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Your 2021 garden - what grew well? What will you do differently next year?

 
gardener & author
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It’s spring right now where I live, but autumn for many Permies, so I am wondering how your gardens went this year?

Which plants and combinations of plants went really well?

Did you try anything new this year?

Do you have any ideas for making your garden even better next year?
 
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Good question..I'm new here @ St Helens from the "big island" so I'm interested in what works here, and for you and others too
 
gardener
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Location: Japan, roughly zone 9b - wet and warm climate
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fisher hall wrote:Good question..I'm new here @ St Helens from the "big island" so I'm interested in what works here, and for you and others too



Welcome to Permies fisher! Su Ba is farming in Hawaii, so look him up if you're interested.

---

My garden report!

This year my lettuce was an abysmal failure. However it is making seed now, so we'll see if that works out. I tried growing the starts in my greenhouse, but it was too dark, so my starts were very leggy and didn't leaf out like good salad lettuce should.

I planted green pepper and eggplant starts that I bought from a store. I thought they were goners in the summer, but after giving them a mulch of compost and clearing their competitors they really took off in September and I've been having my first successful green pepper harvest. I hope to get my own starts going early enough this coming February and March so that I don't need to buy them.

My carrots this past season were a failure. I planted them too densely and got pencil thin carrots that were inedible. I will be observing appropriate spacing for them in the future.

My okra did surprisingly well after a slow start, though I lost quite a few plants to pests. Now I know I need about 6 okra plants going to keep me in slimy goodness all summer/fall.

My kabocha pumpkins all failed horribly and I only got 2 cucumbers. I'm not sure why though I suspect cucurbit leaf beetles.

Most of my brassicas are very very slowly growing. I think most of them need more fertile soil than I have at the moment. I haven't been able to make enough compost. Though I realized my non fruiting bananas are a highly prolific source of organic material! So I started chopping them up for compost today.

The biggest hope for next year is to plant my own saved seeds as much as possible, and mix with some other varieties that I haven't tried. I want to successively create landraces for all the vegetables we eat. I suspect this will be more difficult with some plants than others, but I'm just gonna wing it and see what happens.

 
pollinator
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Location: Youngstown, Ohio
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Midwest USA urban garden: groundhogs rule the roost here so all of my cabbage family plants were decimated.  We are herbalists and most of our herbs grow fantastically, so we will continue what works well and scale back on others.  We have friends and fellow farmers marketers that do other things well, we will barter or sell our goods to buy theirs.  Powdery mildew came late since we had the perfect spacing of heat and water this year.  So the curcubits and squash did well.  I did tomatoes in felted pots in a greenhouse/ glorified big poly tunnel.  They did pretty well but production was kind of low and slow...just perfect for our use though.  Peaches, pears and raspberries had amazing high yielding crops this year!  We grew Zucca for the first time.  It was so fun and tasty that we will do it again.  It trellised itself up my willow tree.  The largest one was 36 inches long with 29 inch girth!  See pics!
20211010_140440.jpg
Zucca-trellised-up-willow-tree
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Zucca-trellised-up-willow-tree
20211014_142106_HDR-2.jpg
permaculture-allotment-garden-netherlands-February
 
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This season was entirely different from last year. I couldn't get cucumbers this year to do anything and my squash did not grow well. Last year I had both. Same with pumpkins. I have had great luck with beans and tomatoes. I managed potatoes but realized too late I planted too little of them. I have my garden on a hillside terraced as I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains and there isn't an option that is flat for me. I built a few beds for Spring and used sheep manure that I got from a farm nearby for free just to clean their pens for them. They are aged into their 70s and so they appreciated my labor for free aged manure. They run the farm on organic food so it is a win win. My soil is quite red and full of iron so we sweeten it with lime and the manure but this is just second year on virgin land. We built a greenhouse and I planted onions and garlic last fall and they grew well in there unheated in the winter so planted again. The rest of the time it is more like a potting shed that is large with two huge raised beds. It has running water in it so it is a good place to do what I need in the garden without muddying up the cabin. Mostly beans and tomatoes. Anything like carrots and beets and such were a no go. I have kale and mustards in now and will see. Blackberries produced a few, this is their second year and blueberries a few. Planted goji from seed and they are chest high. I should get fruit next year. Be blessed, juanita mae
 
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Wow, so much - this is my second year growing on Vancouver Island. After expanding my garden I realized just how much the trees along the fence line were effecting my other beds. Stunted and slow, I now know I can only grow low-demand crops there. My sun-lovers will mostly grow off-property next year. Only a few cukes, I am going to try them in large black containers next year for the extra warmth + use better soil.

My garlic, collard greens, lettuce, and beets did great. My potatoes were okay, but I'll try hilling more. The borlottis and runner beans have struggled to dry up in our rains, I'll focus more on fava beans and Carol Deppe's pop beans next year. And I'm becoming more confident with squash, so larger varieties are now on the table (I only grew Sundream this year).
 
pollinator
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Nice, a topic about how it went in the garden this year! Early this year I happened to get a plot at the allotment garden complex. I'm not the first renter to apply permaculture principles and organic gardening at that plot. I'm very happy everything was left growing there as the renters before me planted it. Two apple trees, blackberry and raspberry bushes, horseradish and many other perennials! And then when Spring really started I saw how many seeds of annual edibles had spread there! A lot more to harvest than to plant :-)

It looked like this, early February 2021
And in this video you can see how it is about now (non edited and spoken in Dutch):

 
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Location: Norway
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Hello there.
Awesome post idea. I didn't grow much this season, but worked on some germination trails, and fodder spouting. The chickens enjoyed all harvests, and I got the research info. This fall, I am preparing a new field I just bought from conventional to organic (3 years rest period). It's completely minedof nutrients and compacted. I'm going to manually broadfork the field, drop the leftover oat straw and spray the field with EM-1. And I am starting my compost layout, and acquiring materials from my yard clean-up. Other than that, I am waiting on grants for some equipment and setting up a new chicken area.
 
pollinator
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High Plains here and our year was mostly a bust garden wise.  Injuries kept us from doing what we wanted.  Plants and seeds got planted late to very late for our area.  
Failures
Sunchokes we never saw anything above ground blaming the squirrels...  Groundnuts (Apois Americana) fail they would start to grow then dry and die.  I think they need more even watering and more shade than I could give them... most squash and other veggies never got planted  My in ground tomatoes managed to produce a few tomatoes before our first snow so will plant those varieties again..  Bucket tomatoes never really grew well even those set right next to a grow bag tomato that was growing well.

Successes-
Potatoes, we have been eating small potatoes for over a month. Front yard soil is very hard even in the section we thought was amended so it needs LOTS of organic matter if we try again with potatoes in it.   One lone potato start got shoved into an empty place in one of my large grow bags and gave us LARGE fingerlings so that bag will get more potatoes planted in it as that soil was about perfect for them.   Almost all my potatoes flowered this year and they make a lovely pale flower that played well with my lone dark Daylily.  They made a great stealth veggie.  
Dahlias these will come back next year and once again will be in a grow bag as I work on my front yard dirt.  While I never got to see White Aster bloom it was in bud when the last snow took it out and more importantly I have healthy tubers to plant next year.  My cheap tubers from Walmart also grew well and I have fresh tubers from 2 plants with single yellow flowers.  
Garlic calling this a success it was planted late grew well and gave me  nice sized cloves to use over the winter.  
Rosemary I think every single seed I started grew into plants so I had an over abundance of them in early spring which got passed on to other gardeners.  I have 2 pots with a total of 3 plants in the "craft" room to coddle though our winter.  
Runner Beans ( Phaseolus coccineus)  again planted very late in a grow bag.  Next year they need a better trellis system and planted earlier.  These actually handled a couple of light frosts before our snow took them out. They grew well with strong vines.  Another great stealth veggie we will plant again.  
So so were onions which were a first time plant for me.  I used starts and then injuries came so these got ignored and struggled though the neglect.  we still got small onions for DH but most succumbed to the neglect.  We will try again.
 
