Since I was on a blogging break in 2010, I never did share my 2010 garden plan. I was attempting Square Foot Gardening, and I found Microsoft Excel very helpful to plan out how I would plant. I found this to be very useful to manage my time and also this made it very easy to adjust as reality interfered with my original vision.
Here is a view of the whole garden. There are 6 smaller beds (2'x5' and 2'x6'). Then there is a larger berry patch (4'x10') and an additional bed (4'x9'). Each cell in Excel represents 1 4"x4" square in the garden.
This is the blow-up of what I consider the main garden beds. This was the original size of the garden.
Here is the berry patch and the potato trash can. I had anticipating getting the berry patch all set in 2010, but as it turned out, I didn't get the plants in until the fall.
Finally, this is the large bed. In 2011, I use this for squashes and melons.
So, what did I learn in 2010? So much!
- I need deer protection! In the smaller garden area we didn't have a problem with deer - I think this might have been because the space was too small to jump into. In our larger garden area this year, the deer just helped themselves on a daily basis. They ate squash blossoms, whole tomato plants, lettuce, and parsley. This year, I need to have a proactive solution for keeping the deer OUT! Any suggestions?
- Aggressive de-bugging works. I made finding aphids into a game for my boys. They would come out there with me early in the season to gently look under the leaves playing "who can find the most aphids". Then I could just smush them before they could do much damage. This allowed my broccoli to mature beautifully for the first time providing both a spring and fall harvest!
- Garlic really needs to be planted in the fall to mature properly in my area. So, this time, I have already planted tons of garlic. I really hope it does well.
- I need to fungicide the pear tree. We have a mature pear tree in our back yard. We have seen some years with nothing and some years with a wonderful harvest. I have noticed for the past 2 years how the leaves all get black dots underneath them and fall off. With no more source of fuel, the immature fruits fall off. After talking to some local farmers, I learned that my problem is fungus. Apparently it is nearly impossible to grow pears in this humid mid-atlantic climate without using some fungicide.So, now I have to research the most eco-friendly fungicide.
- Prepare beds for the winter - it will make the spring much easier! In 2010, it was a big pain to de-weed my beds in preparation for planting. This year, I prepared (mostly) in the fall and covered the beds with a bunch of oak leaves. I hope this will leave me in better shape come March.
I would love to hear what you have learned in your 2010 gardening experience...