December 30, 2013
This is the time of year, as I look over the 2013 season & look forward to 2014, I do not have ‘totals’ but I do have observations:
I did not weigh any of my produce but a couple of things I learned:
- Pruning is SO worth it! Our blueberry production quadrupled (at least) after a heavy pruning last year.
- Greenhouses are AWESOME! I was able to grow peppers for the first time and tomatoes earlier than ever this year because of them.
- Back to Eden garden is fully worth it! I look forward to my soil getting better every year! I went out about once a month this summer (the wettest summer we’ve had), an hour each time, to weed the entire garden and blueberry orchard! I did have to add come chicken manure tea a couple of times, since it was the first year, but other than that, nothing else was added (no chemicals & no money!!!)
- I am thankful I wrote down everything I did in the garden this year. I will definitely be looking back as I decide when to plant this year.
- A dog is not worth the training it requires for us. My children were afraid of the dog as soon as it was able to outrun them (still a puppy) so training it was all on me & I do not have the time for that!
- Cats ARE worth keeping – they have proved very worthwhile in keeping the bunnies away this Fall. We’ll see how they do with the moles/voles in the summer. I am cautiously optimistic!
- Our first year of chickens was a wonderful experience. We learned a ton! We lost one to a puppy, one to a fox, and the rooster because he was attacking the children. I am hopeful a friend will have an extra rooster (who is docile) so we can have one again and get back on track to raising our own chicks in 2014. We love our fresh eggs, we love the manure for the garden, we love watching them 🙂
2013 was our best year of gardening so far and I expect 2014 to be twice as fruitful and enjoyable!
I spent an hour & a half the other night planning for next year’s garden:
- deciding what I want to grow
- how much room we have in the garden
- what seeds need to be ordered
- what needs to be done & when
My goal is to grow all of our vegetables this year. I think I have enough room. I have run into two hiccups, however.
- I want to grow popcorn AND sweet corn & was told to not grow them near each other b/c they will cross-pollinate & I will be unable to pop the popcorn. I had planned on them being planted in the same area. 😦 How far apart do they need to be planted? Anyone know?
- We juice A LOT of celery but celery does not grow well in our area (too hot). I still want to grow it though so I need A LOT of greenhouses. It has been difficult to get enough so far (we do not drink milk so I am asking others). I am not giving up hope though!
In the 2014 garden, I am planning on growing:
- strawberries (Christmas gift – seascape strawberries)
- chili peppers (new for me)
- sweet potatoes (new for me)
- onions (new for me)
- perennial & annual flowers (new for me)
- celery (new for me)
- sweet peppers
- melons (watermelon & cantaloupe)
- summer squash (zucchini & yellow)
- winter squash (spaghetti & butternut – new for me)
- popcorn (new for me)
- sweet corn
- green beans (snaps)
- black beans to dry (new to me)
- pinto beans to dry (new to me)
Very ambitious but it works on paper 😉 I got a gift certificate to rareseeds.com for Christmas and have already ordered some of the seeds I need (minus onions and potatoes). We have already planted kale, lettuce, cabbage, and broccoli in greenhouses. As soon as I get more milk jugs (fingers crossed!), I will order celery & onions and get started on those greenhouses. In February, I will plant the warm-weather crops in milk jugs.
I have a list of 3-9 things to do each month from now until May (when the baby is due) so hopefully I will have enough energy AND we will have enough nice days to get it all done!
I have been working on pruning all this week. What a chore! But I KNOW it is worth it!
For the month of January, I need to…
- Prune all of our blueberry bushes & fruit trees (halfway done with bushes)
- Add manure around trees
- Make raised beds BTE beds (need to cut weed cloth out & add mulch – halfway done)
- Weed! (stinkin’ bermuda grass seedlings are popping up all over the place & if I do not nip those in the bud, they will TORTURE me this summer even more!)
I love planning but once I’m done, I want to go ahead and get started! These cold days are killing me! I want to get out there & get stuff done! Today, I transplanted some kale into the garden.
(Hopefully they’ll perk up 🙂 ps. the scraggly mess at the top are carrots that are just waiting to be harvested. The tops are a mess because of all of the freezing temps but the carrots are just getting sweeter and sweeter! 🙂 )
What are you doing in your garden this Winter? What are you planning for the Spring? Check out how everyone did in 2013 over at Daphne’s Dandelions today.