Thursday, October 8, 2009

Closing the Loop - Project Feedback

Last year about this time, I made up my mind we were going to have a garden this summer. And we did. Now that its about time to start clearing everything out, I'm taking some advice from husband and reflecting on how things went. It seems unnecessary at first, to give yourself feedback, but without it I will most definitely charge in again blind, hoping for the best. This way, I will stop and think about what worked and what didn't and how I should improve in the future. So, here we go.

The premise of last year was really an anything goes attitude. I was going to dive right in, trying whatever I wanted, ready to accept the mistakes and beginner ignorance. So, because I felt like it, I planted things pretty much wherever I felt like it, mix and match, with only a little attention to the needs of the plant once growing. This worked out about half the time.

Things that went well:
-We had lots of lettuce and spinach that tasted great! Next year I'm going to start a little bit earlier (inside if I have to) so that I can replant hopefully after the first round finishes.
-Without even trying we had close to 50 tomato plants of all kinds (cherry, grape, roma, etc) that are still producing delicious fruit. I guess I threw out some old tomatoes onto the soil before we had a compost pile that settled in and sprang forth plentifully! They seriously took over EVERYTHING! But, tomatoes are something we eat continually so no complaints here! :)
-Our blackberry bush produced more fruit than ever (still not much) so I'm hopeful for next year!
-We have some great anaheim peppers still producing. They started late though b/c of tomato takeover. Next year I'll definitely give them more space.
-Our okra turned into trees! We have some good looking plants. I just planted them late and not very many. Start early and plant plenty.
-The corn was the same as okra. Needed to plant earlier, more of it and with more space.

Things that didn't go well, at all:
-In sheer stupidity, I planted watermelon plants EVERYWHERE it felt like. They grew and grew and started producing melons like crazy. It was beautiful but overwhelming to all the plants around them. So, definitely designate a spot just for vine plants. Then the squash bugs hit. And KILLED ALL OF THEM! So frustrating but now we know that we have to spray from the get go and never let up. Lesson learned.
-Carrots grew and grew and we had plenty of them. But they never tasted any good. Always bitter. Worked out for the horses down the street since they ate most of them! :) Any idea how to get carrots to taste good? I'll have to study up on that one.
-Cucumber, Pumpkin and Cantaloupe did the same as the watermelon only I had less of them and they didn't live as long or produce as much. Biggest problem was not enough space and the squash bugs.

For a first timer and a detail hater at that, I'm satisfied with the experience overall. I'm hoping to get Randy to build me another bed for vine plants in the next couple of months. And very soon I'm going to start planning for next summer's produce and maybe some landscaping back there too. Sometimes I get overwhelmed and don't want to think about any of it, but I've figured out what really helps me. I don't ever have to think about all of it. I give myself permission to just think about a little bit - baby steps is how anything is done!

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