Posts: 13
Location: Belgium, alkaline clay along the Escaut river
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Hello,
I was the first year that i grew on this little shrubbery, after having mulched with fallen leaves in autumn. No tilling, planting of cercis siliquastrum trees for nitrogen. Alkaline silt here, with spontaneous peach trees and some wild orchids in the lawn. The vegetable garden was chemically cultivated before.
Fava beans, spinach and peas were sown in february, but saw their growth delayed by a unusually dry spring. I harvested them in july ! Rhubarb and raspberries were the first true harvest in june, followed by chervil.
Beetroots, parsnips, celery, swiss chards, kale and red cabbages were planted after our first good rain at the end of april and are doing well.
Potatoes gave just enough for replanting next year. shallots were OK, carrots and onions a failure.
Then another dry spell hit just after planting tomatoes, eggplants and squash, in june. Everything i planted then died, but some feral pumpkin plants developed, that happened to be sweet varieties and were harvested this fall.
Pole beans sowed in may sprouted in july, and gave a decent harvest.
We had our best rains at the start of october, and i tried daikon radishes, black radishes, spinach again. So far only 3 plants of daikon have spouted, i will let them set seed. I tried yacon and oca, which grow well - at least above the ground.
Some plants were not harvested (only two or three of them anyways) but let to bolt : chinese mustard, lettuce.

As for berries, i have raspberries, strawberries everywhere.  Plums were heavily parasitized, and an old peach tree gave some fruit and a lot of seedlings.

To control pests better next year, i have set a small brush pile at an angle, a pond at the opposite and toad shelters everywhere ; wild fennel, sorrel, comfrey, walking onion, rocket, bee balm, salad burnet, Daubenton's collard were introduced for perennials.

Goutweed and dandelion have been harvested from early spring. Couch grass is a problem i am working on.

The lawn was let to grow and scythed, and guilded fruit trees will be planted in the front yard behind a mixed hedge.

Have a nice day,
 
pollinator
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I love squash and I planted more than usual. For the first time, I planted them in a sheet of plastic that I had laying around. I would reduce weeds, make watering more efficient, keep the fruit out of the muck... so I did.
For the first time ever [I've been growing squash for decades, in heavy of sandy soils without trouble] I had an infestation of squash borers that ruined my crop.
So I'm doing light tilling of the area to destroy the pests that winter in the ground.
I won't plant the squash in plastic sheets or in this area of the garden.
I will watch my squash like a hawk so I'm not caught flat footed: I thought that the leaves drooping were the result of a lack of water, as the summer was rather dry here. No. It was the borers feasting on my squash.
Live and learn!
 
master gardener
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Next year, I'll try to grow my luffa in a cold frame, instead of in the house. Trying to move them in and out, to harden them off actually ended up breaking them off, and one by one, they all died. Ugh.

I'm also looking for faster ways to create soil that will support my planting, and, at least for next spring, I'm not expecting to have enough of it built up to plant in the ground, so I'm getting ready to start taping my local cattle ranchers for more (& more, &more...) mineral tubs, for container gardening!
 
pollinator
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Here in Mid Atlantic (eastern part of US), moisture and summer heat produces a stunning amount of pest bugs that I battled all summer. Still, a productive garden considering I garden organically and refused to follow suit of local friends who urged me to "spray away" my problem.

Win:  I garden and harvest year round by covering winter ground crops and greens. Actually a fabulous win. Very successful. Last year had 52 plastic storage tubs that covered lettuces, spinach, beets, onions, etc. in the cold months. Right now I'm gearing up for about 75. Under the tubs they will withstand freezing temps down to at least 17 below (tested), snow and howling "arctic" winds. So essentially, I'm challenging Mother Nature year round to grow all the vegetables we need, mostly out of season whether in the growing or production time process. And to prolong the life of what, here anyway, are considered annuals. I have two year old Russian kale and mustard spinach that is still going strong and have provided me with hundreds of vege side dishes. Everyone else here only gardens in the very short growing season of June thru Sept.

Loss: Planted quite a bit of garlic last fall. Couldn't wait for roasted garlic on toasted french bread. Harvested this summer and let them air dry in the warm summer shade. Huge mistake. Watched people do this on the West Coast before we moved here. Apparently too much moisture from the humidity her plus drying garlic creates very, very bitter garlic. Total loss, other than for replanting and trying again. I may even think about getting a dehydrator specifically for drying garlic, if that is possible. We use a lot of garlic and that will be the sole vegetable we will have to buy until I can harvest more.

Semi loss: Ditto above on onions. Yes, red onions won't store very long. (My favorite) But, again, the humidity is a big detriment in storage of all onions here. We've lost some already. Onion quality of what I grew is fine, just don't have a cool space to store them. We are testing hanging them in large crawl space under house. If I have enough freezer space, whole onions (cleaned and dried somewhat) do very, very well frozen. Amazingly, you can take an onion out of freezer, quickly and easily slice off what you need and refreeze and they keep for many months. At about a year they start to get milder.

Win: I grow bunching, shallots and my all-time favorite Walla Walla onions and leave them in the ground year round for top cutting and entire plant pulling with good results.

Frustrating loss: Netted only a very few cucumbers due to beetles. Plan for next summer is planting some English style that don't need the bees, and building a pvc/bug netting short, but wide, "house" + special pollinating bees.  (and thank you permies for tips on non-pollinated cukes and pollinating bees!) I'm inventing this in my brain as I speak, so we shall see. Very excited about this. I love tackling a seemingly unsurmountable problem and besting it.

Win: Learned this summer to use shade cover on cilantro and basil to keep it fresh and tender all spring and summer. Almost the end of October and still going strong. I love both tender and hate them strong, so a real win in cooking uses.

Loss / Win: Last spring's attempt at leeks didn't work. Replanted this fall in deeper, wider trenches. So far, so good. I love leek soup and impossible to find in stores.

Surprising win: planted/tasted sorrel for the first time. Don't see any reason I can't grow all winter under tub just like lettuce. Amazed at the fresh, lemony taste. Looking forward to enough leaves to make a cream of sorrel soup that so many of my cookbooks rave about.

Loss: Totally goofed on harvest time for my Delicata squash. Bought it in years past and love its buttery flavor. But, I was meant to pick it while the skin was tender. Instead I was waiting for the first frost like the rest of my squash. Skin got hard (it should be tender enough to bake, broil or steam and eat skin and all) and then innards got very tough and dry. Oops! Next year. Used some in my pumpkin display, though, where it has oddly puffed up from the rain.

Win: Planted Atlantic (huge pumpkins) for the first time. Won't win any size contests as they can be grown much larger, but so fun in a mailbox/driveway display. They don't get the intense orange color, but size wise are the biggest I've seen in the county. Those and a garden still full of beautiful orange and yellow nasturtiums are the "fun" part of my large garden and certainly enjoyed by the bees who come by the hundreds all summer and fall long.

Win: Gardening year round. I have lots of health issues, but work hard on staying healthy. I play the game of counting up how many of my garden vegetables and herbs I can squeeze in per meal. Maybe only two or three with a breakfast omelette, plus some steamed greens, but I tallied up 17 for one dinner meal recently. Plus meat--I'm not vegan. I just work on plant based foods being a large part of what I eat for short and long term reasons.

