I intended to do a wrap up post for each crop family but doubt I’m going to get to that. So I’m just going to list some observations about what went well and what needs work next year so that I don’t forget. It ended up a little long so I’ll put the tomatoes & solanaceae family in another post.
Greens- I did better with succession plantings this spring and had the room to do it. We enjoyed lettuce early thanks to the cold frame. Swiss Chard produced and produced all summer long. Next year I’d like to do better with doing successions in the fall with hardy crops and more lettuce again. I may have to start the seedlings inside for the fall crops out of the hot and dry August heat. Many of the fall greens I seeded had trouble germinating. I hope the cold frame staying in place over the winter will mean early spring greens this year.
Root Crops- Carrots did better than in years past. I let them be for longer and so got a larger size from them. Beets were off to a slow start but the spring plantings were enjoyed this fall. We may let go of the red beets and just do the golden as we enjoy those more. Next year I need to start fall carrots earlier.
Onions- Onions were fair, though on the small side. Next year I need to mulch them when they are very small when it is easier. I also shouldn’t plant them as close to the edge of the bed. I’m looking forward my first garlic crop from the garlic I seeded this fall and I ordered onion seeds to start my own plants rather than using sets.
Cucumbers & Zucchini- The cucumber trellis worked well, and I planted a good amount of plants (20 something). I’m going to move the trellis towards the back of the garden next year so it doesn’t shade shorter plants. The zucchini were not quite as prolific as I thought. We liked the green and yellow but I want to try some new varieties like a patty pan. Next year I should plant them in the center of the bed, not toward the edges where they over ran the path. So much for trying to save space.
Winter Squash and Pumpkins- These did well, though each plant didn’t produce as many fruit as I thought. The Buttercup squash did the best as well as the pie pumpkins. Delicata was a low producer and seemed to grow slower than the others. Butternuts did fine. I’m going to move it with the zucchini where it won’t get overrun by faster winter squash. We loved the pie pumpkins and the Jarrahdale are beautiful and have great flesh. All the winter squash are keeping well. As we need one, I might find one that has a soft spot and use it up.
Sweet potatoes- These were a bust as they were shaded by cucumbers and tomatillos. Next year I need to start the slips earlier and find a sunnier spot.
Melons- Another bust. Seedlings waited too long to go in the ground, not enough water or heat. Try again next year.
Cole Crops- My seedlings of Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli died in the cold frame this spring so I went with nursery transplants. The brussels sprouts were great! We also enjoyed the broccoli and I wish I had started fall broccoli sooner. I have plants out in the garden, but it was too late. The cabbage bolted and we only got one head. The fall planting was too late. Kale did well and produced from the early spring right through summer and I’m sure we could pick more right now from under the snow too. Next year I’ll start the winter hardy varieties later so that they aren’t so tall when winter comes and can get better protection from the snow.
Beans- Romanos were good but I didn’t plant enough of them. Purple Dragon Tongue looked neat but weren’t that exciting taste wise. The black beans did well. I didn’t have a plant for supporting the pole beans and they got out of control. I didn’t pick them young enough so they were tough. I need a plan for support going into next year. We had fun with these pink shelling beans above. I’ll plant more of them next year.
Peas- Peas seemed to take forever. We didn’t get much from either the sugar snap variety or the shell pea. Next year I need to plant more of them, plant them earlier and do more succession plantings.