Thursday, 7 November 2013

Garden Update Nov 6th


The garden looks like a big mess to be honest.  It's overgrown with weeds everywhere, making me want to cry. I harvested the last fodder crops this morning in a rare moment of sunshine. And now only a few plants of kale are left. The new strawberry plants, onions and garlic have been planted a few weeks ago (beginning of October) and I managed to clean the bushes of the weeds. The blackberry bush has been cut back but everywhere else, I need to clean the weeds prior to winter. As it's raining a lot right now, that's not possible, which is frustrating.

However on the positive side, harvest was good this year. Some things thrived, such as the cucumbers, the berries, the fodder crops and the radish, other things like carrots or cherries didn't do too well but all in all, I am stacked up for winter quite well, especially if you consider that it is actually  only a small plot were I grow.

I hope that it will stay dry this weekend for a few hours so that I may work on putting the garden to sleep for the winter.

I actually thought it was a good idea to share my answers to the Garden Journal questions from Little Mountain Haven

1. What were your 5 favorite tasting vegetables/fruits for the 2013 growing season?

Rhubarb, Peas, cucumbers, beans, strawberries
2. What vegetable/fruit do you wish you grew more of?
Potatoes, I really didn't grow enough potatoes, this year, just a handful

3. What vegetable/fruit did not grow well this year? Were the reasons in your control or not?
The raspberries do well at all, they were planted the previous fall and I think the animals running over them in the winter and early spring (prior to the fence being in place) might have ruined some. I hope they have recovered enough for next year.
The second planting of carrots didn’t turn out well either, it was probably to dry later on, despite me watering the garden daily, they had not enough water to grow. Same with the salad, that was doing quite poorly this year due to the lack of water.
The cherry tree was doing poorly too, too much heavy rain and late frost in early spring followed by no rain at all for two month.
4. What vegetable/fruit did you have surplus amount of?
Cucumbers and tomatoes did amazingly well. Especially the cucumbers, I ended up with a harvest of 70+ cucumbers from 4 plants.

5. What was the weather like for this growing season? What made it favourable or challenging?
There were a lot of extremes this year. Very wet April and May, a very dry and hot June and July with no rain at all. August was a bit cooler but still not much rain and then a warm September.

6. What kind of garden beds did you have this year? Did they work? Are you adding or changing any of your garden beds for the next growing season?
Majority was a big garden plot with some rained beds made of stone and some garden pots and grow bags. It worked surprisingly well. For next year I am transferring more of the unused garden into ‘land’ and am using a few more raised beds then before.

7. Did you try any new garden techniques? Did they work? Would you do it differently?
Didn’t try anything this year but have some plans for next year for companion planting.

8. Name something new that you grew for the first time. Would you grow it again?
I have been growing fodder crops for the rabbits, they turned out great and are great inexpensive food source for the meat rabbits. Also planted kale for the first time this year and will do so again next year

9. What vegetable are you thinking of discontinuing for next season?
none, everything I planted this year will be planted next year too

10. What vegetable or fruit did you purchase lots of this year that you could try growing next season?
Potatoes and tomatoes, I'd like to grow enough tomatoes to make salsa, sauce and ketchup to feed us for the year.
11. Did you practice succession planting? Did it work or how would you do it differently?
Yes I did and it worked wonderfully

12. How was your soil this year? What do you need to add to it for the next growing season?
The soil has been quite good, half of the garden space that I used was grass last year and with some compost on top of it, it worked amazing. There are a few areas were I need to add more compost which will be done in the next few weeks.

13. Did you practice crop rotation? Do you know where you need to plant things next year?
Yes, I did practice crop rotation and have a plan for next year where things need to go. A bit difficult in the areas were I did succession planting though but it’s still manageable.

14. Name some challenging gardening obstacles that you wish you could conquer?
The (early) summer heat that stuns the grow despite me spending hours each day watering the garden

15. What were your worst garden pests this year? Did you practice any methods for deterring pests? (via smells, companion planting, crop rotation etc). How would you try and prevent pest problems for next year?
I have been lucky in terms of bugs but I had a very persistent root vole that ate the roots of many flowers and some beans and some peas, as well as the roots of a young cherry tree. I think the vole was sitting in a grass pile that was composting and moved from there, the pile has been removed now, and the main compost is at the other side of the property so I hope this fixed the problem.

16. What was your worst gardening mistake of the year?
Not having the fence up and running before spring, this meant the dogs used the garden to play and they killed a few bushes.
17. How was your watering system? Is it effective or is there anything you would change about it?

Summer was way too dry, we have a well and I spend and hour each morning and evening in the garden with the hoses, yet it didn’t seem to make much difference on some plants (others were ok). Due to working out of the house, I could not spend more time watering the garden. Improvements need to be made for next year, potentially by using a sprinkler system.

18. How was your germination rate? Do you need to buy any new seeds for next year?
Germination rate was pretty good, a few seeds need to be bought for next year but I still have more then enough for next year

19. What are your gardening goals for the 2014 growing season?
Create a better composting rhythm.
Freeze/preserve more vegetables. 
Convert more grass space into garden space

20. Vegetable and fruit harvest summary:
(a list of how much you harvested- or didn't harvest- from what you grew)
Potatoes: 2kg (I only grew one grow back)
Tomatoes: 60kg
Green Bell Peppers: 3kg
Carrots 6kg
Lettuce: 10 heads and many loose leaf (but not as much as in previous years
Cabbages: 5 (out of 10 plants)
Kale: 5kg
Fodder Crops: 40kg
Beans: 30kg
Peas: 5kg
Radishes- I successfully planted them every few weeks and had them for most of the spring and late summer/fall.
Cucumbers: 75+ cucumbers harvested and preserved
Rhubarb: 8kg
Onions: 10kg
Kohlrabi: 10 heads
Apples: 10kg from the tree here plus another 60kg given to us free.
Raspberries: none. It's my first year since planting and they dont seem to be looking too well.
Strawberries: 20kg
Pears: 20kg given to us for free
Gooseberries 15kg
Red currants 10kg
Blackberries 20kg

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