Win: I would only admit this on here. Huge (quietly!) bragging rights that I have a veritable year-round organic produce department right outside my door...in an area where some people only know how to, or have access to, open a can of vegetables. All my friends are urging me to sell at the seasonal farmers market. Too much work to do already--not interested. My goal is using fresh, organic vegies instead of doctors and meds. Mission accomplished daily. Planted and then expanded the garden to keep myself and my husband healthy. Dramatic difference in my health, and not to brag (😎 ) but my skin looks amazing from all the veges.

Win: After my husband helps hugely with deer fencing and soil amendment, he is done in the garden except for growing his own seasonal tomatoes and peppers, which I can't eat. So, my better health with a high plant based diet has made me stronger to be able to garden more. I'm very self-reliant on 99% of my gardening efforts, which is a plus for me, as I have complete say in my gardening methods--most of which are successful. He's more of a traditional gardener, I push the limits to what can be done. He was quite the skeptic in the beginning, but is on board now that he is having amazing, home grown salads, etc. during the snowy months.

Win: I'm learning to grow what works well for me and skip what doesn't. Gardening peer pressure is real! I'm learning to keep a large stock of seed on hand as the good stuff sells out early.  Yes, some of the cheaper seeds don't last or are already really old so I don't buy them. As a test, my husband planted tomato seeds we had bought in Italy almost 9 years ago. He just finished harvesting "giganto" tomatoes that bore tons of fruit all summer. I'm learning good, quality seed can last for some time. Especially if packed in foil as his tomato seed was, which is probably why it lasted so well. Since I garden year round and don't let much go to seed, I've not yet gotten in to very much seed preservation other than the seasonal stuff like green beans, squash, etc.  Also, when grown under any kind of cover, plants don't tend to go to seed very fast. And, I don't succumb to peer pressure to only use my own seed. My goal is to be healthy year round. Due to the large number of deer here, a garden has to be fenced. I can't physically handle more on my own than the large garden space we now have (and getting "farm hands" is a lost cause here), so I would rather be harvesting food year round than worrying about producing the amount of seed I would need to replant when necessary. I buy organic seed from good, earth minded companies and I'm content with that.

Win:  I'm learning to REST and put in no more than 4 hours a day in the garden during high season planting and weeding.  As I get everything situated a little better, I want to whittle that down dramatically. That's one of the toughest things for me...I'm very passionate about what I'm passionate about. And, I love sharing produce with friends. Nothing better than the joy of gifting fresh greens in the dead of winter where none are to be had locally.

Win: Discovering recently what I am doing with raised beds (just the soil, no wood supports) is called French Intensive gardening. Started in the 1700's outside of Paris on wet ground out of necessity by the poor and then adapted by the rich and their gardeners because it was so successful . It's planting a whole seed packet or more in a small "bed". Providing great soil amendments, lime in my case, organic fertilizer if needed, watering well--all because the closely growing plants are competing for nutrients. So I'm constantly re-harvesting greens by scissoring or knifing off greens and letting them regrow--season after season. Works well, especially since I size to my plastic tubs. For below ground veges like radishes or carrots, I pull those that get large enough to eat, which in turn makes room for the smaller ones around it to grow larger. This way I have a staggered harvest, especially useful in winter. This is something I learned during last winter's harvest and it lengthened my harvesting my months.

Win: I haven't gardened veges since I was a little kid. Although I grew up a farmer's daughter, I never had the time or space to garden other than flowers as an adult. Turns out I listened to all my relatives through the years, retained what I learned at my mother's side as a kid, and am pretty good at researching and figuring out garden problems. Quite gratifying and very rewarding I'm good at what I need most in life right now.

Upcoming winter test: A friend has given me seed for winter growing spinach she swears will survive any kind of cold we get here without being covered. It's already up and looking great. I'm curious to see if the leaves will get tough in bad weather. That's one of the benefits of covering greens in all seasons. Everything stays very tender and doesn't get bitter unless in the summer heat, in which case I let it sit under a shade cover and it will sweeten up when the weather cools. I found this to be amazingly true of lettuce that got bitter this summer and last fall. By just letting it sit until the weather cooled, the leaves stayed tender under cover and sweetened up when it cooled off.

Plans for next spring/summer. We can't use a high tunnel because of the high winds here, but husband will be building a small greenhouse and adjoining garden shed for me. He wants to plant a fruit orchard, which is very exciting. We live an hour from any viable grocery store so adding fruit to the home grown harvest will be wonderful. Also, we need to landscape around newly built house. I will be planting 5 - 6 tree and bush wind breaks out on the pasture to protect the house in the coming years. Also very excited about this and can envision both form and function in beautiful plantings that hold out 75 mph winds. This will also protect my garden from raging winter winds.

I enjoyed summing up my gardening experiences for an audience of people who understand. So few do--or care--where I live. Thanks for asking!
IMG_1260.JPG
homegrown-pumpkin-display
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
pollinator
Posts: 2453
Location: Meppel (Drenthe, the Netherlands)
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Sorry, I still have to answer your specific questions ...
- Which plants and combinations of plants went really well?
I was surprised by how well the cucumbers did, outdoors. Of course the seeds were from a variety fit for this climate, but still I wasn't expecting many of them. Now there were plenty of cucumbers to eat in salad, give away, make pickles and let some grow on until ripe for seeds to sow next year (hope so)!

- Did you try anything new this year?
Yes, it was almost all new. Before I only had my small front and back yard. In the sunny front yard there's a herb spiral and raspberries. The back yard is not really the right place for vegetables (large part is shaded and the soil is mostly sand). This allotment garden is a big improvement!

- Do you have any ideas for making your garden even better next year?
Of course I have, and I am busy doing what I can to carry out my plans.
 
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Hi, loving all the contributions - what an energetic lot we are!

I tried runner beans this year for the first time and they were amazing, I couldn’t keep up with them. Those that got too big, I have shelled out the beans and frozen them, looking forward to a bean stew soon. One lesson I learned - I planted a borage plant next to them to attract insects. And it got covered with black aphids, looked very sad, BUT none tried out the beans which can often be attacked, so that companion planting will be repeated.

Chickpeas were another experiment which were fun, but not very productive, also labour intensive to harvest. Maybe if I had a lot more space? But I also wondered about eating them green, the odd nibble seemed quite tasty. Has anyone tried them like that?

Best success was squash, several different types, we won’t run out this winter if they keep ok. And tomatoes, mainly in our Keder PT, but also some outside in pots. Oddly my Black Krim were much smaller than normal, and tended to rot, sadly.

Re carrots, I have had my first success, but later in the season. We have a huge slug problem, so the only way to grow them is in plugs then transplant outside with plastic collars to protect them. When small they also need netting to stop the pheasants grazing them down. Each ‘plug group’ is now about big enough to make a tasty serving for two of us - worth the effort? Probably not, but still satisfying to beat the opposition!

Chervil has done brilliantly, lovely addition to a salad, and now the winter salads in the polytunnel are coming into their own. Hopefully fresh salad all winter.

Just off to pick some apples - cider season approaches, and we have a great crop this year.

Happy growing everyone.
 
