Saturday, January 21, 2012
Seed catalogs continue to arrive in the mail box, reminding me that I have not taken the time to review last year's garden and make plans for the coming planting season.
Despite a wet spring, late garden, and dry summer, the Lord did bless us with an abundant harvest in 2011. Our worse challenge was the critters who wished to share our crop. Next year we need to be much more vigilant in pest control.
Our worse pest was ground hogs. I might have to give in and learn to shoot a gun. The varmints never show up when Ed is around but will walk within a few feet of me. Apparently they know I'm harmless.
Rabbits were another pest. They were almost tame and hard to run off. They acted like they owned the place.
But the biggest change I need to make for next year is simply to plant more. I have been planting nearly the same amount the past few years but between our growing family and dry seasons, the harvest has not been enough. This year, we were blessed to receive green beans, potatoes, and tomatoes from family and friends, otherwise I would not have had nearly enough.
One of the best successes this year was the peas. I never have a good crop of peas. We love peas and it is discouraging to have a slim harvest of our favorite vegetable. This year we planted our peas in a new garden plot that was formerly pasture. We planted a far greater quantity of seeds than usual and chose two new (to us) varieties (Bolero and Encore both from Stokes).
I'm not sure what to give the credit. Was it the soil, the variety, our cool wet spring, or just that fact that we planted a huge amount? All I know is that we picked buckets of peas! (Thankfully a neighbor has a pea sheller and shells a bushel of peas for only $1.00.) I plan to mimic as closely as possible what we did last year and hope for the same success.
The new garden plots that we began in our pasture did well for certain crops and poor for others. The soil there is stony and drains well. It was perfect for our peas as our other garden lies low and was far too wet to plant in early spring. By the time the hot dry weather hit, the peas were over. Onions and potatoes also did well in those plots.
But the plots are too far from the house for any kind of pest control. The lettuce and beets had no chance. The squash were harassed and only one pumpkin escaped without at least one set of toothmarks. About half of the corn was pulled down and eaten. Next year we plan to keep the plants the varmints enjoy closer to the house where we can watch them easier and possibly protect better.
I appreciated Quinn's thoughts on trusting God for our harvest and focusing on doing what we do well, before adding new projects. After an overwhelming year in various fronts last year, my goals are to keep my garden plans simple and focus on growing those things that we know we can grow well.
Am I crazy to be thinking about gardening already? Please tell me that I'm not the only one! To be honest, one part of me wants to enjoy the winter's sabbatical. But then I get excited about making next year's garden better, pull a gardening book off the shelf, and start sketching garden plans.
Maybe I do have some farmer genetics passed down to me.