Backyard garden background
As I had posted in my 2022 backyard garden kick off post – we had realized that our garden wasn’t producing well in the past couple of years and weren’t sure why. To understand what was wrong and get back into good production, we had a consulting session with Seed and Nourish and found out where we had likely been going wrong – and so made some changes!
We purchased a load of organic soil and spread a few inches onto each of our garden beds, and made sure we had fertilizer and have been applying it at regular intervals to support growth. I’ve also been watering much more than any other year as we suspected that we might not have been watering enough.
Growing conditions this year
However, with all of this, we’re still dependent on the weather! And what a year it’s been…one of the wettest and coldest springs I can remember which caused many of our plants to be delayed. We also saw fewer pollinators at expected times which I’m sure impacted us as as it did many farmers in the area. The summer has now transitioned suddenly to a very hot one, so it feels like we’re always trying to keep up with the weather this year!
What we’re growing and how it’s going
- Apples: we had none last year and lots this year – so many that I’ve taken some off to reduce the load on the trees
- Pears: lots this year and last year – however the raccoons got them last year so hopefully we get to eat some this time around!
- Peach and plum trees: new additions over the last two years! The peach tree has only a couple of small fruits which we’ll probably remove as we want to let the trees get established.
- Blueberries: seems like they liked the wet spring as the berries we’re seeing this year are much bigger than past years – and they’re delicious!
- Rasperries: created a raspberry patch in a corner of our yard where not many things grow and they’ve been doing great! The new plants were creating smaller berries than our established ones this year, but there are lots of new shoots so seems like next year will be even better.
- Strawberries: didn’t do well this year so will have to see if we need some new plants, more fertilizer, not sure!
We were going to keep it simple this year but as usual things have gone beyond our original plans as I get (too?) excited about the many things we could grow…
- Butternut squash
- Scarlet runner beans
- Pole beans
- Cherry tomatoes
What’s up next
Though there are still nearly two months of summer until the calendar turns to fall, I’m already thinking about how I can leverage my garden through the winter to supply some items that will reduce my (eyewatering) grocery bill.
Overwintering vs. planting for fall and winter harvesting
Recently I received an email with this blog post from Westcoast Seeds discussing the difference between plants that overwinter, and those that will be ready for fall and winter harvest. Overwintering crops are often started indoors and then the seedlings planted outdoors in summer/fall. The plants are then left in the ground for harvesting the following spring and summer.
I had no idea there was a distinction and it totally explained why some Red Spear broccoli I had planted in a previous year, with the intention to eat through the winter, wasn’t ready until the spring and I thought something had gone wrong! Needless to say this information has helped me to plan my approach to homegrown food year from my garden through the winter, and I’m planning the following (seeds sourced from Westcoast Seeds – source from them using our affiliate link here!):
- Cabbage (Danish Ballhead, Early Jersey Wakefield)
- Red Spear Broccoli
- Spinach? Not sure what kind yet
- Kale (Rainbow Lancinato)
- Broccoli (Santee)
- Parsnip (Tender and True, Gladiator)
- Carrots (variety)
- Turnips (Purple Top White Globe)
- Spinach (Seaside, Giant Winter)
- Lettuce (Winter Density, Rouge D’Hiver)
Some of these might require shelter over winter (especially if it was as cold as the last one) and so we are going to try to get our greenhouse up for this winter, which would be exciting as we’ve had it for many years and it’s been sitting in pieces. If it’s not ready, I may invest in some crop shelter such as these.
And that’s my garden so far this year! How is your garden growing?