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Location: Northern UK
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Here in the north of the UK, our kale, runner beans, onions, leeks, courgettes (zucchini) beetroot, sweetcorn, tomatoes, carrots and purple sprouting broccoli did well.
Less well or total failures were peas, French beans, butternut squash (only 2 fruit and one went mouldy and fell off the plant), celeriac (lots of leaves and no swelling roots), brussels sprouts ( lots of loose leaves but few tight "baby cabbages"), tiger nuts (the mice ate them) and shallots ( just didn't grow).
Next year there will be no runner beans as I don't like them and there were too many for Mr A to eat them all. My sister gave me the seeds as a Christmas present along with the beetroot which I don't like either and the celeriac which I haven't had a chance to try. I will not plant all the purple prouting broccoli at the same time as, even giving it away to anyone who came anywhere near our house (it's on a public footpath) there was still a glut and it went to seed.
We did not spend as much time in the garden this year as we would have liked due to health issues, but next year we hope they will be better controlled as they are chronic problems.
 
pollinator
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Kate Downham: Love this topic and thanks for raising it. BTW, I have your homestead cookbook and used it to make elderberry oxymel this fall. Your technique of heating the "button" jars and pouring hot oxymel into them to seal the button totally works, so thank you!

I keep a log / progress report of our harvests over at Brunette Gardens: Tips and Tales from Our Homestead Habitat. Our spring (early) season harvest featured highly successful crops of peas and lettuce.

early-spring-peas-swelling-pods

I gave us a B using the standard US report card system. Not bad for our second year of trying in earnest to eat as much as we can from our own garden. Full post: Cool Season Report Card '21.

The summer season was also a success, with great crops of:

- garlic
- onions
- tomatoes
- cucumbers
- dill
- sweet potatoes
- rhubarb
- evening primrose
- hibiscus

cucmber-pickle-summer

The onions were potato or multiplier onions, and they even flowered and went to seed, which as you know from other forum threads here on Permies, is kind of a big deal.

Some things I'm considering for next year:

- Increasing the amount of seed saving
- Starting tomatoes earlier
- Starting potatoes earlier, and amending them with my own urine for extra nitrogen




 
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I've basically been experimenting with a variety of things to determine what does grow well here and under climate changing conditions. Have been saving as much seed as possible to get landrace varieties.

Climate wise, it was a tough year. The rains quit in March and we went from cool, cloudy days to hot dry ones in a short span of time. We are just now experiencing our first real rainstorm since then. Starting in June, we had temperatures around 100 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 weeks straight.  Normally it would be closer to 95.

Fruit and nut trees: Planted organic trees in January and February 2020 and was gratified to get fruit on several this year. Best producer was a nectaplum (cross between nectarine and plum) with about 70 pink fruit that were the size of nectarines and tasted like them too. Also had an apricot that did well with a similar number of good-sized apricots. The nectarine had a good crop, but the fruit were plum sized and cracked. All of the above were sweet and delicious. The other apricot lost it's leaves and fruit to some disease but sprouted a new tree from the base. The low chill hour multi-graft apple (4 varieties) put out about a dozen apples from 2 varieties - good size. The long chill-hour one only produced 4 small apples from one variety out of four. The multi-graft cherry had about three bunches of cherries from 2 varieties (out of four). I moved the almond over spring of 2021 and it seemed to do better than the previous year but still not great. It flowered and I hand pollinated but no fruit materialized. The chestnut and three hazelnut bushes planted all died during the summer. Not sure what went wrong - critters digging tunnels to get at the water, excessive summer heat and no shade? I would really like to get some of these nut trees going - we do have a junior walnut tree on the property and get some nuts from the neighbor's overhang. The two avocados planted this spring also died this summer. Sounds like they could use a shady location and more regular watering than I provided.  Not sure I will plant those again after I found out you can make fake guacamole from squash.

Berries:  Started out with 9 raspberry plants, 3 blueberry, 4 blackberry and 2 boysenberry. Lost 7 of the raspberries, all 3 of the blueberries and the blackberry bushes hung in there but the fruit fried. Reckon they also need summer shade so will try that next year.

I started nearly all the veggies from seed this year - some from saved seeds and others from our local organic nursery. From what I learned this year, I need to start earlier with cool weather crops to get them up to a good size before transplanting, and intend to make soil blocks and use some living soil in the planting mix to lessen transplant shock. Lettuces, collards and kale did well. I had several broccoli plants get huge and give a few heads here and there - mostly a waste of space - will only plant one or two next time. Parsley from the prior year flourished after the winter and became really big. Beets, radishes and carrots did not do well. Potatoes also so-so (these were sprouted from organic potatoes from the grocery store - will try seed potatoes next time). Peas were okay but not as prolific as hoped.

Summer veggies: I was struggling with mole and/or vole tunnels throughout the beds and decided to rework several by adding hardware cloth (1/4" mesh) to the bottoms and around the top to deter the critters (including the young cats we acquired) so was late with transplanting. I also built the soil up in layers with garden soil, mulch, and green manure from the previous year, along with biochar (washed residue from burn piles) and rock phosphate. I definitely saw a difference in the health and size of the plants compared to the previous year when I only added compost and a little nitrogen to the top of the garden soil - learned a lot about living soil this past year). Except for the squash, most of the plants went dormant during the excessive heat so didn't harvest much of anything except for acorn squash and a few cherry tomatoes until September. Since then it's been a daily harvest of roma-type tomatoes (seed came from store tomatoes), tricolor cherry tomatoes, tomatillos, tricolor pole beans, and butternut squash. Have gotten modest amounts of lima beans - will try a shorter season type next time since they seem to take forever. Also harvested a few pepperoncini, green peppers, eggplant and okra pods. Not sure any of those would be worth growing again. Still waiting on spaghetti squash that I planted later than the rest to ripen. Had two crookneck squash plants and one zucchini and only got a few from each - never seem to do well with zucchini... powdery mildew took over a while back - probably need to plant them further apart, for starters. I did trellis the beans, tomatoes, and butternut squash with fairly good results.

Fall/winter veggies:  Started new lettuce, kale, collard, carrot and radish seeds in September. Lettuce is doing well; radish so-so, carrots are barely growing and had to restart kale and collard. Added cilantro seeds in October and those have come up well - bought a large packet so I didn't stint. Decided that I will try and order bulk seed packets of carrots to see if that improves the odds. Also planted shallot and garlic cloves. Think I have too much garlic and not enough shallots but maybe I can acquire some more of the latter.
 
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I sure hope Lisa Brunette managed to get that insect out of her back left jar of pickles before she canned them. Or are these protein infused pickles? :-)
 
pollinator
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Chris Whitehouse wrote:

Chickpeas were another experiment which were fun, but not very productive, also labour intensive to harvest. Maybe if I had a lot more space? But I also wondered about eating them green, the odd nibble seemed quite tasty. Has anyone tried them like that?

Happy growing everyone.



Green garbanzos in the pod are a seasonal delicacy in the Mexican markets here.  You can either steam them or toast them in a dry pan until you see some black spots on the pods.  You eat just the pea, and discard the pod like edamame.
 
Molly Gordon
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[quote=Johanna Sol

I found out you can make fake guacamole from squash.


Really?! Intrigued. Recipe, please.

Mildew on zucchini: very much of a problem here in Mid Atlantic because so humid in summer. Had mildew both on the leaves and the zukes. Figured out a neat trick this year because I planted too close together as well. Last year my zuke plants were wimpy and struggling. Discovered soil here needs a good sprinkling of lime each year. After adding lime to my garden this year, the zuke plants were massive with huge leaves. Even though I planted far apart, that made for not enough air space between plants and lots of mildewed leaves and wasted fruit.

