My produce is starting to come in--some tomatoes are turning red, I'm getting peppers, my leeks are getting bigger, and my butternut squash is coming in. My garden plots, however, look like a jungle, despite my best efforts. Here's what I'm going to try next year:
1) I might either use weed barrier or make containers/raised beds. I mulched with seaweed in one plot--and put down a very thick layer of the stuff--and I'm still getting weeds. They're not difficult to pull, granted, but compared to my father's garden with his leaf mulch and very few weeds and I'm just discouraged. I pull them and they come right back. Ugh. I may at least use weed barrier with certain crops--like tomato and basil and butternut squash, since those seem to be the hardest hit areas for whatever reason.
2) Cage the tomatoes and the peppers. I tried stakes this year but they were a big fail--the plants are growing more horizontally and the stakes I got aren't as thick as they need to be. If I do stake them, I'll dig the stakes in as soon as I plant the tomatoes and peppers and tie them. My father did this with his tomatoes (he also used very tall and sturdy stakes that he dug about a foot into the ground) and they are pretty neatly laid out.
3) Figure out how to vanquish vine borers. They destroyed the zucchini plants.
4) Figure out why my cucumber plants are toast.
5) Plant more flowers--probably around the edge of the plot at the work garden, and put pots of flowers around the edge of the container garden in my town. Pollinators are good things.
6) Trellis more plants. I may try growing melons on a trellis, or try trellising the winter squash next year. That will keep a cooler part for leafy greens to grow.