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Old 11-03-2019, 05:37 AM   #1
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Now that the season is over, what did you learn?

Each year as the garden progresses I usually keep both written and mental notes of what worked and what didn't, What I should do differently next year and what I should keep the same ( as far as varieties that did well or not so well, location of plants in garden, when I started things ...)

So this year, from, a success point of view:
I changed the location of my large cukes for the better. I had fewer plants but they were more spaced out. I think it allowed better exposure to light, better airflow/ less disease. Also, whatever I did this year reduced the amount of those squash beetles on my cukes and vine veggies.

I was pretty happy with my succession planting of string beans. I spaced it in a way that as one planting was slowing down, the second ( and third) planting were kicking in, so I had a constant flow of beans through out the season.

Okra did well too. I stuck to a dwarf variety ( Baby Bubba). They only get about 2 feet high. I also kept them in large pots on the patio. They actually have an exotic look to them and really nice ( but short lived ) flowers, so I got the best of both worlds. A decorative plant that produces something I can eat. I did grow a few rows just outside the raised beds, but only being 2 feet high, they didn't shade anything as the taller plants have done in the past.

Butternut squash was great this year. I got a bunch of 5+ pound squashes. They were huge. Only problem is, Mother Nature planted them not me . I haven't grown them in awhile, so when I saw this vine that had leaves with unique color and striations growing in my herb garden, I figured id let it grow and see what it was. turns out I got about 8 huge butternut squashes. So, next year, Ill purposely plant them and maybe other squashes in that area since they did so well ( and keep my herbs in pots by the grill. I did that with basil and rosemary and not only did they do well, but looked nice to with the herbs right on the grill counter, and very convenient when cooking too).

Potatoes , kirbies, peanuts, garlic, peppers all did good as usual. Im sure ill tweak things to get them to do even better.

As far as disappointing goes:

Tomatoes did 1/2 as well as previous years. Not sure if it was the weather or not. I think I crowded them too much. I also think I need to change row direction to improve the sun light. Change out a few varieties. Maybe less plants , but more productive varieties and space them out a bit more.

Zucchini , crap year . They are so hit or miss for me, Im not sure what I do right on the good years. I get a decent flush right off the bat then the plants go to crap. I dont get a consistent production.

Chard, which is usually a slam dunk crop for me did fair at best. I think Ill change locations on that too.

Beets and carrots are always poor. the soil is nice and light, so no hinderance on root formation. A lot of organic matter, good drainage . I just stink at growing them.

Onions, not sure what I grow them. I get a bunch of golf ball sized onions ( which are a real treat to peel when you are cooking something that requires a lot of onions. I buy my sets from a specific onion farm for the past few years ( first year was great, crap ever since), I get the special high nitrogen fertilizer for them and use it as directed. I weed like crazy. Ive tried snipping the greens to promote root growth ( that was a wast of time). Many timesill get some decent winds and the plants will tip over. Then as Im driving around town I peek at other peoples gardens and see their onions doing so beautifully, leaves pointing straight to the sky, firm no wind damage, and they probably spend 1/10 the physical and mental effort that I spend, maybe even first timers.

Water melon , if I only had 2 more weeks in the season , it was my best watermelon year ever . I had 5 of them, about the size of bowling balls, but the vine died, cut it open and only a light pinkish color. Smelled good, tasted ok, but not ripe/ sweet enough.

Eggplants, although did better than usual, they are so unpredictable for me. The Japanese variety did exceptional, the others were duds. Probably a location thing too .

So, as a summary, Tomatoes Ill change up the varieties, less but more spaced out plants. Rows will change direction for better sun exposure. Chard, Eggplants and peppers getting moved to an area with better sun. Potatoes, okra, string beans, cucumbers, kirbies, peanuts as is. Carrots , beets, , zucchini and onions Ill be doing a lot of off season reading to figure out what I can do differently to boost production.

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Old 11-04-2019, 12:10 AM   #2
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Oh, where do I start? And what will I forget???

The number one thing that I have to do for next season, is figure out how to control those rabbits! I never had this much of a problem with them before.

I only tried four new peppers this year - Longhorns and Ancho Mosquetero are the only two keepers, but Chi Foo Thai, and Sangria (a purple ornamental type) didn't grow well. The rest of them all did so well, giving me far more than I needed of most varieties, I'll have to reduce the numbers even further. I only planted 27 plants this season, while I used to plant over 50 of them! I figure less of these, and more okra, in those sub-irrigated planters (SIPs).

On the okra, that new (to me) variety - Little Lucy - did great, and I will grow that, along with Emerald, from now on. I got the seeds from a lady on a gardening forum, where a bunch of others tried it, and liked it. I isolated two blossoms, and saved the overgrown blossoms, to save seeds from. So far, these are the only two varieties that grow over 4", without getting fibrous; some get fibrous even smaller, but these get to at least 6", without getting fibrous. And not spiny, either.

