Veggie Garden Mistakes

September 1st! While I welcome the cooler weather here in Minneapolis, it was unexpectedly crisp this morning, like the Fall button had been pushed overnight. The good news is that we still have two more good months of farmer’s markets and a hefty supply of great fruits and vegetables to take home and devour or can (which I’ll be doing my first of tomorrow night!), plant garlic in the winter bed, and take stock of how the summer vegetable garden turned out.

Okay, so if the above is any indicator, it wasn’t a total bust. We loved the lettuces, tomatoes, basil and in particular, the peppers – they added so much to each meal throughout the summer. While we planted some peppers in year 1, they did not turn out nearly as well (nor as bountiful) as they did this year, in year 2. I’m really going to miss those peppers, actually. The broccoli and cauliflower? Not so much. Those things are honkin’ huge and took up way too much space for a small urban garden like mine. Another one I didn’t get right? The cucumbers. I don’t even know if they were cucumbers, they were so warped in shape, and mis-colored. Nothing, I am convinced, would have saved these little guys, and left them to the rabbits, squirrels and birds to feast on. Same with the onions I planted: they didn’t get much bigger than they were from the set I purchased in May.

While I was recounting the four successes and the three failures, I started thinking about planting a fall/winter bed and perhaps that would earn me some extra practice before next Spring. This weekend, I’ll be planting leaf lettuces, peas and cilantro, as well as keep some basil plants out there (I’ll be making and freezing lots of pesto for the winter months with what’s currently out there); I’ll also be planting garlic sets in late October, since those are for the winter bed, to rest through the Minnesota winter, and be harvested in early spring.

The winter months will provide me with some good research on how to better fertilize the plants, and give them what they need to get their work done. I’ll also be reading up on canning, to put into full practice next late summer/early fall. In the meantime, here’s what I’m thinking will be for next year’s garden:

In the current 6×20 bed: 2 cherry tomatoes, 1 early girl, 1 big boy, another 2 kinds of tomatoes, 6 jalapeno, 3 habanero, 6 green pepper, 6 banana pepper, 6 basil, herb garden (I usually pot, but next year will plant with basil), lettuces, leeks. In the back garden, under the apple tree: Potatoes, cucumbers and zucchini. In the far back bed with the perennials by the fence to crawl: lots of beans

We’ll see!

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