This Year's Garden Lessons
This is the first year that I really tried to grow enough to feed my family. I've had a garden for years but mostly just for fun. I've learned a lot this year. Even though I have seeds started for my winter garden I'm sad my summer veggies are almost ready to be pulled up.
What I learned is this year-
#1. Don't give up! I had to plant some seeds 3 times before they grew. I don't know if it was the seeds or some other reason. I'm glad now that my plants are coming to their end that I tried so many times because I've gotten so many more veggies this year.
#2. Try to work with the bugs. I know that sounds crazy, but I didn't want use pesticides unless I needed to. I had pill bugs that kept eating my bean plants as if I planted them just for them. After trying several things that didn't work, I decided to give them a few pieces of veggie scraps and it worked. So, every once in a while, I'd give them some more.
I also had aphid eggs and ants all over the bottom of my okra leaves. I finally realized if the infestation wasn't that bad to just let the ants take care of them. Otherwise, I'd spray a little neem solution to give the ants some help.
Also, I had big red ants on my Indian long beans I planted on a whim. I figured as long as they weren't bothering the beans, I'd just leave them alone like all of the spiders. We have those joro spiders everywhere now, but I had garden spiders in my beds all summer long.
#3. Let the volunteers come up wherever they grow. I had 4 tomato plants that came up where they weren't supposed to be growing like next to my potatoes. I decided not to pull them out and neither plant affected the other.
#4. I'm going to try to space my plants out more next year. Like the okra I planted was too close for me to walk between to pick once they started getting taller.
#5. Don't be afraid to try something new! I tried the Ruth Stout method this year with potatoes, and it worked great! I also tried the Indian long beans which grew like crazy. I found an organic fertilizer at the grocery store of all places marked half off that my plants seemed to love.
#6. Don't fight the Rabbit! I had a rabbit living in my backyard who ate all of my raspberry rumex lettuce but left everything else alone. I figured why fight the rabbit since it was only eating that one plant - well 8 of them but nothing else.
#7. Several plants never got fruit or only one fruit this year for the first time since I've been growing a garden. To this day I have a lovely zucchini plant that has never gotten a zucchini. Not one female flower at all. A tomato plant only got one tomato the entire time! Finally, after growing for weeks and weeks I have 2 small tromboncino squash. I did plant the seeds late, but the vine is huge and has tons of flowers that have fallen off. So, all that to say next year if I have plants that aren't producing, I'm not going to worry about it. I'm just going to plant something else.
#8. It takes more than I thought of every plant to actually feed my family. We had plenty and some to share but not much to put up for the winter which I was hoping to be able to do. So, next year I'll know to plant more of everything.
What have you guys learned this year? What will you be trying next year?
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