As this garden season is winding down, I wanted to take some time to jot down a few things I learned this year and a few things I will do differently. Hopefully I will have the foresight to look back at this when it comes to planning for future gardens. But when the seed catalogs start arriving in January I tend to forget everything and buy all the seeds. I want nothing more than to grow all the things in the dead of winter.
1. Cucumbers. For the love of humanity, I will not let myself plant a whole bed of double yield cucumbers again. This is the second year in a row and I did not learn my lesson. While it's fun to put up lots of pickles I haven't perfected this yet and there is no need for 20 cucumbers a week for months on end. Actually, I'm thinking of trying a different variety next year, so depending on which variety I might still do a whole bed.
2. Basil. The last three years I've over planted basil. I love the smell of it, but I'm not in love with it. I don't use enough of it to justify multiple plants. I've made pesto, but I'm just not a huge fan of it to make and freeze and then use all that much. So next year I should only do one or two plants.
3. Dirt. I really learned the importance of healthy dirt this year. We purchased three yards of garden soil in the spring and it was just not the best quality. I went for price over quality. I don't totally regret this decision as we really needed the quantity, but its been challenging to work with. I intend to work compost into the soil during the off months and prior to planting I'll have my soil tested to see what it needs. From my garden class last spring I want to try to make my own seeding mixture. That is if I do much from seed next winter.
4. Fertilizing. This is something I have not done in years past but tried to do more of this summer. I occasionally used diluted fish oil on my plants. I wasn't religious about using it, especially during the heat of the summer. I can't say if it was a success or not, but it is something I want to continue to play with.
5. Don't be afraid to schedule. As with my other household chores I found I won't do garden chores unless I have them scheduled out on my calendar. I don't get crazy up tight about this. But it helps when I'm planning to stagger planting seeds to just go ahead and schedule the weeks out on my calendar so I remember. Otherwise I'll totally forget and half a bed goes unplanted. Next year I might try scheduling out reminders to fertilize as well.
I love learning new things and gardening gives me hands on learning experience this kinetic learner needs. What have you learned gardening lately?