Stumbled onto trimming off leaves for better airflow because I was removing the mildewed leaves as they looked bad and no need for the plant to support them. Was shocked how much better the plant grew almost immediately, and how little mildew there was thereafter. After that, anytime a leaf showed the tiniest bit of mildew, I cut it off down at the stalk. Soon I learned to trim a lot of the leaves off ahead of time--maybe only leaving a quarter of the leaves on the plant. If airflow ok, leave the leaves on. If a multi leaf, poor area of the plant, thin out. My neighbors gardens finished 2+ months ago. I'll still be harvesting the last of the zucchini until frost next week. The main stalks of my two remaining zuke plants look like some large, weird, curling snake crawling on the ground. The stalks are about 3.5 feet long, 5 inches wide, gnarly, bare, and pretty ugly--but I'm savoring the last of my beautiful baby zucchini out at the tips! In fact, they are still blossoming...as we creep towards Halloween and freezing weather.

A few other things that really helped were that I really, really built up high mounds when planting, and pounded them down pretty good before seeding so they wouldn't sink to ground level after the first watering, and so that there was good drainage, And, I bit the bullet and thinned to one plant per mound (like the seed packet tells you) so less overcrowding. Also watered that area by hand and only when needed to keep the moisture down which = less chance of mildew.

All of those changes made a world of difference. Still don't think zukes here produce as much as they did when we lived in California. Not sure what the difference is; perhaps the oppressive cucumber beetles. Also seemed like more male than female flowers so may be changing my seed company.
 
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Hi, This year tomatoes did very poorly- too wet , most greens did well, cucumbers ok- got a couple of small personal size cantalopes, I also experminted with fall and spring planting of potatoes- the fall planted ones were much bigger-came up later than the spring planted ones- Am  going to fall plant potatoes again and add some onions as well. Tried fall planted carrots/ parsnips both failed- no carrots this year. Acorn squash was great , got 12 big ones from a small planting. I was planning to put in more fall greens and try carrots again when a very large pine tree fell on the garden-missed the cold frame which is good- I have chard/spinach/vit and onions /parsley and rosemary in there. Now I have an abundance of wood chips to work with and a new garden gate. And 1 mystery squash-it is the size of a football with cream skin and green patches- haven't picked it yet the vine is still healthy so will wait a little longer to harvest.
 
gardener
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My squash did too well in stone areas of my garden making it hard to get to some of my veggies! But the squash helped keep the soil moist and now that the squash has died, I have found veggies that I completely forgot about and are doing good, like broccoli and leeks. Still I think that next year the squash is going to be planted a little farther away.

This year I learned that I cannot go on vacation at the end of July! When I left, everything was growing politely but I came back to a jungle that I couldn't walk through! Also learned that I need to get all my trellises and staking in place in the spring even though I don't need it until midsummer because when it's 98° outside, I have no motivation to go drive stakes in the ground. So I had a wonderful crop of tomatoes that was very hard to harvest because they were all laying on the ground.

I am extremely pleased with my tomatillos. I planted De Milpa purple tomatillos three years ago. Ever since then, I don't have to start them myself. They just pop up like weeds and I pull some out of the ground and move them where I want them to grow. The purple tomatillos are small, maybe like a small plum. This year I had an interesting surprise of a few plants that grew giant baseball sized tomatillos. I'm not really sure where they came from, if it's a genetic throwback or what.

My goal for next year is to get better at growing root crops like beets and carrots. I can't for the life of me grow more than a random handful of carrots even if I get hundreds to germinate. I HATE it when I see an article or book on beginning gardening that says that carrots are an easy crop to grow. It's like a slap in the face!

Also I'm growing garlic for the first time and I'm excited about getting to eat scapes. It's been over a decade since I last had some. And I'm excited about where I sourced my half a dozen varieties I'm trying. I reached out to my local community and was able to trade some zucchini and some seeds for the garlic. And I made some new friends!
 
Chris Whitehouse
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(Green garbanzos in the pod are a seasonal delicacy in the Mexican markets here.  You can either steam them or toast them in a dry pan until you see some black spots on the pods.  You eat just the pea, and discard the pod like edamame.)

Thanks for the tip, sounds worth a try….
 
pollinator
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Well I scaled back a lot this year due to my shoulder not really working (hopeful they can fix it for next year but not optimistic)

What went well;
Strawberries as always really well done to the strawberries MVP of my garden, though the two new types I tried, are a no go, they taste really nice, but produce 1/4 of the amount the bugs also think they are the best.
Newly planted raspberries produced an unexpected crop and a good set of new canes for next year
Spaghetti squash, 95 squash from 6 plants! they did rather too well
Leeks bought the plants and had an excellent crop, will try again with home started ones next year.



What failed;
Onions they were at the edge of the field and suffered from the trees being to close (5m ish) very small onions were the result with a noticeable size increase the further from the trees they were.
Squash. yes those self same spaghetti squash, I planted 25 plants, 19 were eaten on the first night by slugs. Apparently that was a lucky thing.
Broccoli, it grew beautifully huge heads and then the butterflies found it, they ate every single leaf and all the heads, think of a broccoli plant, cut all the leaves off about 4 inches from the stem and then take the knife over the head and leave only 1/2 inch stumps.
Carrots, the weeds got ahead of me, but even then we got ok finger sized carrots, but the carrot fly found them so 0 edible carrots.

Special cases
I tried Ruth Stout potatoes, laid compost down, potatoes and then covered in straw, they grew and produced, they produced around half the amount of the potatoes with the same compost but planted in trenches. However if you can't do the digging these were better than no potatoes. As a nice side bonus there are very few weeds on the straw even now, just a few creeping thistle coming up from below.
Broccoli mulching. when I planted the broccoli I spread about an inch of lawn clippings round half the row. Weeds did come up but probably about 1/10 of the number that came up in the un-mulched row. However it still took longer to weed than the unmulched as I couldn't use a hoe

Next year I need to make sure I get the insect netting over the carrots (a very fine net against carrot fly) and over the cabbages (butterfly netting) My garlic was not great, it was ok but nothing special, I'm trying some mulching this year half will be mulched with lawn clippings which is about 50/50 grass and beech leaves and half with pretty rotted woodchip, lets see the result. I will also try the grass clipping mulch again but thicker.
 
gardener
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Tomatoes!  I have never had tomatoes fail on me but this year mine got a very late start and the weather turned dry.  I got a few, but most just failed to ripen.

Eric
 
Mk Neal
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Snap peas and leeks did better than usual. We had longer milder spring than usual.

Red currants and grapes ad a bumper harvest.

Plums still don't fruit. If I keep them it will just be for the pretty flowers.

My acorn squash was very productive, yet so far not as tasty as past years of same variety.  So not sure if I would call this a good or a bad year for them.

I got some chinese stem lettuce starts at a plant exchange and was very pleased with them. Tasty, tender vegetable and I even got two harvests out of each plant because stems regrow. I saved some seeds and will grow it again.
 
pollinator
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This year there was one thing after another that delayed planting. Most of my stuff didn't get planted until halfway through the growing season. Needless to say, that had a huge impact on my crops.

"Bigger Better Butternut" squash is still a winner. It was one of 2 varieties that produced anything before frost.

"Goldini Zucchini" was almost a winner. It produced beautifully. But it's pretty obvious the farmer that produced those seeds had been ignoring things like isolation distances! Of the 8 plants that grew, 2 were crossed with what looks like a delicata, 2 were green, and one is the right color, but is so short and squat that I suspect it may have crossed with a pumpkin or acorn squash. However, they all had a good flavor, and produced quickly and well under rather unfavorable conditions. I haven't decided yet if I want to select for plants that are true to type and try to repurify the variety, or leave it as-is and call it a grex. Or just go back to my pumpkin project and leave the zucchini out entirely? I have a few months to decide.

