This year I had major physical challenges and planning problems to overcome and looking back I can see several reasons why my garden was a failure this year.
I think it is super important to evaluate what went right and what didn’t work each year. I want to record the problems and what I will do differently in the future.
Garden challenges and problems
Prior to spring of this year I had been very sedentary for about a year. Hip replacement surgery in December fixed the problem but recovery took most of the spring.
My family is wonderful at helping but I’m the main gardener and I was NOT on my game in the spring. This was unavoidable and VERY frustrating.
I wanted to be outside doing more but it just wasn’t possible.
We were WAY behind in our homeschool because of my surgery and then we had a high school graduation that took all my energy for a month or so. We did manage to plant tomatoes and some peppers. Plus we continued with our experiment from last year that included laying hay on the garden to keep the weeds at bay. But we did it after the weeds had sprouted and that wasn’t as effective.
Planting the garden late
Without energy or brain power to do much planning, I was flying by the seat of my pants when it came to planting. So it just didn’t happen at the right times.
In the spring, getting up and down off the ground was still pretty scary so planting was delayed.
Then we didn’t plant beans or pumpkins at all. The pumpkins always do a great job of keeping the ground covered and the weeds aren’t as bad. This year the weeds took advantage of the open space and grew like crazy!
Last year we didn’t do a good job of cleaning up the garden in the fall and we had TONS of volunteer tomato plants come up. I couldn’t get ahead of them so they took over the garden. And they didn’t produce much—disappointing.
Maintenance tasks for the garden
- Right now we are maintaining by mowing down all the weeds in the garden. That’s the plan for the rest of the year until we can lay another layer of hay and leaves this fall. The picture above is about half of the garden right after hubby mowed all the volunteers down. Time for a layer of hay!
- We also WILL be cleaning up all the dead plants and keeping the seeds from the tomatoes from creating more volunteers next year.
- School should not be as big of a distraction since we have only one child in our homeschool now. I have more time and energy too. I’m hopeful that by spring I will be mostly back to normal.
Looking ahead to next year
PLANNING is going to be a MUCH bigger deal starting this fall.
Plans for physical changes
We are planning dedicated rows in our traditional garden so we can lay mulch (wood chips) and walk in those areas. We will start this project in September and work on it until snow flies. Any nice day this winter I plan to be moving mulch or hay. Being out in the winter is so good for me(can you say Vitamin D?) and it helps to make progress on big projects which keeps my spirits up when it seems like winter goes on forever!
When it is too cold out then I want to be working on the timeline for planting in the spring. That way I can implement it when the time comes and I won’t be flying by the seat of my pants again. I have TONS of garden information on my Garden boards on Pinterest that will keep me inspired and help with scheduling each garden task.
Wins in the garden from 2016
There was some awesome stuff that happened this year despite the failed garden.
—We planted raspberry plants which are thriving and we got a small harvest this year. Next year we will be putting up a wire support to guide the canes so we don’t loose control of the berry patch next year. We also plan to dig up new plants to relocate or sell.
—We had a HUGE strawberry harvest and picked 10 gallons for the freezer!
—Hubby added on to our deck so we moved tons of perennials around and reduced the monster flower garden. It was too big for me to keep under control. We also added a layer of mulch on top of cardboard so the weeds were some what manageable. Not totally but MUCH better than the past two years.
—Apple harvest is going start in a few weeks. I’m so thankful that we didn’t have a huge infestation of Japanese beetles. We saw some but they only ate a little and then left! We will have tons of applesauce and apple butter to eat!
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