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Successes in a first year garden

 
gardener
Posts: 497
Location: Ontario - Gardening in zone 3b, 4b, or 6b, depending on the day
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It's September, and harvest time is here. First frost is supposed to be Sept 20 ish, but I like to start picking earlier to keep from having 5 hours of panic-picking if it comes a bit earlier.

This year, I decided to start a brand new garden to cope with COVID and the potential for food shortages - detailed here: https://permies.com/t/137014/Tips-year-successful-garden-beds. Last year was my first year gardening at this house, and I stuck to the garden beds, this year, I turned a large part of our lawn into food. Note that this is far from my first garden - but it is probably the largest garden I have maintained.

There were some ups and downs: many critters who thought they would deal with their own potential food shortages by feasting on my plants (https://permies.com/t/146240/Gah-eating-flour-corn, https://permies.com/t/141061/strange-case-disappearing-tomato-plants) and a drought through June and July, and way, way too much rain in August and September.

Still - it went well! Definitely worth doing, and I am planning to continue to expand the garden this fall for next spring using the bags of leaves my neighbours helpfully deposit at the curb :).

I heavily mulched the garden, so other than spring setup time, weeding and watering time were pretty minimal - a few hours of watering/week in the worst of the drought and umm... maybe 5 hours of weeding for the entire season? I spent a lot more time picking than I did weeding or watering, and I like it that way.

Very successful this year were the curcubits I planted in my mulched garden. The zucchinis I planted elsewhere failed to thrive/disappeared, but the pepo squash did very well.  I am casually working to develop an acorn squash landrace - all but the green Table Queen squash were from saved seeds, and all of my saved seeds were much more productive than the Table Queen plant. I started with a few different locally grown hybrid seeds, and am thrilled to see the variation each year, it's a lot of fun.

It was my first year growing maxima and moshata squash, and I was really pleased with them too!

Many species of curcubits - My curcubit family photo

Upper left, maxima (sunshine F1 and a mini blue hubbard), left - watermelon,  centre - many kinds of acorn (pepo) squash, green is table queen, rest are saved seeds, right - a moschata (butternut) squash and a cantalope. Bottom - one cucumber, just there to represent the family.  

I was thrilled to harvest two large watermelons and 2 large cantalope from the 4 plants of each type I planted. Saving seeds! My first ever cantalope, and far bigger than the watermelons i grew last time (and saved seeds from previously)


My cabbage family plants did very well for me - i am especially pleased with raab brocolli, tsoi sim, and regular old cabbage. Brocolli was ok, but took up a lot of space for it's production, and I loved the earliness and cut and come again nature of the brocolli alternatives. Plus, I could save seeds fromm the raab and the tsoi sim!



I had a pretty good harvest of onions, though my garlic was very small - https://permies.com/t/144721/kitchen/store-onions

And I have a bunch of carrot pickles, dill cucumber pickles, beet pickles, etc, for the winter, and lots of beans, tomatos, brocoli, etc in the freezer. And dried herbs.

My flour corn did ok (what wasn't eaten), my beans are just now coming into production. What green peppers survived my nibblers produced fantastically in the mulched garden - my best harvest of peppers ever.

My potatos are disappointing - here is the result of the first 20 row feet of potatos - less than half a milk carton

.

Still to be harvested:
- 80 row feet of potatos
- More carrots
-celeriac
- amaranth
- more beans
- many more tomatos
- fall daikons, tsoi sim, etc
- Cabbage
-

We haven't purchased brocolli, onions, potatos, peppers - honestly, almost any vegetables, for months, and we have a fair bit in the freezer and still to come. So i am happy, especially with prices the way they are.

I am looking forward to even better results next year, as the garden is more established and I continue to add organic matter - I plan on a truckload of manure or mushroom compost this fall.


Basically - if you are reading this, and on the fence about starting a garden for next year - do it! It's worth the effort


 
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Catie said Basically - if you are reading this, and on the fence about starting a garden for next year - do it! It's worth the effort



Catie, thanks for sharing! I agree! Your harvests are beautiful!
 
Catie George
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Location: Ontario - Gardening in zone 3b, 4b, or 6b, depending on the day
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Thought i would share some of my harvest storage photos. Homegrown food is marvellous in the summer, but also really nice to have in the winter when grocery store food is underripe  bland, and shipped from other continents.

Will a first year garden provide all the vegetables you need for a year? Uh... probably not, unless you REALLY dont like vegetables. But mine provided many meals in the summer, a fair amount to give to friends, relatives, and neighbours, and a fair stash for winter.

Green Tomatos until Christmas - may make some jam





Freezer of frozen vegetables



Many kinds of canned pickles - cucumber, squash, beets, beans, carrots, etc. Aprox 40 jars.



Squash - several months storage



A few months worth of onions




More to come, still lots in "the field". All much tastier than grass!
 
pollinator
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Location: Southern Germany
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Great harvest, congrats!
I hope next year I will have similar amounts when we can seriously plant the little plot we bought this summer.