Cucumbers, melons, bitter melons, watermelons, and 3 other varieties of squash all failed. Some died right away, some struggled a while before dying, and some grew but couldn't produce anything.

Using dwarf marigolds as a cover crop between the squash worked well. Using chia did not. In past years when I planted chia, it never grew more than a few inches tall. This year it was as tall as me. Great in places where there weren't other crops planted, but lousy as a living mulch.

My potatoes needed more growing time, but the technique I tried worked well. This year I placed the seed potatoes on top of the ground, covered them in 4-5 inches of straw, and then laid mesh fencing over top to hold the straw down. My farm has extremely high winds to deal with, so leaving the straw uncovered wasn't an option, and using landscaping fabric just turns into a kite. The mesh worked. I was able to harvest by rolling back the mesh and sifting through the broken-down layer of straw. Definitely doing that again! I may even try it with other root crops like garlic or sunchokes.

Part of my garden this year was planted with field peas as a weed suppressant. While that worked fairly well, it was the planting technique that was different enough to copy. Seeds were scattered on top of the ground, then run over with the tiller. This cut planting time down to 1/20th of what it had been, and resulted in stronger growth as well. I'm seriously considering planting most of my crops that way next year. It will mean nothing is in rows, but I can't hoe the rows anyway. And if I interplant them with shorter, denser plants, they should be able to outgrow the weeds well enough on their own. At any rate, that's how I'm planting winter rye this time.

(Yes, I know, permies are "supposed to be" no-till. But no-till doesn't work for me right now.)
 
pollinator
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Due to a pinched nerve, a lot was neglected. Still there was good and bad.  Part way through season I started tracking how much I harvested. It was encouraging and depressing because I know I lot of things “should” have done better.  Getting ready to run my totals on November 1st.

Blueberries did well.  I know it was over 60 pounds.  Also great was okra and chard.  I got about a dozen squash which sounds bad but was my best total in 4 or 5 years! I found the golden zucchini did better early on and I just started getting the regular kind last month. Squash bugs and borers…I hate to say I had SIX squash plants.

Caterpillars annihilated Brussels sprouts. Kept spraying with soapy hot pepper stuff my husband looked up. The survivors didn’t turn into normal sprouts but some odd looking cabbagey things. Taste fine but weird because I keep expecting to taste cabbage not sprouts.

Tried scarlet runner beans which were a failure. Regular greens not too great this year either.  Cucumbers were odd twisty things but also more than last year. Lettuces so so. Potatoes pretty poor. Cherry tomatoes did well but regular ones were sadly sparse.

Got two plums for first time from trees planted last year. Lost 90% grapes to black mold.

First year with bees.  Learned you can raise a bunch of bees OR get honey.  On bright side, we have 4 hives now.

 
pollinator
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Despite the ridiculous heat, my garden did well. Plenty of sweet corn, tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers (so many cucumbers), green beans, eggplant and peppers. Winter squash were a problem, I had so many volunteers that I didn't know what was what. I ended up with mostly tasteless pumpkins but the chickens enjoyed them. I grew garbanzo beans but don't feel like they are worth the effort. I actually wasn't impressed with them green. Favas are a better bet for me. I can overwinter them and I love them green. Cruciferous vegetables are growing now, along with beets, fennel, lettuce, collards, radishes.

Underplanting the sweet corn with cucurbits worked great. The cucurbits loved the shading from the corn, and they in turn shade the soil which helped greatly in the heat.
 
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This is my first year basically. (previous years I was just casually growing cherry tomatoes + herbs & not composting). I'm in suburban Toronto zone 6.

Pests

Slugs: I didn't notice much in the spring. We did have a dry spring, maybe that's why? But in September and October they were out in full force destroying all my attempts at growing cool weather crops for the fall. Brassicas, Asian greens, mustard greens, spinach, lettuce, rutabagas, turnips, claytonia, maybe even umbellifers got heavily targeted. Seems like they leave corn salad greens alone though, as well as turnip/chard varieties and Malabar spinach. Might try using yeast based slug traps more next year.

Cabbage Worms: Not strictly necessary to use row covers, but if you don't, you have to check on them multiple times per week to keep them in check, maybe even daily when the seedlings are small. Small seedlings can get wiped out very quickly, mature plants will recover, they'll just take a bit longer to reach maturity. Seems cabbage worms don't target mature brassicas as much either, they seem to prefer the more tender seedlings.

Squash Vine Borer: When I first saw that pretty little red moth flying around and didn't know what it was, I thought it was cute. Well it is, but I also wound up with multiple squash vine borer larvae in all my summer squash, resulting in a halting of production in early August, almost 3 months before my first frost. I'll try wrapping their stems in aluminum foil during the vine borer egg laying period (June to early July), and have some back up plants ready to go into the ground in late July/early August.

Cucumber beetles: Sigh... really made growing cucumbers difficult. I got a brief crop in mid-late July but that was pretty much it. I did save seeds from the one plant that survived the onslaught. I'll probably dedicate less space to cucumbers next year though. They caused problems for my cantaloupe too. Might look into bacterial wilt resistant varieties. Cucamelon didn't have any issues with that and tastes fairly similar to cucumbers.

Rabbits and voles: Not sure which did the most damage, but the tops of my umbellifers (except parsnip), my lettuces, salsify, beans, peanut and pea plants all took heavy damage. Brassicas took some damage too. Will need to grow these vulnerable plants in areas protected with hardware cloth next year.

Cut worms: Not too bad, they don't seem to climb raised beds, so just need to be careful that tomatoes, beans, peppers, okra and such planted in non-raised beds have some cut-worm collars for the first couple weeks until their stems get thick enough not to be a target. Having mulch rather than grass between my beds should help too.

Grasshoppers: Not a huge deal but they were targeting my okra and peppers. Didn't kill them or stunt them too much, but I did get some chewing damage.

Aphids: there were a tiny bit on my peppers and eggplant, but after spraying the first bunch off with water, lady bug larvae quickly took care of any that came back.

Japanese beetles: Somewhat of an issue for beans and okra in mid-summer but then they disappeared? Maybe they have a short season or maybe predators moved in?

Flea beetles: They were pretty aggressive on my tomatoes and ground cherries, but the plants were able to withstand the damage and the flea beetles were gone by late summer, so no big deal.

Carrot fly: did some damage to radish roots, but still had a decent amount that were undamaged, so not too bad. Apparently alliums deter them somewhat? I had some chives nearby, but maybe not enough.

My philosophy with pests is that if they only destroy a minority of a particular type of crop, I can tolerate that. If they destroy a majority then I will try one more time and take measures to protect them that next year (ex hardware cloth, companion planting, cutworm collards) but if it's too much work, or the crop still ends up low yielding or tasting the same as at the grocery store, then I'll just grow something else.


Other lessons learned

Tilling/turning the soil way too much. This was when I was just getting started in April/May. Gardening guides recommended it but now I'll just top-dress with compost and otherwise just leave the soil as is.

Don't be worried about weeds as much - roots in the ground are not a bad thing, I just need to make sure they don't overtake my crops and don't go to seed, otherwise no need to fuss.

Not paying enough attention to changing sunlight across seasons. Some locations in my garden that were full sun in summer were basically full shade in fall, as the sun got low enough to be blocked by my house's roof, fences, trees, etc. Even if that doesn't happen, it seems shorter daylight hours and increased cloudiness in fall results in slower growth. Taking these factors into account will mean planting things in different locations as well as planting them earlier if I want to have a fall garden of cool weather crops to harvest in Nov-Dec. On the flipside, some crops will definitely grow faster in mid-summer warmth than in spring, even a lot of brassicas and peas (mid-summer is mostly just 70-90F here though).