Many of the tomatoes were new - always trying to find varieties resistant to heat and disease. Major problems with both this year - up to 7-15, we were about 13" above average in rainfall, resulting in terrible fungal diseases, but shortly after this, the heat hit - heat in the high 90s causes blossom drop. Sunsugars and Pretty in Pink continue flowering a little in the intense heat. A few came back quickly, when the heat wasn't as bad, and had a lot of new growth, which produces quickly for cherries. The only new cherry that's a keeper was the Cherry Bomb - despite looking almost dead from disease, as soon as the temps came down, and the rain went from excessive, to drought like for the next 3 months, it produced a large number of tomatoes, up to the end. Fairly large cherry tomatoes, about 1-1". No new large keeper varieties this year. I tried the succession planting of a determinate plant, but it produced a lot less than if I had succession planted some indeterminate varieties! I saved some seeds from Amish Gold Slicer - a favorite, which I only got one plant for this year, so I needed new seeds.

Didn't have a great year with eggplants. Heat always stops Ichiban, but I still grow it, as it is always the earliest, and one of the best tasting. The Hari didn't germinate, so I had to buy 2 plants at a local nursery - something labeled "Indian Eggplant", which grew well, in the beginning, but succumbed to the heat, and never really came back. That Hari eggplant is also an Indian eggplant, a long, skinny green variety, which is the most heat resistant variety I have ever grown. Neon, a favorite for many years, is fairly heat resistant, and incredibly productive, but is a hybrid that is off the market now. So I bagged a blossom, and saved the seeds from that fruit - I'll see how they turn out, and maybe in a few generations I can stabilize it, if it produces well.

Tomatillos didn't do well, since I tried those purples, which didn't flower until way after the greens, which messed things up for the single green plant, since they are somewhat "self-incompatible - a term used where plants don't do as well when they self-pollinate. So from now on, just two of the same variety.

Those bottle gourds didn't do as well as last season, because I planted just one plant, planning on planting another 5 weeks later, so I wouldn't get them all at once (last year, I got flooded with them, then very little. Problem was, all of the early blossoms were female, not male, like most winter squash, and they almost all fell off before a single male blossom appeared! Last year, this probably happened, but the other variety had the males, and it worked great - just too many! I'll try some other varieties next year. The wax gourds did not produce well at all, and the green bitter gourd also didn't produce well, but the white one did great, so I saved the seeds.

Main problem with beans was the rabbits chewing them off at the base. I found the Thai Red Long Bean, that was the fastest producing long bean, or for that matter, any pole bean, that I have grown, producing in 45 days. I saved a lot of seeds to plant from those, and will plant again, from now on.

Greens did well, until I uncovered, and rabbits got to them. Those ones in the new raised bed are doing great, and eventually I'll cover with plastic, and see how long they will keep. As for herbs, I tried a new basil - Everleaf - that was supposed to keep from bolting longer than any, but it was the first to bolt! Must have been the heat, though the others weren't affected. The Serrata is still the best, outside and in.
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Old 11-04-2019, 01:16 AM   #3
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I learned the squirrels still like to chomp one bite from my tomatoes and dislodge more from the plants, before moving to the next. Yes, I thought they were properly ensconced in chicken wire. Squirrels just hang on and reach through. << 1--the plants that is, maybe I should try caging the squirrels.

Jalapenos and green beans were terrific. Otherwise, I don't grow very many veggies.

Raspberries were very prolific early summer and produced a 2nd heavy crop this fall too. I don't do anything with them, rake leaves between the rows in the fall and that's it.
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Old 11-04-2019, 02:12 PM   #4
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Our season is just beginning. Can't wait for the winter strawberries.
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Old 12-14-2019, 06:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larry_stewart View Post

Onions, not sure what I grow them. I get a bunch of golf ball sized onions ( which are a real treat to peel when you are cooking something that requires a lot of onions. I buy my sets from a specific onion farm for the past few years ( first year was great, crap ever since), I get the special high nitrogen fertilizer for them and use it as directed. I weed like crazy. Ive tried snipping the greens to promote root growth ( that was a wast of time). Many timesill get some decent winds and the plants will tip over. Then as Im driving around town I peek at other peoples gardens and see their onions doing so beautifully, leaves pointing straight to the sky, firm no wind damage, and they probably spend 1/10 the physical and mental effort that I spend, maybe even first timers.
What is the name of the onion farm? Dixondale?

I learned that garlic does not like a lot of composted horse manure. One bed that had this had smaller plants with yellow tinged leaves. Also learned when harvesting garlic, in the hot weather, the condition of the bulb can change a lot in one week. I checked a few bulbs before I went on vacation thinking that they needed more time. A week later, they had separated. Should have harvested them then. Also learned that cutting scapes is important if you want your bulbs to be bigger.

Im excited for next year. Got myself a second community garden plot. Will be very busy!
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Old 12-14-2019, 01:22 PM   #6
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I already have 2 of my seed orders - the one from Southern Exposure I got in 2 days from ordering! These were mostly things I was out of, but there were several new ones from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (I've had good luck with some of their varieties, as many are fairly heat resistant, for growing down south), plus a couple new tomatoes I got in a trade. A couple more things I need, and I'm set for next season.

Got about a dozen seed catalogs so far - most I haven't ordered from in many years, some, like the flower catalogs, never. But I still get them.
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