Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Notes for next year's garden

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.


  1. Cucumbers are often badly affected by mosaic viruses.

    I've never tried to use weed barriers, although by the look of them I'm sure they work wonders!

    My tomatoes rapidly outgrew their stakes and are all floppy and useless now! I have propped them up and they're just starting to fruit, so that's good, but I'll have to hunt through the tangle of shoots to find anything now!!

    I will be using tubs next year because our new flat has a pebbled garden. Dad reckons that'll be good for keeping the heat in though, although I will have to be careful with keeping them watered.

    It's a great idea to keep a journal of what worked and what didn't, as well as ideas to try next time! :)

  2. My cucumbers did nothing. They didn't grow or anything. The plants are still about 8 inches long, with small leaves, and no idea why.

    A lot of folks use thick layers of newspaper for mulch. It's free, decomposes and really does suppress the weeds.

    I cage and stake my tomatoes. The cages start to tip over as the plants get big, so then I stake as best I can. Some people do an awesome job with the staking. I suppose if I had really good stakes and lots of precut ties, I'd be more inclined to get out their a couple of times a week and tie the new growth.

    For your vine borers, if they come in as flying insects, then you may be able to use an insect barrier cloth early in the season. I've done that with cabbage moths/worms with success.

    It's a great idea to journal your garden on your blog. Now you know where your info is located!

  3. Figure out which plants will keep the bad insects from eating your good plants. Then, the bad insects can munch on sacrificial plants. There is a film, Back to Eden on you tube, 1.5 hours long that will inspire you.

  4. Like Lili said, a nice thick layer of newspapers soaked with water will help keep weeds at bay and then will compost later. Your garden planning sounds good and will keep getting better with each passing year as you add more knowledge based on what works and what doesn't. :)

  5. You see, this is why I post these things! You all have such good ideas. :)

  6. We cage and stake our tomatoes, too, and they still often fall over! Maybe it's worth it to put some research into the kind of cage you use--some may be more sturdy than others.

    My son made a squash trellis as a cub scout project and it works great for the squash--if you have limited space, it's nice to grow food up rather than out and we have had success with planting leafy greens in the shade.

    We have used foil around the base of our tomato plants successfully to keep them from being chewed off.

    My husband maps out the garden yearly--it's good to rotate the location of your plants, plus he makes notes about what works well and what doesn't. Even so, I think most gardeners will tell you that what grows successfully one year may be a complete bust the next.