Reflections on Backyard Garden: Good, Bad, and What Happened?

Success this year

  • Our usual peas were out of stock so we tried planting snap peas and they were so good that we’re going to plant them again next year!
  • We’ve actually harvested a good number of apples that didn’t have worms which is a huge improvement over last year;
  • We had a good harvest of garlic and have been putting it in almost everything!;
  • The winter garden bed is planted and growing.

Failures this year

  • I was so excited to try growing luffa however both seed starting attempts this year failed. I’m guessing the soil wasn’t warm enough so we’re going to try them again next year with a heating mat underneath the seeds to see if that will help with germination;
  • Our peas were so good! We don’t have enough to last through the winter so next year I’d like to plant more;
  • We only had one cucumber plant of four survive and that one didn’t produce anything. We’ve had years where we have more cucumbers than we can eat and I’m not sure what the difference was this year but we’ll try again next year!
  • Similar issue with zucchini – we had five plants that produced only two zucchini in total;
  • We planted pole beans a bit late and are just seeing a few beans now – we’re hoping they produce something if we have a warm fall;
  • Our sweet peppers flowered but the peppers have been very slow to mature and didn’t produce many per plant.

Lessons Learned

  • We tried some new methods of natural pest control for our kale and greens and felt that we had improvement over prior years: we planted a row of nasturtium (flowers that aphids like) beside our kale and also released ladybugs into the garden at aphid hotspots;
  • We feel that we don’t know enough about amending our soil and fertilizing and wonder if that may be the reason why some of our usually good producers didn’t do well this year.

Things I’m Proud Of

  • In past years my tomato plants have been out of control and produced many tomatoes that were too green to harvest at the end of the season. This year I trimmed any shoots that were 8″ or so above the ground or lower and topped the plants at the end of August so that the energy of the plants would be put into maturing the fruit already on the vine. We’ve had a decent harvest and have been enjoying tomato pizza, salsa and, shortly, some tomato soup!
  • We planned our succession planting better than in past years and used pretty much all of what we produced.

What to try next year, what to do differently

  • We’ll definitely use the same natural methods mentioned above to control aphids in the garden;
  • Our fruit trees (two varieties of apple and a pear tree) need pruning so we’re going to try to teach ourselves a bit about maintaining fruit trees;
  • We started on the base of the greenhouse but it’s not yet built. Hopefully we can have it prepared in time to start seeds next year!
  • We’ve planted carrots, arugula, broccoli, acorn squash, and brussels sprouts to harvest through into the fall and hopefully winter!

How was your garden this year? Did you try anything new? Did anything surprise you?


What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!