Saturday, December 15, 2012

End of the Year Wrap Up 2012

Last year's garden wrap up was on my other website.  In February, I decided to separate the two blogs so that this one only contains gardening information.

1. Liz from Suburban Tomato taught me how to do a space value rating for the plants I grow in my garden. Eventually, I will post what I learned from doing my own space value rating. For now, I will just say that learning to evaluate my plantings this way was very beneficial, since I have such a small garden to work with.

2. Last year, I mixed heirlooms and hybrids all together in my garden. This year, I decided to only use heirlooms. I was very happy with my heirloom plants. 

3. I learned last year that I need to plant pole beans if I expect to have enough for my family. This year I evaluated several types of pole beans (and here). I was looking for productivity. I found the one I will use for productivity: Ruth Bible beans. I also found one that had a wonderful history in my husband's family: Mississippi Cream peas. I found one that was stunningly beautiful to grow, and therefore good for my front yard garden: Louisiana Purple Podded Pole beans.  

Louisiana Purple Podded Pole Bean available from Seed Savers

4. This year, I started gardening in my front yard. I have enjoyed the experience and the challenge of growing edible things that are also beautiful. It took me all year, but I have found the bean that I feel comfortable growing in the front yard. It is the above pictured Louisiana Purple Podded Pole bean. 

5. I planted only 4 tomato plants this year. I got almost enough for daily eating, but decided that if I can grow 8 of them, I will do better. I have picked out the tomatoes I plan to grow next year, but it depends on whether or not I have the time and ability to plant from seed whether I will grow one kind or whether I will just buy transplants from Seed Savers Exchange. 

6. I didn't enjoy squash or zucchini in my garden this year at all. I don't plan to plant either next year. (Except for one or two Tromboncino Zucchini, which I was intrigued by in another blogger's site.) 

7. Since my garden is so small, it would be better use of my time and energy to plant enough of a few things that we can substantially reduce our purchases of just those things rather than trying to plant one plant of many different types of things. 

8. I saved seed from several different beans this year and plan to grow them next year. I am going to work on separating them enough to keep the seed pure.

9. I want a sunflower room for my kids next year. I looked into green bean tee pees, but felt that with the number of children that play at our home it would be better to make a 6 by 6 foot "room" out of sunflowers. Once the sunflowers get established well, I will interplant beans so that the kids will be perfectly hidden in this little "room." (Yet there will be space for all their friends, too.) 

10. It is very important to me to share my gardening experience with my children. Anything I can do to include them, or interest them in the garden is worth trying. (see above) (See also this post.)

11. Even though I am working on vegetable gardening, I realized this year how very much I missed my traditional flower garden, so I began a butterfly garden. My kids and I have all learned a great deal, and it satisfies my desire for flowers in the front yard. It works pretty well with the edibles mixed in. 


  1. I think it is great that you are zeroing in on what is best for you to grow in your space. That is hard to limit myself to do! I also love the way you include the children. I think your sunflower house will be a big hit with them!! Nancy

    1. Mrs. Nancy, I think you might have a little more space to work with than I do. I have to be selective, because my space is so small.

      I am looking forward to the sunflower room. They are excited about the concept. I'll post pictures when it grows.

  2. I love the idea of a sunflower room - that sounds like alot of fun to grow, and indeed play in.

    1. Thanks, Liz. I wanted to do a green bean teepee for them, because I knew someone who had that for their kids. But I have 3 kids and all of them have friends over, so I need more space than that. I have read about it in a book, but haven't ever seen it.

      I think it will be a lot of fun to grow, too. I am looking forward to it. The kids sound pretty excited about the idea. I hope they enjoy it. I think they will.

  3. The sunflower room sounds like it will be wonderful. You will have to share photos next year.

    1. Thanks. I will share photos as soon as I have them. :)

  4. The kids are going to LOVE the sunflower room. I can't wait to see it. Heirloom tomatoes taste great, but most of them produce quite a bit less than hybrids. I plant one hybrid variety for canning. I found that the Heinz tomato produced enough for canning and made a delicious sauce.

    1. I think they'll like it. I hope so.

      I am glad you let me know about the heirloom tomatoes lower productivity. I didn't know that. Thanks for the tip about the Heinz tomato. I think I even have seed for that one.