be 12 feet tall and produce multiple ears. Yum!

    Giving away excess produce makes other people happy and it makes me happy, too.

    Gardens are awesome places to think.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,842 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @naomi.kohlmeier I so agree that "Gardens are awesome places to think" and for me a great place to also de-stress!

  • mcarryon
    mcarryon Posts: 32 ✭✭✭

    I learned that you really need to tag your tomatoes. I grew several varieties this year and I am not sure which is which. Some I loved, some not so much. They all started out labeled, but somehow the tags disappeared.

  • naomi.kohlmeier
    naomi.kohlmeier Posts: 380 ✭✭✭

    I love all of these comments! Most of all, I love and am in awe of all the plants and their unique ways of growing. Isn't it just amazing that one corn kernel can produce hundreds more, one bean seed can produce multiple servings of beans over the season, one tiny tomato seed can produce a plant with enough tomatoes to feed a family and then some.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,842 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I learned yesterday that rats really love tomato plants! The completely devoured all of my baby plants :(

  • Merin Porter
    Merin Porter Posts: 1,026 admin

    I learned that I can start warm-weather plants from seed in my chicken-egg incubator.

    I learned that I still really, really, really hate to weed and that I need to come up with a better solution for deterring weeds in my garden. I'm pretty sure this will take the form of lasagna gardening for me.

    I learned to trench compost, and actually started doing it.

    I learned to grow celery and onion from grocery-store roots. I then learned that I really like the way celery plants look ... and that when I plant onion starts out in my flower bed, I need to protect them from my chickens. So, yeah.

    I learned that I need to start pruning my tomatoes much better. I also learned about topping tomatoes. I honestly had never even heard of that before this season.

    I learned that planting bearded irises in parts of your garden seems like a great idea in October, but will turn out to seem like a much worse idea mid-summer. This is due to the fact that you cannot mulch around them, which means that the weeding around them will be HORRIFIC.

    This, in turn, led to the lesson that when I don't weed, the pests in my garden become much worse.

    Finally, I learned that -- in the midst of all those weeds -- I had comfrey growing. It apparently was part of a butterfly seed mix I planted last year, and I just hadn't recognized it before now. (smiles sheepishly)

  • Charlie
    Charlie Posts: 18 ✭✭✭

    I learned that my cantaloupe likes to strangle anything in its path :)

    I learned Mint is a great pollinator, bees love the flowers and if you want it to take over your garden or property, it will, so pot planting may be a better idea.

    I learned that I was over-watering which brings more weeds and pests. Less watering, less spending time weeding and worrying about pests.

    I learned that hand-pollinating is awesome!

    I learned that I need to grow more pumpkin as I love pumpkin :)

    I continue to learn how just being present in your garden for as little as 10 mins when you have so much going on is excellent therapy.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,516 admin

    Welcome to TGN's forum @Charlie Wilkins. Gardening is great therapy.

  • Wendy
    Wendy Posts: 138 ✭✭✭

    From my garden I learned that oregano will grow best if given a regular hair cut. Last years oregano plant was brought in the house over the long winter. It was transplanted to the deck garden come Spring, and never stopped growing. Every few weeks it was given a hair cut, trimming off the tops down to a few inches remaining. The same oregano is still producing and we are hoping to bring it in for another winter.

  • lewis.mary.e
    lewis.mary.e Posts: 225 ✭✭✭

    I learned that no matter how great a garden is growing, sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. We had a beautiful vegetable garden growing on our friends' land. They found out the only good place to put up their new pole barn was 5 feet from the garden and the sand they needed for the location was directly under the garden. So, we picked our Buttercup squash more than a month early, and were thankful for the produce we harvested earlier (lettuce, radishes, peas, chard, kale, tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, etc.). We are still thankful for the opportunity our friends provided us, and excited for them as the pole barn will give them some much needed shelter for winter projects and for their horses.

    I also learned that Buttercup squash is fine even before the first frost, just not as sweet.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,374 admin

    Welcome to the forum, @lewis.mary.e!

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,842 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Suburban Pioneer I love the personality descriptions!