The season of 2016 was/is not easy to garden: the lack of spring and early in the year hot temps, the fluctuating weather (temps wavered about 10–20 degrees on some days) created conditions hard for gardeners to balance between the nature and the culture. Below are the lists: the good, the bad and the ugly of 2016 gardening, compiled at the Sunday, 9/25 work-party. + A short list of our winter garden plants and a list of our future wishes.
1.) THE GOOD:
– We gained some new gardeners and retained the core old ones, yay and welcome!
– Tomatillos: splendid crops – waiting for Vickie’s recipe on salsa
– Garlic and shallots: excellent in spring, after planting them in fall 2015
– Tomatoes: very good harvests, after a rocky start. Note: the best performers in yield and taste were NOT the heirloom tomatoes we nursed from seeds, but volunteer cabernet cherry tomatoes which self-sown themselves from last year
– Lettuce and carrots did fabulously in summer in the new horse troughs:
– Bush beans: planted about 3 times (started from Roma, ended up with whatever we found in the shed) but finally producing very good, even now, the end of September
– Blueberries: super-fat and juicy. Note: they were about 3-4 weeks early, beginning of June
– Cucumbers: very good, no powdery mildew and still going
– Peaches: super sweet harvest this year
– Herb boarder, esp. Rhubarb (harvested at least twice) – very good!
– Strawberries: they were good, but short to last. Note: failed to bloom/fruit again in the excessive heat
– Peppers (California peppers from seeds): None of them achieved the red state, but many green, good to eat. Note: how come they didn’t become red in all that excessive heat? & we have super sun exposure in our garden, too (for comparison: I planted same peppers at home, 5 blocks away from the garden: about ¼ of them did turn red)
– Red sweet cherries from the tree over the strawberry bed: most of us missed them, but they were good!
– Despite difficult season we were able to donate some produce to Facing Homelessness agency
2.) THE BAD:
– Basil – it ended up growth-stunted, slightly off color and never bushy, despite efforts of fertilizing, but we ate it anyway
– Pole beans, bed 5: oops, sown from seeds several times and just OUT and gone: eaten off the stalk, dead or dying. In the end of July we planted a row of healthy starts, but now have one lone vine going on there, the rest went same way as previous seeds. –
– Pole beans on bean tower in bed 2: planted
from starts beginning of August, but may never mature the slow speed they are going…
– Squash: dried up and disappeared on us (in poplar bed, but bed # 9 still promising with flowers)
3.) AND THE UGLY:
‘The roots, the snails and the blight” (Tracy, referring to poplar roots, slugs in every bed, slimy slug trails and tomato early and late blight, yuck)
– Early lettuce, spinach, and brassicas all went bye-bye (too hot spring temps?)
– Peas in spring: dead on arrival (too hot?)
– Beets: we tended to them, but the leaf miner was still ahead (removed late summer ad replaced with some other crop – kale?}
– Potatoes dried up from heat and poplar roots chocking them (we need to dig up the soil and put heavy plastic on the bottom) – no harvest
4.) FALL/WINTER GARDEN (started the end of summer):
– Kale, Swiss chard, spinach: coming up in the new horse troughs
– Peas: second crop – look promising: blooming and some pods there already!
– I might have forgot some of the winter garden we started
4.) If WISHES WERE HORSES:
– Gardening in sunken garbage cans under poplars (to avoid poplar roots)
– Green house under poplars
– Pilot project on aqua- or aeroponics gardening (less water, no soil, no insects)