Friday, December 30, 2011

Is it that time already?

I guess it's time to reflect upon this year and plan for the next. All and all, it was a fantastic year for growing veggies. Again we had just enough heat this summer, allowing the warm weather crops (tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers) to thrive like they did in 2010. Another blessing was the rain - I can count on one hand the number of times I had to water the garden. While August and September were unusually wet, the precipitation this year was moderate and consistent. Some other things worth noting this year:
  • Our lettuce grew bitter way too early, our spring sown spinach and Asian greens did really well. The Napa cabbage was a bust again this year. I don't think I'll be trying again as there are other Asian greens that are much easier to grow. (Note to Self - Kale is your friend, keep eating it. Don't grow Swiss chard again. You will never eat it.)
  • Our broccoli did great again and surprisingly, so did our fall cauliflower. (Yes!)
  • My beautiful persimmon tree bit the dust this fall. The weight of the snow from our freak October storm snapped the trunk in two. Oh well. It wouldn't have been able to survive our future Vermont winters anyway.
  • I didn't get a single fig from my trees purchased in 2010. (Note to self - fig trees LOVE lime! Feed them plenty this spring.)
  • Our Imperial Star Artichokes were amazing this year - producing very early and consistently. We'll see if artichokes will grow well as annuals in Zone 4.
  • While the field mice, cucumber beetles and slugs continued to be a problem this year, their take was far from devastating. And for the first time, the ground hogs and raccoons have become major players in this game. So long suckers! I hope I don't meet your relatives in Vermont!
  • I was finally able to grow a decent crop of string beans this year. I think my earlier problems were due to timing and spacing. (Note to self - sow beans only when the soil is dry and warm and a single row of beans densely seeded and spaced 18 inches from other veggies will yield much better then sowing beans 4 inches apart in all directions.) Also, the soybeans did VERY well this year but I'm not a huge fan of 'Envy'. I think I'll try traditional white butter beans next year.
  • The sweet corn was great this year. Ruby Queen is definitely worth growing again. (Note to self - hill up the soil around the stalks when they are 18 inches tall.)
  • The melons did just 'ok' again this year. The search for that one perfect homegrown melon continues. (Note to self - grow Hami and Early Silverline melons next year. They are delicious!)
On a side note - I also tend to reflect upon the big picture that is my life this time of year. The other day, I was thinking about how my twenties seemed to fly by. I'll be reaching the mid-point of my thirties next year and things are beginning to slow down a bit. For that, I'm incredibly thankful.


  1. You had a great year! I hope next year is even better.

  2. A great list, I always love reading the year end summaries from gardeners in different parts of the country. I'm more than a little excited for you upcoming posts about the impending move and your spring planting, have fun with the new zone, I'm sure you will find benefits to it as well, and the apples available to you in zone 4 will be incredible!

  3. (Note to Self - Kale is your friend, keep eating it. Don't grow Swiss chard again. You will never eat it.)

    Oh I so agree! I love kale!

    Your list was great!

  4. Great list - and I love kale too.. so many ways to sneak it into a good meal.

    I'll keep my fingers crossed for your Imperial Star artichokes.. they do spectacular here for us in zone 5. Starting them early and setting out under protection seems to do the trick.

    FYI, Year Round Vegetable Gardener is now out in the US. I hope you like your profile that was included. Thanks again for sharing some of your photos..

    All the best for 2012!

  5. Darn it, you write older than me, but I'm the older one! You stinker. Swiss chard- not so great, Kale is the bomb. Good luck in your new climate. I hope to read many more posts.

  6. I would like to try more veggies, but hubby is not adventurous.
    Thanks for all the growing tips!

    Happy New Year and good luck with your new growing challenges!

  7. Happy New Year Thomas and family!

    I did not know about the lime for figs, but I learned they need LOTS of water. I needed to 'over-water' my potted fig twice a day in order to get it to pump out the fruit in time for it ripen.

  8. Good summation Thomas. You actually had a good growing year overall. Sadly it was one of my lowest production years ever. No heat (literally at all) for the summer did us in. Hopefully 2012 summer will be just a tad warmer.

  9. It will be fun watching you put together a new garden this year. New gardens are always so exciting. Have a great new year!

  10. You write very well!
    I'm in my fifties and find your blog great and learn lots! Yes, I'll be keen to read about your new home, just remember there will be things you love and not. Just think about the good and problem solve the rest:)
    I have potted figs in a hot Mediterranean environment and only water once a day in the warm months. I have 3 different types and find they all have an off time.
    But I read how some dolomite lime is good for citrus, helps stop fruit drop as they need the calcium, so give all my fruit a bit, just a handful to the pots each year and I've had some enormous crops with trees no taller than me. Good luck with move!

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