For a gardening blog, this season has really gotten away from me. As an end of the season re-cap this is going to be a little different. Here is the end of the season garden photo…
Ta Da!!!! Just a few remaining plants. Even though they probably won’t have time to produce anything else, I left a few things because I couldn’t bear to pull them up when they were still so alive and healthy. I am a wimp.
Well, here is a general re-cap…
First – the experiments.
I had one tomato plant grow in the milk jugs that were winter sown. And a few onions. ONE tomato plant. The tomato plant grew okay, but not great. And it didn’t produce very well at all. I think I harvested two small tomatoes from said plant. The onions didn’t grow worth anything but the tiny little things made a lovely addition to a beef stew recently. Nothing else survived. This has been my second try at this method. I REALLY wanted it to work. Because really, how awesome would this be if it worked well? But for me, in my area, this method is really a bust. Note to self, this spring, when I see this all over Pinterest as a miracle gardening method (and I will), and I really want to try it again to see if I have better luck (and I will) – DON’T DO IT!!!
I purchased several specialty tomatoes at a local farm – organic and non-gmo. Most were different varieties that I had not used before. Several tomato plants that I grew from seed under the grow lights did okay, but honestly, none of my tomatoes did very well this year. I have harvested quite a few cherry tomatoes, but only because I put in so many plants, not because they produced well. I really think that I like the good old standby common tomatoes better than all the strange varieties you can find. With the exception of the Sun Gold Cherry. Mmmmmm. Every year I will try and plant that little sweetie.
My experiments with the Back to Eden gardening method: meh. I was not here to add the fertilizer when I should have, so I think that that was my main problem. Things did alright overall. I think that the covering over the soil really did help retain moisture and it did seem to keep most of the weeds at bay. Most of the things growing there were a bit spindly, but I really think that that was due to the fact that the plants needed more fertilizer. This method will be continued next year, hopefully with better results. I will plan on fertilizing and keeping a better eye on things when they are first developing to get stronger plants. The video doesn’t seem to emphasize the fertilization part enough. If you watch the video carefully, you will notice that Paul has chickens and utilizes their droppings as a source of fertilizer, though this part was not covered in depth. It almost makes it seem like if you put a bark covering over the garden beds, your plants will become monsters without any further effort from you. I did not find that to be the case, but I think there were some definite positives to this method and will be continuing with it, both at home and at the church garden.
The Back to Eden method is really moving toward a form of permaculture which I intend to research more over the winter. I really like the idea behind making your garden more of an environment that takes little work and disturbs the soil very little.
The only things that grew really well this year were the beets. Lots of beets. Beets, beets, beets. Chickens like beet greens. Good thing.
I planted the beets 2 different ways. One with a traditional row method and one using the spacing suggested in the square foot gardening method. By far the square foot method yielded better beets – bigger beets. I also covered them with a row cover all year long which kept off the dreaded spinach leafminers. That worked very well. This was the first time I have had a decent crop of beets in years.
Overall, it has been a sort of disappointing gardening season (unless you love beets). A large part of that was that we were out of town for much of the summer and so things did not get the attention as they needed it. You may wonder, “Why were you gone all summer?” Welllllll, we were finally able to buy land in Montana!
For the last few years we have been spending as much vacation time as possible in Montana, even bringing our chickens with us (see post on traveling with chickens here, because that is sure interesting). It has been a ton of fun and we are very excited to finally achieve the first step in our dream of moving there. I will have to post pictures of the property soon. We bought 3.5 acres of forested area and I am so excited to build a beautiful home and have a lovely big garden.
I am done with gardening for now. Glad for autumn and the break it brings. But I know that in a couple of months, I will start wanting to plant again and begin browsing catalogs and online gardening ideas. It always happens like that.
"We're all mad here." - Alice in Wonderland. Yep. Pretty much sums it up. Mad about gardens, homeschooling, family, art, latest obsessions...whatever. Enjoy the journey with me.
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