Starting more crops indoors. Mostly I kind of improvised this year and started a lot of things late, including some warm weather crops as late as July. I'll try to have all my warm weather crops ready to go in the ground by mid May to early June (depending on their tolerance to 33-50F temperatures), and also start things like chard and brassicas indoors to transplant in mid-April or so.

Plan ways to have food to eat across more of the year. I had a lot in August and September, but not much before then, and not as much as I'd like from October onwards either.

Don't let my tomatoes and beans get too jungle like. I thought by growing them vertically that would provide enough air circulation. But our summers are very humid and those plants all got very big with massive amounts of foliage so by late August powdery mildew, bean rust and other issues were beginning to spread, resulting in significantly reduced yields by late September. So I'll prune my tomatoes more, and avoid sandwiching the pole beans between the fence and tomatoes. Just have either tomatoes or pole beans along the fence and then shorter plants in front.

More perennials: Hoping to try rhubarb, skirret, egyptian walking onion, welsh onion, raspberry, jerusalem artichoke, hablitzia taminoides, hardy figs, strawberries and maybe currant, crosnes, peach, haskap and cinnamon vine (in addition to Saskatoon berry, perennial herbs and sorrel that I already have) next year.

I also want to try new varieties of annuals (new as in I didn't grow them this year). Strawberry blite, salad burnet, roselle, bulbous chervil, mizuna, kale, tomatillo, snake bean, lima beans, leeks, achira, sweet potato, oca, yacon, and maybe mashua.



Successful crops I'll definitely keep growing

Radishes: easy and fast to mature. Plus not that cheap and I like them. You can grow them between other plants, ex between tomatoes and peppers, and by the peppers take up the full 1-2ft you allocated to them, the radishes will have already been harvested.

Summer squash: despite the trouble I had with vine borers, I still got good yields in early summer. I won't bother growing them vertically this time however, especially not the vegetable marrow since those are meant to get very big and need to rest on the ground.

Tomatoes: Cherry tomatoes are really easy to grow and although my harvest got cut short by mildew, I still got 2 good months of fruit from them. Slicing tomatoes work well too, but need a bit more sun it seems. Can't really tell much of a difference between varieties taste wise, I think picking them ripe and growing them in good soil is the main reason they'll taste better than from grocery stores.

Peppers: Produced well from early July to early October, and never got any disease issues. What's not to like? Potted plants can be moved indoors to produce for at least an extra month.

Eggplants: Produced well from late July to late October, also no disease issues and can continue pushing out fruit a bit longer indoors if the plants are in pots. Both peppers and eggplants did better in pots, although that might just be because the pots were in sunnier locations than the in-ground plants.

Okra: Produced well from August to late September. Hoping to maybe extend the season a bit earlier and later by hand pollinating on cool days (seems they don't produce as much pollen in less ideal weather), and trying more cool tolerant and earlier maturing varieties.

Bok Choy: It's cool enough that they don't bolt that much. Honestly I think they bolted more because my soil was tilled rather than heat, because they "unbolted" in August even though August was warmer than July. Some of them also germinated right around the time of our last frost, which I think can cause bolting. Should be careful to plant brassicas after frost risk (probably start them indoors).

Cucamelon: Grows vigourously until frost, matures fast, resistant to disease... Only thing is the fruit can be a bit hard to find under all the foliage if you don't trellis it and allow to just grow as a huge mass on the ground.

Malabar Spinach: Grows well in the summer, and yields well too. No issues with pests/disease.

Ground Cherry: Grows like a weed... So pick a location where they won't smother anything (they kind of smothered my eggplant). Many people recommend waiting for them to fall onto the ground since that's how you know they're ripe. But voles will eat them off the ground real quick, so I recommend picking them off the plant when they're almost ready, and then let them ripen indoors for a few days or longer (they store for weeks at room temp). Give them a few days to ripen indoors and they'll be much sweeter and fruitier tasting than if you eat them off the ground.

Basil: really tasty and easy to grow in large quantities, can grow in part shade. Just need to figure out what disease they got, or else maybe have a 2nd succession ready to plant in mid-summer.

Green beans: so much better than at the store if you pick them small and tender, and you can get great yields in small spaces. You can succession/relay plant bush beans among spring crops for your first harvest of green beans around 2 months after sowing, then pole beans can take over in the later parts of summer and into fall. Just grow the pole beans in a way that'll make them easy to access when you pick them (so arch trellises are probably the best way to grow them).

Peas: soooo much better compared to store bought ones. Rabbits have been giving me a really hard time getting much yield, but I like them enough that I'll try and figure out some way to protect them properly.
 
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Successes include lettuce which kept two households supplied, went to seed and now is giving me a bumper crop of fall lettuce.  Sweet peppers were an abysmal failure last year do to the supposedly dwarf marigolds outgrowing them. Gave them a bed of their own, a top dressing of composted chicken manure and have had my best harvest yet.  Beans did well as usual except the Kentucky Wonder pole beans were bush beans instead, so the trellis I prepared for them was useless.  Beets did amazing!  I tried Charles Dowding's method of multi-sown transplants and was very successful.  Peas did well and I have a surprise fall crop from the compost pile.  Radishes did excellent!

Failures or stuff that didn't grow as well as expected include spinach which I planted under row cover yet the slugs found their way underneath and I was lucky to get 1/2 lb. before it bolted.  Tomatoes did horrible this year compared to last which had me harvesting up until frost.  On the other hand my mom had her best tomato year ever using my transplants.  Onions did okay as I tried the multi-sown transplants with them as well but I messed up by moving them to the cold frame too early because I needed the room inside.  Cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli were failures as well as I couldn't keep ahead of the worms.  Lima beans were a big disappointment as out of a four foot row I had two seeds germinate in two plantings.  Soil was warm when I planted so either I had a bad batch of seed or need to try transplanting next time.  Garlic was a big failure as I planted more than I harvested.  Corn was so-so as I did manage to harvest a few ears and it did considerably better than last year but nothing to brag about.  Potatoes didn’t do near as well this year as last and kale was constantly eaten by worms until the last month.  I received eight seeds of an heirloom bean from the university and they did poorly. However I was able to harvest some seed and have more than I started with.  Cucumbers and squash did better than last year but nothing spectacular.

What I'll do different next year:  Start onion seed a bit earlier and make sure I have room for them inside.  Start the tomato transplants a few weeks later as I ended up with some leggy transplants by sowing too early.  Keep up with the cabbage worms by using netting or Bt.  Keep better records as I weighed and kept track of everything last year and didn't keep up with it this year.  I'll not let the volunteer tomatoes take over a bed again.  I had some seedlings that survived frost and let too many of them grow.  They were a cherry variety and I saved seed from a few simply because of the cold tolerance but the overcrowding not only affected the tomato production but the production of the other crops in that bed.

Observations from this year:  The bed that had the worst yield last year grew a stellar beet and lettuce crop but a poor onion crop this year.  It was the last bed to be constructed last year and I gave it an ample covering of compost last fall.  The three beds that had nitrogen deficiencies last year did really well this year.  The pepper bed was one of those.  Onions grown in one of those beds did great!  Those three beds also received an ample covering of compost.  One new bed built this year and it has produced amazingly except for the lima beans.

