August Notes to Self

So, here we are at the beginning of August.  And I continue to be the worst about noting what’s going on in the garden.

I’m super enthusiastic in February when I create a multi-tabbed spreadsheet to capture everything from when I started seeds inside or sowed outside to when seeds germinated to when I first harvested and how much I harvested.  Not to mention varieties of vegetables, days to harvest, and a bunch of other information that I generally never bother looking at again.

Maybe I need to try a bullet journal? But an online version because I can barely read my own handwriting. 🙂

Instead of lamenting my poor note-taking skills, I’m going to try this notes to self idea. At the very least, I may review it when I start planning in 2018!

What’s gone well?

Maybe I should say what’s gone really well? I’m not going to include things like arugula, lettuce, spinach, beans, radishes, or herbs because they grow reliably every year.

More Beets Harvested | Horseradish & Honey
Beets, Beets, Beets

Beets. So many beets and hoping for more this fall. I sowed them in a dedicated area, added lots of compost, kept them weeded and watered, didn’t mind too much when something came through and ate a few (rabbit? vole? other?). I even had enough to share.

Kohlrabi. New to me this year and my spring harvest, though small, was really good. Have more seedlings started for the fall garden and will be planting them out soon.

Cucumbers. I planted late, tried different varieties (County Fair cucumbers may live up to the hype and the Bush Slicer cucumbers held their own, too), and outsmarted some of the cucumber beetles. I also smashed and mushed a lot of cucumber beetles. This plan worked, though, and I’ve been very happy with this year’s cucumber harvest.

Zinnias. And most of the flowers, in general. But especially the zinnias. There are lots of volunteers in the garden and they’re gorgeous. The bees, goldfinches, and butterflies have all been happy.

Monarch Butterfly on Zinnia | Horseradish & Honey
Zinnias and Monarch Butterfly – Two Faves!

What’s gone not-so-well?

Raspberries. Really, the raspberry patch. The bushes have wet feet and they’re mostly unhappy—or dead—at this point. A few canes on the edges are thriving, which is good.

John and I have already made raising the raspberry patch soil—and making sure it’s draining well—a priority project for fall or next spring, which is great because we (read John) rebuilt the raspberry trellis this spring.

Raspberry Trellis | Horseradish & Honey
Raspberry Trellis

Strawberries. Down to one and a quarter plants from four. I’m blaming it on the rabbit. I like the rabbit so hopefully the strawberries were tasty. We’ll see if my DIY strawberry cage helps.

Peas. They never took off and I ended up with a couple small harvests. I may try a fall crop but I’m not sure. I don’t think I sowed the seeds too early. It was a weird spring and that feels like the right reason for the not-so-well peas this year.

What’s meh?

Tomatoes. Just been off this year. Smaller tomatoes started ripening in early July and have been good. The larger ones are just now getting ripe and I feel like there aren’t that many. The Roma tomatoes, however, look great so here’s hoping tomatoes will move from meh to gone well. August is also one of those months where things take off, so fingers crossed.

Harvest
Early August Tomatoes

Squash. Believe it or not, I have not had an abundance of squash. My favorite climbing squash is growing like a champ but that’s it. I got three acorn squash before I admitted squash vine borer defeat. The patty pan squash and other zucchini just don’t want to take off. Similar to the tomatoes, I’m hoping they take off this month!

What should I keep in mind for next year?

I’m probably focusing on the not-so-well and meh categories. Really, any year that I can walk outside and grab ingredients for dinner is a good year.

But here are a few things I’d like to keep in mind or learn more about for next year:

  • Watering needs. The vegetable gardens all have drip irrigation on timers. But I should make sure plants are not being over- or under-watered.
  • Fertilization. I use water from the koi pond as an extra boost for plants. Should I be doing more?
  • Diseases and pests. I know a little about the diseases and pests that can cause issues in a vegetable garden. I’d like to take some time over the winter to learn more.

How about you? Anything you want to share about your 2017 vegetable garden so far?