Last month, in preparation for our yearly seed order, we went over everything that went right and wrong in last year’s garden. 2014 saw our most ambitious gardening efforts so far, and from them we learned quite a lot. With this post we thought we’d revisit some of the things that didn’t work, and some that did. (And hopefully keep in mind to not make the same mistakes twice!)
1. Our best crops were the the easiest to grow.
Our best and biggest harvests came from easy-to-grow crops — tomatoes, peppers, peas, beans, cucumbers, and greens. That’s not incredibly surprising since all those crops are pretty easy to manage and grow well enough in our area. All these, with some additional varieties, especially beans, remain in our repertoire this year.
2. We LOVE ground cherries!
Our best and biggest surprise from last year was the ground cherries. While they took awhile to start, the results and multiple harvests were simply amazing. We hope to grow several more ground cherries plants this year.
3. Maybe we went a little overboard with the marigolds.
After reading up on companion planting, we wanted to make sure that there were plenty of flowers around the garden to attract bees and such. As marigolds are one of our favorite flowers, we went with a couple different varieties. They were pretty…at first. Eventually, though, the plants got so big they literally took over the beds they were in. We plan to go with marigolds again this year, just with fewer plantings and smaller varieties of them.
4. We had the least success with items that are hard to grow.
Or so says Captain Obvious! But seriously, things that didn’t work out last year were romanesco, melons, zucchini, and corn…oh, the poor corn! As such, we won’t be planting any of these crops this year. Maybe they’ll return in later years, but they’re on the back burner for now. It’s sad, though, because there would be nothing better on a hot summer day than digging into fresh watermelons from the garden! But c’est la vie…for now.
5. Herbs, herbs, and more herbs!
After the success we had last year planting large swaths of dill in one of the raised beds, this year’s interplanting with include herbs as well as flowers. Not sure yet exactly what herbs — basil and dill seem to like us a lot, and we got a late, surprise harvest of parsley last year — but we’ll be sure to keep our choices interesting and tasty. A free packet of cilantro came with one of our orders, so we’ll likely try that, among other things.
Well, that pretty much sums things up. With all these lessons learned in mind, we’re looking forward to getting things started this year. We’re working on setting up our seed starting, er…situation, but it’ll still be a couple weeks before we have anything to show off. In the meantime, next week we’ll review some of the new crops/varieties were giving a go this year. Nothing like the excitement of trying something new in the garden! (Even if the results aren’t great. :))