Final Evaluation

In general, I am happy with the garden this year. The container garden extended the early season by at least a month. Our needs were filled and I was able to give a lot of tomatoes and some other produce away.

As far as the weather, the spring was cold, but we had a nice summer and ate outside most evenings. There were not a lot of mosquitos and we were short on rain from July on. The garden would have likely been better if I had watered more through July and August. The Yellowjackets were bad in September, as usual, and from the end of August through September, a single hornet made the rounds on the back deck about once an hour. I spent hours looking for a nest but found none. She really didn’t bother us, but inspected under the eaves and seemed pre-occupied with the porch windows. Strange.

I think the soil in the old raised beds is depleted and needs enriching as does the edges of the heirloom bed. I’ll put the early girl and champion over the old compost bed next year. The new beds need a lot more organic matter. I ordered a Ryobi leaf mulcher today, so I can grind up my leaves and rototill them in before winter. There was no compost or peat moss available at Home Depot. I’ll have to see if I can find some online.

CONTAINER GARDEN – The container garden extended the tomato season over a month and the Jalapenos were bearing fruit from the start. The cucumbers in the pot were a little ahead of the others, but some were bitter. I have some bigger pots for next year because some of the smaller pots dried out too fast. I’ll mix all of the old soil together with the new so that all pots have the same mix. It would be good to get larger cherry tomato plants earlier. Availability was limited this year.

TOMATOES – Most of the heirlooms did well. The ones over the compost did better and I don’t know if that is because of variety or location. I’ll probably go with the same ones next year. I should probably fertilize when I plant. I didn’t do that this year. I will switch back to Goebbert’s Romas next year because there were way too many unripe tomatoes on the vines from Countryside this year. As far as Cherry and Grape tomatoes, Four or five pots is enough, but I need to get larger plants in earlier. I might have to be out earlier next year and making the rounds to see who has what. It is definitely not the same each year.

TOMATILLOS – The tomatillos got in late and would have done better if I had planted them earlier. I would rather have the purple ones. Three plants are enough.

PEPPERS – In general the peppers did well this year, but I think I planted them too closely in the new beds. Twelve Shishito plants are good. The cherry peppers bombed, they were tough and late to ripen, I won’t plant those again. The Jalapenos and Hungarian peppers did well, but I needed more green pepper plants. Possibly too many of the frying peppers. I may want to add some hot chili peppers next year.

EGGPLANT – Four plants are okay, but they need to go in the new beds and need lots of water.

CUCUMBERS – I still like the longer English style ones. They need taller trellises. I probably need to water them more especially if there is a drought. The lemon cucumbers did well from seed, but they need a tall trellis.

GREENS – Greens from seed are iffy, the weather needs to be just right. A cold-frame might help a lot. My best success was from setting out plants. The chinese cabbage from Goebbert’s did well with little care. I’ll probably plant some from seeds next year. Kale did wonderfully as did the swiss chard. I’ll probably start using them now.

ZUCCHINI – Zucchini was OK, but not super prolific. The Cocozelle from seed only produced a few fruits but they were good, although not all that different from the others. I should probably try some armenian ones next year. The Peter Pan squash was okay but not that different and not worth the effort, probably won’t plant it again.

FAILURES – The cucamelons did not germinate at all. Don’t know if they are worth the effort. The Fava beans germinated irregularly and were slow to mature. They are not worth the space. The cherry peppers were tough and slow to turn red. I didn’t get a single one worth using. The Fennel bolted, I need to see what the proper culture is because I would use it if I could grow it. The eggplant bombed, I probably didn’t get enough water on it early.

ADDITIONS – Early peas would be nice. I should also grow green beans. Mashed potato would be good as well as butternut squash if I have space.

HERBS – Herbs did well except that the flat-leaf Italian parsley bolted early. The curly parsley didn’t. I need to get basil in from seed at the end of June and at the end of July. I probably need more room for basil. I didn’t use a lot of the herbs because I wasn’t doing a lot of cooking with Covid. Just cooking for Natalie and I for the most part.