And so, as the leaves all start falling from the trees and we are preparing to celebrate Halloween, I am looking at photos of the front beds and getting excited and ready for next year. I’d be lying if I didn’t admit I’m a little disappointed in how the garden turned out this year. The flowers did great – the vegetables were a huge disappointment. I can sit here and blame a variety of factors but the ultimate “X factor” is me. All my careful planning and at the end of the day, I did not follow all the way through. Unfortunately, there was not enough yield to do a bunch of posts on canning and preserving food, recipes, etc. I am more than a little disappointed in myself. However, instead of stewing about what went wrong this year, I want to go ahead and start planning for next year and what I can do to make sure my gardens do better. Some thoughts:
- First and foremost, I am going to invest in a good drip watering system that I can turn on in the morning and make sure all my veggies get a good watering – not too much, not too little. That will go a long way.
- I will make a list of everything I intend to plant for the year, and everything I already have coming up. Then I will research how much water, sun, fertilizer, etc. that each plant needs. Armed with this information, first thing this spring, I will move any plant that is not in a properly suitable location and come up with a schedule of daily activities for each part of the garden. I will fertilize on a schedule, and this plan also includes weeding and deadheading. This will require a lot of planning, but I have the whole winter for it. If I actually have a plan, it will be much easier to follow it.
- For vegetables – I will plan to make sure that everything is being planted at the proper time, and with the proper amount of sun, space, etc. Most importantly, when I start to have yield, I will have a plan for what to do with it! When I pick it, I should have recipes on the ready to enjoy it. What I can’t eat right away, I should have a plan to share, can, freeze, etc. I do not want another year where good produce rots on the vine (or in the fridge) because I did not have a good plan for using it.
- Most importantly — I will remember to take time to enjoy the garden every day. Every morning, start my day with a cup of coffee wandering around the garden, enjoying it as I water. Make sure to enlist the help of the littlest hands in my house so we can all enjoy getting a little dirty and working outside.
- We got too busy with renovations and lots of other things going on at home for me to commit to the Master Gardener program this year as originally planned. I want to follow through and complete that course next year so I can learn some better practices and how to plan/organize/execute the garden better going forward, and hopefully help others do the same!
It’s never too early to try to do a little better the next time around. I have a ton of work to do in the beds over the next week or two, planting bulbs, moving a few perennials, cutting down the spent annuals, weeding, pruning. And then – let the research begin!! I will be sure to update the plant specific sections of the website with the research I do for all the plants I will have next year and that I am interested in having in the future. In the spring, I will also publish my weekly/monthly garden care schedule.