Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Can I Get a Do-Over

There isn't a gardener out there who doesn't, at some point during the season, think "can I get a do-over" here!  And the beauty is that you can get a do-over.  Next year.  And the year after that.  And the year after that.

I've been gardening for little over a decade and every year I learn something new and I come across something (often some things) that I would do differently.

This year, I am gardening in a new place.  While I watched the sun over the 9 months we were here before I started planting, and while I thought through the irrigation layout, there is still a lot I'd like to do over.

1) The Peas.  It is time for me to finally work out my peas situation.  The cool, wrought iron "vanity cages" just are not cutting it.  Exhibit A - the teetering trellis full of peas at the end of pea season.  Next year, I will invest in a trellis more worthy of my exploding and delicious peas.

You can just barely see the top of the tipping trellis (in front of red coop).

2) The Tomatoes.  Speaking of cages, these pretty vanity cages cannot begin to contain my bursting tomato plants.  And neither can the sassy colored tomato cages the sell at the garden stores these days.  You cannot even see the nice orange colored ones in there.  Frankly, even the old school tomato cages are outdone.  I'm thinking one of those heavy duty cages for next year but I've also seen people trellis and the like.  How do you contain your tomato plants?  Do you ever trim them?

Yes, those are tomatoes leaning out of the beds and touching the ground.

3) Lettuce.  Let us think of a better way to grow my lettuce.  This year, I tucked it in between the three cages of peas.  It looked great and the peas gave the lettuce plenty of shade to prevent it from bolting.  Too much shade as it turned out because the peas soon overwhelmed the lettuce such that I couldn't reach the leaves to harvest and the sun couldn't reach the leaves to keep them a healthy green.  The lettuce died an untimely death after that.

4) The Pumpkins.  What pumpkins?  That is my point.  I'd once read of a citrus guild that contained pumpkins.  It seemed a brilliant idea.  Plus, I'd envisioned a swelling pumpkin patch at the front of my garden ever since we bought the house.  Never mind that the area didn't get quite enough shade.  Never mind that I decided to plant a whole meadow of ginormous wildflowers and sunflowers at the front of the bed, thereby exterminating whatever sunlight there might otherwise have sifted through.  Next year, my pumpkins will be strewn in truly sunny patches throughout the yard - or, at the very least in the front of the bed.

The tiny, non-blooming pumpkin plants are in the back.  You know, behind all the cosmos and sunflowers!

5) The Irrigation.  It is always a good idea to water what you are trying to grow.  Gardening 101.  This year, after going around and around with the guy who put in my irrigation, I let myself be talked out of micro-sprinklers that are close to the ground and can be moved, turned on and off as needed.  Oh no, I let myself be convinced that sprinklers on the outer edges of the beds were the way to go.  That way, when plants grew in front of them, the plants could block all the water and prevent it from getting to the pesky competitors behind them.

Ah well, fool me once shame on me.  But, mother nature, there is no fooling me twice! (Well, there might be but we won't talk about that).  Anyway, I'll be getting a do-over on this garden . . . next year.

*I'm linking to the Tuesday Garden PartyGarden Tuesday and Harvest Monday.

Please join the Facebook page to see what is growing in between posts!


Diana said...

yeah --- well.

I can add one more -- actually remember to look over the notes I made regarding the previous year's successes, failures, suggestions, etc. BEFORE I plant the next year's garden.

On tomatoes, I use a combo of sturdy poles and cages set amongst a rigged up bamboo framework (all of which will totter over given a wind of sufficient magnitude and direction when the plants have enough girth and foliage to catch said wind.

SharleneT said...

I've always felt the cages were more of a guide but I still use a 10-foot (6' above, 4' under) in the center to tie it up. And, I thin out the leaves. It has taken me almost five years to figure out what I can count on in NC because it's not a three-season gardening state. Gets too hot, too fast. It never stops being a learning experience. 8-)

Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

Your peas look great! Mine never do as well.

This year I tried an arbor for the cherry tomatoes and that's working out great. I've watched a few videos of people trellising their tomatoes and that looks like a good idea if yours grow really tall. A few years ago I was able to buy some really tall tomato cages (much much taller than ones at HD or Lowe's). So far those are working for me.

Leigh said...

I wanted to return the blog visit and thank you for the comment. Actually, you're correct about the black eyed susans! They are in my herb garden because they are perennials and because they are useful to me. I should have gone with my first instinct and named the post, "Herb & Flower Garden: What's Growing." :o

I can so relate to this post. We are in our second year with the current garden spot. I'm guess it will take several years to get it all figured out. I'm working with companion group beds and that still needs a lot of tweaking. I'm having a terrible time getting many pumpkins too, and my tomatoes are ever out of control! But as you say, there's always next year.

Melynda said...

I keep using the try, try and try again. One of these days I will get it all right, I think!

Pam said...

Thanks for linking up to Garden Tuesday! You're right, the beauty of gardening is reinventing yourself (or your garden) until you finally get it just so (which apparently never happens).

Alice said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Green Bean said...

@Diana - Ha! I'm two steps behind you. I forgot to even take the notes last year.

@Sharlene - Thanks for the tomato capturer tips! I clearly need to work on mine and probably should follow your lead and thin out the leaves. I swear I cannot find anything in my jungle of plants to even see if tomatoes are ripening.

@Manuela - A trellis sounds great and the arbor sounds positively brilliant. Did you tie them up as they grew?

@Leigh - Black eyed susans are one of the few plants I forgot this year! :O

@Melynda - Yes, I think too but who knows.

@Pam - It is fun to see how different my garden is ever year, even when it is located in the same spot. Thank you for hosting!

Mike's Air Conditioning said...

There are so many diseases around because of the pollution and the impure and pesticide full foods and farms produces.It is wonderful to grow your own and enjoy them in perfect meals.

Lynn said...

I have a lot of "do overs" for next year, but I knew I would. I considered this year a practice run and went into it with the attitude I'll be happy even if nothing grows. lol!!! So far, things are going pretty good, but there are a lot of things I will be doing differently. Next year, I plan to cage my tomatoes! I was able to get a cage around two potted plants, but the big one in my garden was too sprawled by the time I tried.

Jami said...

I have too many plants to spend too much time pruning, though I do always remove the bottom suckers to improve circulation. We use the cheap cages and when the tomatoes get big, we tie the cages to wires attached to stakes all around the bed. Keeps them upright for the most part.

Thanks for sharing!
Jami@ An Oregon Cottage

Allison at Novice Life said...

HA! I am right there with you! I did extensive plans for this years garden and wish I could do it all over....next year :)

Green Bean said...

@Mike's - thank you for the comment.

@Lynn - I have one of those run away tomatoes too!!! It is in between two caged ones and for some crazy reason, I thought that would be sufficient.

@Jami - I took your advice and put in some stakes around the cages this week - just trying to hold chaos at bay until things ripen.

@Allison - I'm extensively planning my fall garden right now and, even with all this thought, I know I'll be wanting to change a lot the following year.


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