Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Moving on: end of 2011 re-cap

It's taken me a while to feel like publishing anything here.  I almost felt I was betraying Tubby by usurping his spot.  Then again, if I'm not going to continue to publish stuff I might as well shut down the blog, and I don't want to do that.  Life does go on.

Garden: 2011 - New stuff!
Rain barrels!  I set up all 4 and it was trial and error for a lot of them.  I'm still unsure of the best way to utilize the water they collect, I think we wasted more water than we needed to because we did not have distribution points in place.  For the first year, I thought we did well.

I harvested a whole ton of eggplants from the garden.  The crop did so well and I'm going to plant them again. I made eggplant pizza, eggplant casserole and a bunch of spicy eggplant dip.  SO GOOD!  I haven't tried growing my own seedlings before and I was surprised at how well they did.  I'm going to do this again, possibly with the tomatoes and melons too.

I don't think I'm going to try the sweet peppers again.  Just a pathetic crop.  However the sweet mild peppers that I started from seeds went insane.  I don't know if I will grow that variety again, but if I grow peppers, I'll start my own.

The cauliflower was meh.  Not worth the effort or space in the garden.

The melons were really good, but the weather was so bizarre that they didn't have as much warm days as they needed, that and the critters got into them.  If I grow them again I'm going to trellis them so the fruit is off the ground. 

I transplanted raspberry plants from our neighbors and they took hold and produced 2 crops.  I'm fairly positive that they are ever bearing. Score!

The new raised beds in the front yard did very well, at least until the grubs took hold and killed off the squash and zucchini.  I'll need to address some pests next year.

I tried growing tomatoes in the herb bed and they did ok, but I heard that it was a weird year for tomatoes, too cool.  Despite that I'm planning on a new raised bed, which will be located along the chain link fence, near the clothes line.  Tim is annoyed that he has to mow around things in the back yard, but I mowed my fair share of the back yard this last year and it was not that bad. 

Kohlrabi: I planted this really late so it did not have enough time to really get going.  What did grow was lovely so I'm going to try that again in 2012, but start sooner.

Garden - Old stuff:
The apple tree went INSANE!  I canned over 60 quarts of applesauce.  I froze a few bags of apples, dried apple slices, made apple butter and apple jelly.  If we have an off year in 2012 I think we will be fine.  I had some apple juice that I was going make into jelly, but I left it too long in the fridge and it started to ferment.  I think I may try to find a cheap apple press (or rent one) and try making hard cider.  The stuff is ripe with wild yeast and with all the fallen apples that went into the compost we could have made gallons of cider. 

Beets did well, but I'm buying 2 packages of golden beets (along with the chiogga and ruby red) this year and I'm sprinkling them over the area instead of sowing them in rows.  I never have the heart to thin them so the rows get too bunched.  I only made 6 pints of pickled beets this year.  Sad.

The turnips did very well, but I may skip them this year.  I don't eat them enough to make it worth my while.  I still have turnips in the veggie drawer.

The rest of the garden did well, the rabbits found a way in and ate the beans towards the end, but the fence really staved off most pests.  Spraying the raspberries with water and a little Dawn did well to keep the Japanese beetles down, but I had to spray them almost every day.  Everything did well in their respective spaces and I chose to leave the watering rig up instead of stowing it away in the garage. It should still work come the spring. 

I'm toying with the idea of getting the sprinkler system inspected and seeing how much it would cost to get it working again.  If it's less than $300, it may be worth it.  I know at least one head needs to be replaced, and the fitting from the house line, but if the ground hoses are sound we could start using it again.  That would be a nice time saver, especially if we have a dry spring.

Now that it is almost March it's time to start thinking about the growing season.  I'm excited to see my native bed continue to thrive.  It was so lovely last year and I can't wait for this.  I'm worried that our lack of snow for most of the winter may effect it negatively, but what can you do.  There are still plenty of months left for it to snow.  I should be starting my seeds in the next few weeks.


JustGail said...

Welcome back, nice to see you writing again!

Rachel said...

We had a bad year with bell peppers last year too. If it is cutworms that are getting into your crops we had good luck with crushed egg shells last year. My mother uses tin cans around her crops too.