The big change for next year will be the greenhouse.   I bought/bartered for the metal frame of an 8' x 12' outbuilding and after many phone calls and frustrations,  it was finally delivered last week.  The guy threw in an extra section which means I can extend it to 14' or space them 3' apart and extend to 21'.  The big issue right now is deciding where to place it and determining if I have enough used lumber for the base.  Leaning towards channel and wiggle wire to secure the plastic and running top rail chain link rail at the peak instead of lumber as I originally intended.  Hubby has removed most of the screws that were in the frame and now needs to grind off any sharp edges.  I think it will work out but also think I'd have been better off going the PVC route and saving for a bigger greenhouse.  When it's complete I plan to have one or two beds inside and enough table area for transplants.  

There's not a crop that I've completely gave up on yet and hopefully I'll find the right conditions to be successful in the future.  My beds are home to several different crops as well.  For instance the bed I refer to as my pepper bed also grew beets and radishes.  Actually beets were placed between larger plants just about anywhere I could find room.  
 
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I am genuinely happy to see so many successful gardens! My tiny little hugel has managed to NOT grow anything but scrawny tomatoes for the 2nd year running. I think I need to learn about pH for next year... I did , however, accidentally grow a huge number of inedible little grey mushrooms. I guess that's a step in the right direction?
 
Inge Leonora-den Ouden
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Thomas Copley wrote:I am genuinely happy to see so many successful gardens! My tiny little hugel has managed to NOT grow anything but scrawny tomatoes for the 2nd year running. I think I need to learn about pH for next year... I did , however, accidentally grow a huge number of inedible little grey mushrooms. I guess that's a step in the right direction?


Maybe try growing something completely different next year? If inedible mushrooms grow there, you could try edible mushrooms (I don't know how to grow them).
 
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Nicolas Derome wrote:Cucumber beetles: Sigh... really made growing cucumbers difficult. I got a brief crop in mid-late July but that was pretty much it. I did save seeds from the one plant that survived the onslaught. I'll probably dedicate less space to cucumbers next year though. They caused problems for my cantaloupe too. Might look into bacterial wilt resistant varieties. Cucamelon didn't have any issues with that and tastes fairly similar to cucumbers.

We have had issues with cucumber beetles and powdery mildew with every cucumber variety we've grown here in Michigan (also zone 6). This year I planted lemon cucumbers, and they did very well! No disease issues or pest issues, so they may be worth a try in your area as well.

I'm not sure if there would be any issues sending them across the border, but if you want me to mail you some (free) seeds I saved from my harvest, I would be more than happy to!
 
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I live in the cool Maritime PNW.

I tried growing sweet potatoes for the first time, a couple varieties, and one was particularly prolific so I'll be replanting that next year.

Eggplants and beans did great!

Jalapenos did ok, didn't really get enough for pickling, which is what I wanted to do with them.

Corn was again meager. I should probably stop trying to grow it.

Peas did well.

Carrots and beets did great, but for some reason I didn't get any parsnips.

Radicchio did great!

A few kale perennialized so were big and bushy.

Summer squash did very well even being planted to densely. The pumpkin didn't produce anything though.

The tomatoes did well as usual, but shriveled up when we stopped watering them in late summer. Very dry summer.

I grew a few new varieties of potatoes and they all did well. Red, yellow, white fingerling, and blue fingerling.

Garlic was small because we didn't get around to cutting the scapes. Made a fair amount of garlic oil though that should last us for most of the year. Next year I'm trying a soft neck variety since we don't really eat the scapes.

We had lots of reseeding lettuce, miners lettuce and chard as usual. Some are coming up now.

Had sooty aphids on some of my favas. Sowed a lot for next year and plan to select for a resistant large seeded variety.

First year for my asparagus and it came up strongly.

My rhubarb did ok, but it's never grown as big here as the ones at my childhood home did.

Good King Henry, silverweed, and sea kale grew strongly.

Lots of figs and pomegranates! Not so many of my other fruit but that's probably due to some hard pruning I did last year. It looks like we'll get a good amount of cherries and pears next year.
 
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Tomatoes grew really well this year, I even had volunteers from last year make themselves known. I usually grow tomatoes pretty well, but this year was incredible. Peppers did all right, as did some flowers.

Next year I plan on planting less and father apart. Powdery mildew and cutworms took out all of the zucchini and squashes (didn't have that issue in 2020.) I will also do more companion planting; the tomatoes seem to have benefitted from this, but next year I will do more intercropping. I will also see about how to best accommodate my physical issues. I'd like to be able to 'do more' with comparable 'less effort' as my arthritis, osteoarthritis have gotten worse, as well as fatigue problems.

I will just plan on each year learning from the one before; I've learned a lot from these past two years.
 
Kate Downham
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It’s lovely to hear from you all : )

A few things I learned last year:
• Freckles lettuce grows really well for me and I enjoy using it in the kitchen - a bit of red lettuce taste and a bit of green lettuce taste in one lettuce. Last year I grew it as a cut and come again, and got two or three harvests out of it. I had pretty much no irrigation for half the season and it seemed more tolerant of neglect than other lettuces I’ve tried.

• I wish I’d made ripping up the radish weed a priority last year, because this year there are seedlings popping up all over the garden. I like to do a lot of direct seeding, so this is very annoying as it’s easy to confuse with other brassicas. At the end of the day, this is all happening in my chicken tractor garden, so it all turns to chicken food and is not quite as bad as in a garden without chickens, just less vegetables and more weeding for me.

• Principe Borghese tomato produced reasonably well in a rainy overcast summer. I grew ‘gold nugget’ which is usually the earliest here, but principe borghese ended up being earlier in these conditions. This is now my staple tomato to grow, as it seems to go well here no matter what the conditions are.

Some new things this year:
• Lots more perennials! I planted lots of fruit trees and shrubs in spring. The one comfrey plant that was really thriving I divided up and replanted with the fruit trees, along with some daffodils and snowdrops we found growing on part of our land, and some seeds of helpful weedy plants. In autumn I’d ordered a bunch of heritage fruit trees which arrived late in winter. I enjoyed getting these planted so much that I’ve just been filling more and more in of our fenced garden area with lots of berries and other perennials from the nursery, as well as trying to start quite a few different things as seeds in pots (hopefully we’ll have some good results with this).

• More helpful weeds - I am taking seeds from the best dandelions and carefully sprinkling them where useful weeds are wanted. Also I can see plantain going to seed, so I’ll do the same for that. Yarrow has done really well here in other years, so I will sprinkle more seed deliberately in places as well as transplanting clumps of it around. I’m trying to get some mullein and nettle started, not sure if they will come up for me or not.

• New zone 2 crop garden. My husband has been working hard this winter and spring doing a wildlife-proof fence and clearing a new patch around 1/6th of an acre in size. This will eventually be managed by chickens in electric net fencing in four separate patches, but we’re a bit late for it this year. For now I’ve started with potatoes, and will be doing some small grains, roots, and maybe corn/beans/squash/kale. There’s still a lot of clearing to do, so we might not get the whole area planted this year, but it’s exciting to have more space to work with.

This year my priorities are:
Staple crops that grow well and feed us without much fuss - potatoes, Red Russian kale, turnips
Trials for future staple crops - Khorasan grain, hull-less oats, hull-less barley, wheat, a few types of maize corn, buckwheat, attempts at growing more root vegetables and cabbage
Summer salads - mesclun, lettuce (freckles, and cos), tokyo bekana
Lots of greens - mustard greens, salads, kale, etc
Some extra bits and pieces - tomatoes, beans, pumpkin/squash, zucchini etc
More seed saving
 
Kate Downham
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fisher hall wrote:Good question..I'm new here @ St Helens from the "big island" so I'm interested in what works here, and for you and others too



Welcome to Permies, and to Tasmania!

St Helens is a lovely place.

This planting calendar is a good one for Tasmania: https://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2008/07/07/2296755.htm
 
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