Rosey the Riveter

Friday, May 11, 2012

Lessons Learned

Now that the garden is going full-speed ahead, I've decided to do a 'Lessons Learned' post about winter-sowing, planning, planting, and all the other various tid-bits that I don't want to forget when it comes time for future gardens.

As you know, I winter-sowed a ton of plants.  Some results were better than others:

The Echinacea is finally taking off.  Took long enough!!!
The Dill is holding its own... I wasn't sure it was going to make it through the transplanting, but it did.  But it's still much smaller than the one I bought from the Master Gardener Sale.
The Sunflowers are doing fantastic!  In a few days, the first one will be out.  However, these are "Mammoth" so they are supposed to be 10' tall!

The broccoli is doing really well.  We'll be eating it pretty soon!  Definitely plan to winter sow more of them next year!

The cabbage is also flourishing (as are the cabbage moths!).  I have been dusting with Diamotaceous Earth but just can't get over the number of moths I see laying eggs on my poor plants!  I also like that the peas I planted near the broccoli are much easier to pick, because the broccoli serve as supports.  Definitely need to keep that in mind for the future.

I also need to remember to plant more beneficials, like zinnias and marigold, nasturtiums and Calendula.  The garden is looking VERY green but it would be nice to have some beautiful colors in there.  Not to mention that Calendula is so useful for its medicinal properties.
The melons I planted by seed are maybe 2" tall.  And then there are these guys that popped up in the compost pile.  I am really hoping they will produce fruit, but am not holding my breath, since they came from a store-bought cantaloupe.  I suspect that after this year, we may not be growing any more melons, as they just take up way too much space.  I'd rather have fresh cukes.

I am realizing that I did not plant nearly enough carrots.  I will probably triple the amount in the fall.  I planted 2 squares every 2 weeks.  Next spring I need to do at least 4 squares every 2 weeks.  Most of the ones I planted were Chantenay Red Core and Danvers Half Long.  The white ones I planted didn't do too well. 
See the peas on the bottom right?  Flopped over.  They need broccoli to support them.  

I was pleasantly surprised with the variety of tomato and pepper plants at the Master Gardener Sale.  Lots of Heirlooms.  Plus, they were only $2 each.  So I won't even bother trying to grow them myself anymore.

I think I planted a good amount of lettuce, as it'll last us for a couple of weeks until it starts getting too hot and then it'll bolt.  Next year, I plant it even earlier.

And this is the monster lavender that is taking up so much room.  The bees love it (well, after it flowers, anyway) which is the only reason it's staying.  For now, anyway.  I need to trim it way back in the fall if I can figure out how.
This is the monster sage AFTER I hacked off a ton of stems.  I had been snipping leaves off to dehydrate them, but it quickly took over and was crowding out the thyme.  So I decided that I needed to harvest branches instead of leaves.  I cut it WAY back this spring but it just wants to grow!  I don't even use sage much.  I just keep it so that I can have the dehydrated leaves as a Christmas gift for my sister-in-law, who uses a ton of it and is not lucky enough to be able to harvest it fresh year-round.

I decided to try some potatoes this year, just because they were sprouting in my pantry.  I started them in about 2" of soil and just kept adding to it as the plants grow.  They are beautiful, so I'm just waiting for the beetles to find them.  I hope we get some spuds, they taste so much better than the grocery store kind!
This is my lemon verbena that I got from the Master Gardener sale (along with horehound, which I'm excited about!)  They had a lot of herbs, too, which means I will not be winter-sowing any of them again.  The lemon balm I did this past winter is still little and not nearly as nice as the stuff they were selling.

I guess a general rule of thumb is that if I only need one plant, just buy it.  If I'm going to plant a bunch of them, winter-sow them. 

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