I feel as if I haven't written much about the garden this year and I fear that it may be because I've felt like it has been a bit of a let down! This year, the bugs found us, the rain wasn't plentiful and i made mistakes, lots of them. However, when I reflect on it I realize we got a lot of good produce and lots and lots of gorgeous flowers so I'll count it as a good year! As always, many lessons learned along the way...
1. Do not go on vacation without staking your tomato plants. We left to go to Kentucky and our little tomatoes were still small and cute. We got home and they had sprawled all over the garden and it was much too late to try to stake them. Thus, our tomatoes ended up taking over huge spots in my already not huge garden and they often sat on the ground which caused them to rot.
2. Variety of tomato matters. I picked up a few tomatoes at the farmers market this year and didn't really pay attention to variety. They weren't the tastiest of the tasty (though it's all relative, a homegrown tomato is still a homegrown tomato!).
3. Everything takes up more space than anticipated. My plants seem to like to sprawl and all of a sudden I can't walk down my gravel paths to cut flowers.
4. Figure out a better way to stake dahlias. I staked my dahlias when I planted the tubers, but the stake wasn't strong enough to hold against wind and rain. At least half ended up laying down.
5. Trellis cucumbers next year.
6. Pay more attention to compost mix. This year, our compost clearly wasn't hot enough because we got two beautiful volunteer butternut squashes!
7. Hollyhocks also need to be staked.
8. Diligently weed.
9. Go into garden everyday to pick during harvest as what's not ready in the morning may very well be in the evening and an entire day can yield too large vegetables.
10. Make a garden binder and use it. What's the point of painstakingly writing down every variety of dahlias and where they are planted if you can't find it for the entire season?
12. Don't get discouraged about all of the above because in the end, if nothing else, the bees absolutely love the garden. They love nothing more than to take a bath in all the pollen the flowers are providing for them.
13. Do not, whatever you do, leave the gate open for even one night. Because the deer that has been patiently waiting every night for months for you to do just that will take his opportunity and eat everything down to the ground.