Question:
Why do you have a glass with drowned wasps with your tomatoes?
I am asking because here in Germany it is illegal to kill wasps, you can get fines from 5,000 to 65,000 euro, depending on the species and if you also destroyed their nest.
Many people keep little saucers with fruit on their terraces to feed the wasps so they do not disturb you while you are eating outside.

I have several species of wasps in my garden (and hornets) and I am happy that they keep my flies at bay, and I suspect they are also protecting my brassicas: I do have the white butterflies but hardly any damage by their caterpillars.
 
Catie George
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Location: Ontario - Gardening in zone 3b, 4b, or 6b, depending on the day
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Really? What an interesting law. I wonder if your wasps are less agressive than ours. Learn something new every day.

Definitely not illegal to kill wasps here. It was a bad year for them with many building nests inside our/neighbours sheds, mailboxes, roofs, etc. Wasp killing stuff is readily available at the hardware store. I was stung for the first time in years (on my ear, hurt for days) while walking the dog this spring - i think they had set up in a wooden planter i walked past. Mom was stung by two when she opened the door to a shed this spring.

As for the dead ones - We have fruit flies in the house so i set out a glass with apple cider vinegar and a bit of dish soap to decrease the surface tension and kill the fruit flies. A few wasps came in the house while we had the door open, and also died there.

 
Anita Martin
pollinator
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Definitely less aggressive wasps here, yes.

My parents live in Spain and they have aggressive wasps nesting in the hedges.
Here you rather get stung accidentally if you step on one or you disturb the nest somehow.
 
Posts: 112
Location: Dry mountains Eastern WA
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Catie!  Congratulations on quite a haul from your garden!  
 
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Location: western NY (Erie County), USA; zone 5b/6a. Can't exactly tell where the boundary line is.
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Anne Miller wrote:

Catie said Basically - if you are reading this, and on the fence about starting a garden for next year - do it! It's worth the effort



Catie, thanks for sharing! I agree! Your harvests are beautiful!



I can hardly wait to get started on next year's garden! My current one still has a few weeks of life left. I plan on expanding it and grow more of what I grew this year (tomatoes, zukes, peppers) and add a variety of other things.

This year was a success, (compared to previous ones) so I'm all jazzed up.

I plan to hugelkultur, as the planned newer area slopes down a little.

I just ordered comfrey seeds to grow that and spice up the compost heap. Developing an herbal medicine patch is a part of my plans (I ordered mullein seeds, as well.)

I may even think of 'season extenders' like cloches from 2L sodapop bottles and whack some scrap wood and screens/windows for a cold frame.

Gosh. One successful good garden and look what happens....  Side note: I am aware of 'reach exceeding my grasp' as that was a problem before. But I have the time, now, to take proper care of my intentions.

 
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Awesome harvest!
 
Catie George
gardener
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Location: Ontario - Gardening in zone 3b, 4b, or 6b, depending on the day
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Paul Sofranko wrote:

I can hardly wait to get started on next year's garden! My current one still has a few weeks of life left. I plan on expanding it and grow more of what I grew this year (tomatoes, zukes, peppers) and add a variety of other things.

This year was a success, (compared to previous ones) so I'm all jazzed up.

I plan to hugelkultur, as the planned newer area slopes down a little.

I just ordered comfrey seeds to grow that and spice up the compost heap. Developing an herbal medicine patch is a part of my plans (I ordered mullein seeds, as well.)

I may even think of 'season extenders' like cloches from 2L sodapop bottles and whack some scrap wood and screens/windows for a cold frame.

Gosh. One successful good garden and look what happens....  Side note: I am aware of 'reach exceeding my grasp' as that was a problem before. But I have the time, now, to take proper care of my intentions.



Paul - thats awesome! Jealous of your longer growing season down there. Glad it went well for you too!   i know all about "reach exceeding my grasp". For me, heavily mulching was my breakthrough moment. Yes, mulching is a ton of work, but i would much rather mulch in the cool of the spring and fall than weed in the heat of the summer! I can maintain a far bigger garden with mulch than without it. To me, its all about maximizing the things i enjoy (planting, picking, eating) and minimizing things i dont (weeding watering hoeing tilling). I am also already plotting for next year. I kind of wish
seed companies would accept orders now for next year, which is silly, as i know i will enjoy sitting down to order seed in January/February. Impatient for the next growing season to start, instead of happy to see the work go away for the winter.


We have had 2 hard frosts here, really closing down the growing season and cleaning up the garden. Looks like i will get maybe 40 lb of potatos from 100 row feet, which is a poor yield, but local gossip says everyone had a bad year for piotatos, and i didn't water them much, so they were pretty low effort. My soup beans did poorly, except for 3 plants which produced abundantly.  Saving all the seeds from those plants for next year.

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