Another Successful Garden Season

Jamie Woodside 2013 Garden Harvest

It’s hard to believe that September is already here. Every summer I rush around trying to get as much accomplished as I can before the growing season is over, and every summer seems to fly by. This years garden has a lot more successes then failures, however, and it has me excited for the future!

So many good things happened in my garden this year. I successfully protected my seedlings from our crazy-late winter weather, I managed to grow tomatoes outside with no protection, and I ate pumpkins off of my own vines!

The compost gets better every year, and pairing that with the deep watering method resulted in fantastic, healthy vegetables, while most gardens were withering in the unusually warm summer weather. I even got the geese successfully integrated into the bigger permaculture picture! Not only do they provide weed control, but their spent litter will boost my compost even more, and they are eating all the garden scraps, which saves on feed costs and speeds up the composting time.

The harvest has been abundant, with sweet cucumbers as large as my forearm, and an endless supply of salad greens, veggies and more herbs than I know what to do with. The sunflowers are still blooming and trying to produce seeds, and the stems of the sunchokes are 3 inches thick!

Jamie Woodside Squash

Unfortunately, not everything in this years garden was a success. I didn’t get a single edible radish or bok choy, the winter squashes (except for the pumpkin) were a complete failure, the daisies were fooled by the late snow and didn’t make much of an appearance, the rhubarb looked miserable, and the porch edibles were tainted by a leaky citronella torch. These are, for the most part, correctable issues, so I need to make a plan for next year.

I know the rhubarb needs compost, and I can move the porch edibles (or the citronella torch). Winter squashes would benefit from more compost than I allowed them, and the daisies can be replanted in the spring. As long as I don’t make all the same mistakes in the future, we’ll do fine!

Next years garden has the potential to be amazing, especially if I start planning and implementing now. Once the rest of the spent plants are pulled, they will be either fed to the geese or composted. Leaves will be collected to mulch the more tender perennials. Seed catalogs will be perused for next years seed order, and the garden will be charted out to determine crop rotations and succession plantings.

I’ll also end up simply staring at the yard for a while, to determine where to build the chicken coop in the spring. Of course, if you’ve been reading about my garden for a few years now, you’ll know that all of these plans will be revised several times before next spring, but that’s half the fun of it.

It’s important to remember that every garden has its successes and failures. There are an infinite number of variables that contribute, but if you pay attention to what your plants and pollinators are telling you, each year is sure to be better than the last. Continue to adjust your set up, and watch the garden get bigger and better every year!