The 2016 garden is well underway already both indoors and out. In the meantime, here is a pictorial review of last year’s kitchen garden.
*CLICK ON ANY PICTURE FOR LARGER VIEW and/or SLIDESHOW:
- Less kale, more chard! To Try: (1) Start Swiss chard earlier indoors. (2) EAT the baby kale after thinning plants instead of giving in to the temptation to transplant as many as possible.
- Need more lettuce. To Try: (1) Start seeds in trays, not just in ground–about every three weeks. (2) Start seeds indoors, perhaps, when it’s too hot out.
- Cucumbers were pathetic. I need a better plan for growing cucumbers and avoiding bacterial wilt. To Try: (1) “County Fair” is a disease resistant variety. (2) Succession planting (as suggested by Nancy K.): Mid-May – first planting; June 1 – plant two seeds in same spots; June 20 – two more seeds in same spots; end of July – again; end of Aug. – and again. (3) Keep the plants covered with insect barrier as long as possible.
- Using the bikes as cucumber trellises was a fun idea even though the cucumbers did not grow much. Spray painting the old trellises and using them in the tomato beds worked out well–added color plus support. To Try: Maybe I’ll paint the bikes completely chartreuse someday.
- Tomatoes had a very bad year–due more to cool weather, I believe, than to soil borne disease as I used a fresh batch of Rootshield this year. To Try: (1) Another fresh batch of Rootshield (has very bad shelf life). (2) Keep removing diseased branches and spraying with Serenade as before. (3) I’m also going to try planting at least one Iron Lady tomato to see how disease resistant it is.
- It’s time to repaint the shed. To Try: Do it in early spring when it’s easier to get to the side by the strawberry bed.
- I waited too long to plant my baby trees. To Try: Keep up and follow through with every step of the process if I graft more fruit trees. Put a pot or something down on planting spots to kill grass before planting trees in late summer or early fall.
- I planted a head of another kind of garlic (in addition to the Russian Red), which I got from one of the gardeners on the Downers Grove Organic Garden Club’s garden walk–Elephant Head garlic I think. To Try: Side by side taste tests, of course!
- Planting shallots in the salad bed was a success. TO TRY: (1) See if any of the harvested shallots held up well enough to plant this spring. (2) If not, buy more.
- The clump of amaranth in the asparagus bed looked good. TO TRY: (1) Decorate the back and sides with plates, (2) Make lamps for corners and other decorations from cobalt blue bottles.
- Good idea: Moving my sunflower ornament to the plant that was beheaded before its time by some critter.