As the gardening season comes to an end, I’m left with relentless squash plants, amounts of canned pickles that we’ll never get through, and big plans for what NOT to do next year.
I’m not saying that my garden was a failure or anything, but this year I had an approach like “plant as much as possible and see what happens”. I dug it all by hand. I planted things way too closely. And I planted too much of things. Live and learn! And that’s what I’m doing….every year will get better and now I know next year not to make these mistakes:
1. Planting too closely. I planted nearly my 25 tomato plants all in about a 3X5 area of the garden. Looked good initially, but once they grew to full size they just suffocated each other and the neighboring pepper plants.
2. Less peppers. I will do the hot peppers again because those are fairly abundant, however I got a whopping total of 3 (or 4?) bell peppers from the many I planted and had growing since March. They’re just not good for our climate.
3. LESS SQUASH. Probably two-three plants would suffice. I had about 8-10. It wasn’t enough to start a roadside stand, yet it was way too much for us.
4. Need to plant winter veggies like butternut squash, spaghetti squash, more potatoes, carrots and possibly beets. This year I was all about tomatoes and peppers and never really thought that maybe I should do some crops that would store easier.
5. Plant lettuce in the spring. Lettuce is something I buy organic so it can get really pricey. Why not plant my own? The reason I didn’t this year was because I thought it would be too hard to do organically with all the bugs. But my kale plants this year were one of the biggest producers and Austin doesn’t even eat kale.
6. Rent or get a roto-tiller. I need a bigger garden. I can’t dig it all by myself again!
I really enjoyed being able to grow my own food and preserve it by canning or freezing. If I go into next year with a better plan and actually figure out how much of each thing I will need and have sufficient space, I can really maximize the food savings once the growing season ends.
What gardening mistakes have you made?