Lessons Learned From 2012

Jerusalem artichoke needs its own bed. It will want to take over any bed it’s in, and it will make preparing the bed for the next season more complicated. And if all of it isn’t harvested, if any of the roots remain after harvesting, it will be the gift that keeps on giving.

I had the Jerusalem artichoke in the same bed as the peppers in 2012. I had no idea, when I decided to put it there, how really, really big it can get, and how much room the roots can take up. This year I’m trying an experiment to see if it can just grow on its own without my help, so I planted some in the wild area behind the house. It would be nice to be able to just go back there and dig some up as needed. I don’t know if that’s going to be possible,though, because when I was digging up some that has been in the ground since last year, I found that the roots were rather soft and pithy. So this might not work out at all. We’ll see.

It pays to stay one step ahead of any issues relating to funguses on plants. Things like mildews and molds will kill a plant eventually if they’re not stopped. This year I’m experimenting with different ways of dealing with that issue. Some of the smaller tomato starts have already started to develop spots that look like a fungus. I’m currently applying a baking soda solution to see if that helps. If that doesn’t work, I’ll try a solution made with asperin. And also the foliar feedings with the compost tea.

My garden makes monster sized plants. When I plan out the garden, I tend to plan for normal sized plants, and while the plants would have enough room if they were normal sized plants, they never are. So they end up being terribly overcrowded. This year I hope to come up with a plan that will avoid that problem. One of the changes this year from last year is to have the different layers much farther apart. While I had things growing vertically last year, they were not able to grow up high enough to not take up a lot of space close to the ground. They tended to grow up as far as the supports (which were woefully inadequate for the task) and then grow back down again. And then up again. The foliage was extremely dense in this situation, which made tending the plants very difficult and also resulted in poor ventilation for the plants.

I have much better plans for an arbor this year, and I hope to begin building soon. I’ll only be building part of it this year (a compromise with my husband, who wants to see if it will work properly before building the whole thing), but if I plan well, I think I can arrange it so that the plants most in need of support will fit on the arbor.

I will never, ever, ever grow currant tomates again. Not ever. The plants want to take over the whole garden and the fruit is not really all that good to eat. I thought I would grow them to help provide shade last year, but that was a huge mistake. They just took up a lot of room and made it difficult to properly tend to the other tomatoes. I think the Napa grape tomatoes will also tend to take up a lot of room, but at least the fruits are wonderful. Hopefully the Napa grape tomatoes will be growing on the arbor.

Bug gardens need to be planted before the people gardens. The bugs need to get established in their own garden before the people garden becomes attractive to the bugs. I don’t know if doing this will prevent bugs from becoming a problem in the people garden this year, but I know from last year that the bugs won’t show interest in a second garden if they’ve already become established in the first garden, until the first garden stops providing the bugs with what they want.

Dill likes to wander around the garden, coming up in different places each year. Tarragon does this to a lesser degree, but in the case of tarragon, it’s more like spreading than moving around. But the dill never seems to want to come up in the same place two years in a row.

A greenhouse is a wonderful garden tool. The benefits of having the greenhouse this year and knowing how to use it (unlike last year when I hadn’t a clue) are really too numerous to list. But one I will mention – some of the tomato plants that I have in containers that I started in the winter are bearing tomatoes very, very early.

This entry was posted in Method, Outside Garden and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s