Gardening review: 2013

gardening

We’ve been readying the garden for winter. The blueberries in the front yard have already changed into their fall colours. I’ve trimmed the lavender back so that it won’t get too scraggly next year. I’ve pulled up all the basil and processed the leaves for pesto. I removed the rest of the tomato flowers to encourage the remaining tomatoes to ripen. I harvested the spring onions and froze them, chopped, on a cookie tray. I pulled up all the carrots (a couple of decent-sized ones and a handful of tiny ones). I’m waiting for the rest of the tomatoes to ripen and for us to finally feel like eating lettuce, and then we’re probably done for the season.

What worked well this year?

  • The spring onion cuttings grew really well. Instead of planting starters, I simply saved the last inch or so of the green onions that we bought for cooking. I grew them in a ramekin of water, and then moved them out into the garden once the roots were established. Free spring onions for the rest of the season!
  • The cherry tomatoes were great to snack on. Whenever I passed the garden cage to or from the shed, I raided the plants for a couple of ripe tomatoes if some happened to be within reach. (Or sometimes, even if they were harder to get to.) Sweet and juicy!
  • The carrots were an interesting experiment. Most of the carrots were really small because I planted them late (and in a box that we weren’t really tending because it ended up taking the overflow of the limestone screenings), but they leafed up nicely and some of them actually grew to a decent size. Next time, I’ll overrule W- and save the carrot tops for stock or other things instead of composting them. =)

Things that didn’t work so well:

  • It turns out that I’m not particularly keen on eating lettuce.
  • Many of the plants in the more shaded area didn’t get around to setting fruit.
  • I didn’t water the plants as regularly as I probably should have. Next time, I should stop wondering about the weather forecast and regularly schedule some time to give the plants a good soak.
  • The dwarf peas grew only halfway up the strings. Maybe a regular variety next time, and sugar snap peas for extra crunchiness…
  • We realized we weren’t using the lean-to greenhouse, so we gave it away.

Next year:

  • I want to grow tomatoes and basil again, although I might need to move these around to avoid pests or blight.
  • I’d like to have planter boxes up next year. We skipped them this year because W- was working on the deck, so I didn’t end up using the bag of potting soil that we bought. The basil grew really well in the planter boxes last year.
  • I’m going to keep giving bitter melon / kerala a try, maybe with more sun. Ever the optimist!
  • I’ll grow carrots along the borders. They look pretty.
  • I want to cook with more herbs.

We gave the strawberries a rest this year, although a couple of them decided to “volunteer” in the back garden. I saw a little sage plant growing too. I transplanted it to the opposite side of the garden so that we’ll have sage growing there too, although I don’t know how established it will get before winter.

The house gets very little light and we have cats who like munching on plants, so I don’t think I’ll be able to start plants from seed before the last frost. I could set up the spare room with lights, but it’s carpeted, so that can be messy. Although it’s more expensive to buy starter plants and the selection is smaller, the tomatoes and basil that we bought did really well, and I don’t mind doing that again next year.

I’m getting better at recognizing weeds versus regular plants. Yay!