Monday, December 16, 2013

Lessons Learned in the Garden 2013

I don't post many posts any more.

Something happened this summer that just turned me off from posting.

Anyway, for some reason I had a very difficult time this spring getting my seeds to germinate. I started and re-started many of my seeds, lost a huge number of seeds, and seedlings.  I now think I had something wrong with the seed starting soil I was using. I don't know how to pick better seed starting soil. Any suggestions?

I was able to add horse manure and lots of crushed eggshells to the 20 Foot Garden bed. It really seemed to strengthen my tomato plants. This was a great year for tomato harvest for my family. I didn't have enough for canning, but we had plenty for every day eating. I also had so many cherry tomatoes that I had to try pickled green cherry tomatoes. It turns out that the whole family loves them, so it was a good thing.

I grew Swiss Chard this year for the first time and have been very happy with it. I had 2 spots for it. One was in mostly shade (maybe 3 hours sunlight a day), and it did very well there during the summer. The other is in full sun, and it suffered all summer, but looks great now.

I tried three types of okra this year, since my family likes it. I tried Stelley, Stewart's Zeebest and Eagle Pass. My middle daughter loved the Eagle Pass. The Stelley really didn't survive all the rain we had this summer. And Stewart's Zeebest was the star. It just produced and produced. We loved it and the pods could be picked larger.  Unfortunately, Baker Creek Seeds is not selling it this year.
l to r: Eagle Pass, Stewart's Zeebest and Stelley
I had a terrible year with my eggplants. I find this really disappointing, since I really love eggplants. I probably only harvested 3 Japanese eggplants all year.

The cucumbers produced enough to eat out of hand, but not enough for pickling. Luckily, I was able to find a good farmer's market this year, and bought a bushel of cucumbers. I pickled 20 quarts from the farmer's market bushel.

I harvested 8 fresh organic peaches off our young peach tree.

I harvested substantially less from my beans this year than last. Was it because of the rain? Something else? I don't know.

I didn't plant a winter garden this year.

I plan to expand the garden next year. Here's hoping for larger harvests for all of us!


  1. I just plant my seeds in really rich compost and they seem to almost always come up! That okra looks great. Do you have any of the Stewart's Zeebest variety left? If so, you could save some seeds from that so you can grow it again next year even if you can't buy the seeds :)

  2. Thanks, Jess. My compost is pretty nice. Maybe I will try that this year.

    I have some leftover seed in the packet. I am hoping it will still germinate. I didn't save any seeds from the plants, because I was growing 3 varieties side by side.

  3. Eight peaches form your very own tree sounds absolutely divine to me :-) Cheers to larger harvests all around next year!

    1. It was really like a miracle. And all of us could tell they tasted so different from what peaches from the store tasted like.

      Yes, I agree. Here's to larger harvests all around next year. :)

  4. I can't help you with your seeds. I use a mix that is sold in New England but I don't think it is in the rest of the country. It has lots of compost in it. And even here it isn't easy to get but I haven't found a better seed starter. I've heard of a lot of people using Promix and liking it. I've never personally used it though.

    1. I haven't made any decisions about the seed starter yet. It is a conundrum for me.

  5. I stumbled across your blog tonight. Have missed reading it. Hope you will continue to post now! Nancy