This was the case recently when someone emailed me from New Hampshire. They were looking for a photo of a dead cucumber for their newsletter. The newsletter article was discussing how cucumber seedlings can wilt and die quickly due to temperature fluctuations. Apparently my photo was the only one to be found on the internet.
Now this isn't necessarily the kind of attention I hope for when I blog, but it is gratifying to hear that my errors help other people in some way. And it makes me realize the value in my failures. We can all learn from my mistakes.
With that in mind I bring you my 2014 spring vegetable garden.
I was very proud today as I weeded, watered and trimmed the entire garden. It looks pretty darn good I think. Every year this garden looks better. More varieties of plants, healthier plants, and a longer growing season. Part of the reason is better soil. When I started growing veggies in this spot the soil was less than stellar. Each season I have put down a variety of amendments in hopes of improvement. Lime, bloodmeal, bonemeal, manure, mushroom compost and my own compost all have gone into these beds and the results are really showing. Spinach that was spotted and stunted the first year is now healthy dark green with large leaves.
I'm also trying new varieties of veggies each year, spreading my wings. Some are hits and some are misses. Swiss chard planted last season looked beautiful but didn't get eaten. Kale planted this year has been a huge hit. I planted kale thinking the baby leaves would be good in salad, which they were. But now we are cooking up the big leaves as well to freeze for winter to add to pasta sauces and soups.
|Chard was pretty but neither of us wanted to eat it.|
That said, I also refer to this book a lot when things go wrong. Like this.
What's that you say? Doesn't look like anything.
I have tried for two years now to grow parsnips. This is the results of my effort. A bare patch of ground. Frustrated I finally went to my books the other day and discovered that parsnip seed doesn't last. In fact, even fresh seed doesn't have great germination rates. So the seed I planted last year that didn't germinate ...... right, it's not going to germinate this year either. Mark that one down as a tragedy.
Fresh seed is the lesson of the day I think. Radishes were also a bust this year. I managed to pick two. I planted somewhere around 30. Could be because the seed is 5 years old? Probably time to buy a new packet.
Germination rates are also a problem even with fresh seed. Did I mention that it took two tries to get the spinach growing this year? Only about 10% of the first packet germinated. So I had to go back a second time and replant. I had about 60% germination the second time around and thankfully we now have spinach. But next year I'm buying two packs straight off and planting it all.
So there you have it, lessons learned and shared. How about you? What have you learned in the garden lately?