Autumn is here. It’s the time of year that I begin to reflect upon the past growing season for my entire yard including my veggie garden, fruit trees, vines, perennial beds, containers, lawn, etc.
This is the time to bust out that Garden Journal (or start one if you haven’t already) and jot a few things down.
What was the weather like? If you didn’t make note of it throughout the season, try to recall as best you can and jot it down. Late spring, lots of rain early, intense heat in the middle of the summer (many 90+ degree days), followed by the first hard frost on Sept. 14th, with a dry, dry fall. The weather impacts a lot of things in your yard and garden and it’s good to have an idea as to what took place in order to reflect on what plants liked and didn’t like.
What went well? Tomatoes? It seems to be a toss-up depending on who you talk to. Yesterday I took a visit to Egg|Plant Urban Farm Supply in St Paul. What a fun store! (It is definitely getting added to my list of favorites!) It’s a small store with pretty much everything you need for an Urban Garden including chickens and chicken supplies. There weren’t any chickens there yesterday, but we were told that the baby chicks will be in around February or March. In any case, we were discussing weather and tomatoes (as many gardeners do) and I found out that part of the issue with tomatoes this year was the heat. However, it wasn’t what I was expecting to hear. Apparently a lot of heirloom tomatoes don’t care for the intense heat while in bud stage, so many people growing heirlooms experienced bud drop this year, but those growing hybrids did not. (A reason to grow a little of each.) I grew both and I’ll be honest, I didn’t pay that close of attention to my tomatoes to take notice if or where buds dropped, but it does make sense because I did get far fewer tomatoes on my heirlooms than I did on my hybrids.
Another thing that did well were my containers on my front steps filled with all things edible – mostly herbs, but also strawberries and Nasturtiums. All of them went gangbusters. The key? Go large – really large on containers. You will be able to put a lot of plants in without stressing them because there will be enough soil and the container will maintain the moisture much longer than smaller pots do.
What didn’t go so well? See tomatoes, above. See also Cabbage, Broccoli, Peas… (see weather, above).
Who’s gotten too big for their britches? Well, let’s see… for me it would be a mix… raspberries, Monarda and asparagus are quite obvious contenders in this category as, quite honestly, are all of my perennial beds. I didn’t get out in them enough this year and they definitely need some love.
Who didn’t make it? Where are the holes that need filling? Which combinations didn’t work together? Who didn’t play well together? Who overstayed their welcome? Who simply needs a new home? You get the idea…
If I take a look at all of my notes while everything is fresh in my mind, I can start a game plan for next year. I know it sounds insane to be thinking about spring when autumn just started last week, but it really is much easier to plan for next year while you still remember what happened this year!