18 Gardening Lessons Learned This Year

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2012 Garden and SariaWith this years gardening season done and everything pretty much put to rest for the winter, we took some time to reflect on the lessons learned this summer.

It's hard to think of everything after the fact, so the bonus lesson learned is we'll be keeping a good weekly journal next year to note yeilds, planting dates to harvest dates, anomalies, surprises, weather, etc...

So that being said here are the 18 Gardening Lessons of 2012...

  1. Grow Roma Tomatoes for Sauces & Bottling
  2. Grow only a few Beefsteak Tomatoes for sandwiches
  3. Grow more Cherry Tomatoes for salads
  4. One Pack of Beets will make approx 12 Pints so double next year
  5. Grow Carrots!!  Don't tell anyone about the wind blown carrot patch throughout the garden ;o)
  6. Space Oregon Snow Peas every 2 weeks & make solid stands for them
  7. One Pack of Zucchini is more then enough!
  8. Need to build Grow Domes for Peppers & Jalopeneos
  9. One Pack of Cabbage is enough, space 2 weeks
  10. Grow both Yellow & Green Beans for bottling, not just Green Beans
  11. Grow 1 pack of eating cuccumbers, space 2 wks.
  12. Grow pickling cucumbers for bread & butter pickles
  13. Succession Planting techniques for Spinach & Lettuces
  14. *** Buy Heirloom Seeds & Learn to Save Seeds ***
  15. Grow Pumpkins in their own patch at the back
  16. Make Hardy Tomato Stands
  17. Continue with Three Sisters planting (Corn, Pole Beans, Squash).. excellent results!
  18. Research, Plan, Learn Some More... Do It All Again!  Can't wait for Spring!

I think the biggest improvement we can do is have a solid plan for the coming spring now that we have a better idea on yeilds for canning, including a good journal.  We kind of knew how much we got with the experience over the last 4 years, but this year was the first year we planted for canning and preserving, so we learned a bit more on what we need to grow next year to eat fresh and put up for the winter.

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Garden 2012 Looking North West

The nice weather is kinda here on Canada's East Coast.  It's been a weird Spring and into summer with some wildly hot record breaking days for heat then dipping down to the single digits (Celsius).... not so good for starting and hardening plants.

Due to the cooler weather, we started with freshening up the flower beds and some transplants.  We also re-raked and seeded the back where the new septic bed was put in last year.  After a week of steady watering, the back yard is starting to germinate nicely so we should have grass by end of the summer...lol.

We started the garden planting on May 24th.  We had the garden bed tilled and added rotted manure to the bottom of the rows.  We decided to continue with a traditional row garden gain this year and maybe put in a couple of beds to save some funds for other projects.  Planted Corn, Green/Yellow Beans, Carrots and Cabbage in the rows so far.  We also planted a patch of greens, a spread of lettuce and spinach, and a patch of bunching onions.

Our starters are doing very well but need to be transplanted soon.  We're just waiting on the weather to give us a break.  The small greenhouse has worked excellent starting the seeds in the house and now helping hardening in the garage.  They've been out in the sun for a few hours a day by opening the garage door... very nice ;o)

So as of May 24th planting, our corn is already about 2" and growing.  The beans are just starting to pop their little heads.  The rows for the tomatoes and cucumbers are all ready as soon as the weather cooperates and almost forgot the potatoes were planted yesterday, Saturday.  Thanks to my awesome neighbor, we will again have some blue potatoes this year!

Here's a bit of a picture update...

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Second Round Seed Starting 2012

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In our part of the planet, we're still about a month away from last average frost date.  We started our second group of seedlings to fill up the rest of the shelves in our "seed starting hot house".  So far our little hot house/green house has been great.  Our first round of seedlings have all taken and thriving.

We planted 3 more trays to fill in the rest of the racks in the hot house/green house: Onions, Jacob's Cattle Beans, Scotia Tomatoes (ya more tomatoes!), Cucumbers, Green/Yellow Beans and Giant Oregon Snow Peas.

With the nice weather announced this week, we're going to take advantage to start prepping the yard and garden.  It's been a very dry Spring and I hope we get cues that Mr. Frost is now gone for good so we can uncover the strawberries, garlic and start to work the garden ;o)  We're also pretty excited to move the starter seeds with greenhouse to the garage to start the hardening process.  It should make a big difference.  A few pictures....

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Starter Seeds 2012 Week 3

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Quick picture post on the progress of our little starter seeds.  These seeds were planted on March 24th, 2012... Crappy grainy pics are from my blackberry, but simply wanted to capture how they're making out after 3 weeks.

Weather is starting to warm up, trees are starting to bud and we're getting pretty darn excited to get our hands dirty ;o)

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