Saturday, December 13, 2014

2014 Garden Recap

I searched through my pictures to find a pretty picture of my garden to remind me how beautiful it can be because it sure looks crappy right now:

Isn't this just God-awful??  Believe it or not but we had a big giant wind storm the other night and when I got up in the morning all the cardboard and big heavy wet rugs had been blown off.  How could that be when they were weighted down with bricks??  That was a new one on me.

As you can see I've run out of rugs and cardboard so when I get a new box I quickly tear it down and go out to the garden.  After I weed a patch that matches the size of my cardboard I mulch it with compost and cover it up.  In the spring I just remove the cover from the section I want to plant and plant it.  No weeds!!  Genius.

I want to start with my successes from my gardening year.  First I get my seeds only from Territorial and my plants from Red Dog Farm which is a local organic farm.  In my experience they have worked the best in my gardening conditions.

Also, I now know for sure that I can only achieve success in growing basil and peppers by keeping them in my greenhouse all summer.  I grew several different peppers from Red Dog and they all did really well.  I also grew basil in the garden but it didn't compare to the greenhouse basil.

Now that I think about it I had good success with all my root crops and they were all grown from seed except the onions and potatoes.  This was my best year ever for carrots and beets.  I only grow beets for pickling and they are crazy good.  I had potatoes all over the garden because last year's crop volunteered.  I'm not gonna plant new ones next year and see what happens.  The radishes were beautiful and sweet and one of the first things for harvest.

Onions are the best!!  I love love the onions.  This year I planted Walla Wallas, yellow onions, red onions, and shallots.  I gave half of my starts to Tina and she grew them too.

And the garlic!!  This was my first year with the garlic.  I got my bulbs from a friend at my knitting group.  She got them from a friend who smuggled them in from Italy.  Everyone of the cloves that I planted grew into beautiful heads of garlic.  I even braided my garlic.  Now that was fun.  This year I planted twice as much as last year using the biggest heads.

I have blueberry, raspberry, and strawberry beds and they produced wildly all summer due to the different bearing plants.  I did not buy fruit from June  until October.  Oh, yeah.  I also got a lot of blackberries from the vines that hang over my fence from the neighbors.  I'm starting to worry that when I cut them back off my fence every fall that it just makes them come back like gangbusters.  I don't know.

I had mixed luck with my tomatoes.  I bought a Roma and a Sungold and put them in black tomato growing bags in the number 1 garden.  The Sungold, of course, went crazy and produced very well.  The Roma gave out 10 to 12 delicious tomatoes and curled up its toes, turned black, and died.  I had literally hundred of volunteer tomato starts in my gardens this year.  I pulled them like crazy but one got away from me and was quite large before I noticed it.  I thought what the heck and let it grow.  That thing gave off billions of cherry tomatoes.  You never know.

This is the year of the volunteer because nasturtiums ending up taking over the green beans.  I thought that they were pretty so I left them.  Wrong.  I had dinner sized nasturtium leaves and hardly any beans.  You live, you learn.

Since I grow my zucchini in an old wheel barrow and my cucumbers in a big pot I thought that I would try seeds developed just for pots.  I'm here to tell you that I did not get one zucchini or one cucumber.  Who every heard of that??  I'm never doing that again.  I don't know why it didn't work.  It just didn't.  Maybe I pissed off the gardening God.  Who knows.

Last summer was just too hot for lettuce.  My beautiful lettuce would just about be ready to harvest and the next day it would bolt.  I've decided that I'm not growing lettuce any more.  It takes up a lot of room when Chimacum Corners has beautiful lettuce grown locally and that is what I will be using from now on.  However, I will still be planting chard because I love the heck out of it and it does very well in my garden.

As usual I grew dill and cilantro in my garden, as well as sunflowers, dahlias, cosmos, zinnias, and marigolds.  I believe, and I might be wrong, that flowers attract the bees for good pollination.  Plus, they add so much to the beauty of the garden.  And you can pick them for endless bouquets.

Growing a garden is a lot of work.  There is no getting around it.  And it can be heartbreaking.  But if you want beautiful produce that you know is pure as the driven snow, go for it.  And we still haven't talked about the effect of growing your own produce has on the grocery budget.  Talk about stretching a buck.  Not to mention the free exercise.

As I look back on my gardening year I think about how satisfying it is to go out in the garden every day and decide what the menu is going to be.  Eating food that is perfectly ripe is a real joy.  It just doesn't taste the same as what you get at QFC during the winter.  Who knew that the humble carrot could be so good??

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