This is our outdoor garden recap 2014. A summary the garden projects and produce; what we did about the place, what worked, and what didn’t.
It’s January 7, 2015 today. When I see this picture of our garden last year it makes me hungry. Hungry for the smell of freshly dug earth, the birds in the trees and the sight of those bright new vegetable plants, starting up the years produce. Even now, in January, after two short sessions with the N.E. wind and a couple of weeks of freezing, windy weather and torrents of rain; carrots and kale come in for the occasional meal. Dave’s winter gardening is working somewhat; the wind tears off the plastic on his hoop sometimes. The plants under the plastic are doing ok though. In the lower garden; all exposed to the elements, Garlic and leeks are growing now for harvest in March or April. Next month we’ll begin starting the seeds for the 2015 garden.
Today I’m doing a post about last year’s crops and projects. The things we tried and how it all worked out.
Outdoor Garden Recap 2014:
Overall the whole growing year was a success. We always look for ways to improve our techniques, so every year is an adventure. Here’s a list of the new ideas we put into play last year.
- Greenhouse this has a post of its own. Go here to read about our new greenhouse and how that went
- Outside the greenhouse, Dave put up a patio pepper house. He built an open area with a roof out of scrap lumber and plastic. He grew the peppers in five gallon buckets. This worked ok BUT the peppers plants needed more root growing area than the buckets had. We couldn’t keep them watered well either, and they didn’t get enough daylight for maximum growth. So this next year he plans to put his outdoor peppers in the garden again in a raised bed and cover them there.
- Dave started all his plants in the greenhouse from seed. We had 100 percent germination! But we hadn’t planned for that, so a lot of the seedlings went into pots, and some went outside in the ground and didn’t like it much. We are TRYING to order fewer seeds this year(he had over 50 pepper plants last year!) but those seed catalogs are so tempting!
- Dave made three potato towers(look in the gallery below) on the patio. They worked great and will get their own post soon. We are planning to move them to better, sunnier location next season so they get more hours of light on all sides of the towers.
- We planted strawberry plants into one half of a raised garden bed. They were beautiful and we ate them off the vine and in salads like the one pictured in the gallery. This year Dave is experimenting with growing some of the new starts(strawberries are so generous that way!) in the greenhouse. And some in towers. We are tying to extend the growing season for them and use less room in the garden. I will post that project as well as we complete it.
- We had a couple of rhubarb stalks off our two-year old bush. Next year we hope to harvest much more. It should be old enough then. We want the roots nice and big to support a healthy bush after harvest. In the past, our rhubarb has not thrived here. Still not sure why. Experimenting…
- Dave built another large raised bed for the garden last spring. We now have three AWESOME raised beds. They have made such an improvement in our gardening! Lots of reasons for that if your interested. Here’s a post about making raised beds, and why we do. He’s planning another one this spring!
- Dave built an arbor for our enormous concord grape-vine last spring. That was quite a project because all the vines had to be cut back off our shop. Here’s the post on making an arbor. We always feel bad when we have to cut that vine back to its stalk. But it came roaring back and next year will be producing grapes like crazy again.
- The weed challenge! Nothing grows better here than weeds, grass and blackberry vines. This year we experimented with vinegar for killing the weeds in the garden and driveway, with limited results. Our weeds are tough! Next year we are thinking propane burners with back packs! Now your talkin! We have put down landscape fabric in some of our flower beds to see if that helps keep the weeds down. We’ll let you know how it goes.
- Field work. Dave took his old Oliver tractor up in the back four acres and spent about a month up there working on clearing out the blackberry bushes and tree saplings that were taking over. That area is a nightmare to manage. The bridge went out years ago so getting his tractor over the ravine is an iffy deal and can only happen when the creek dries up in late Summer. Dave got it all mowed down so the grass can get some light. We need some animals to eat down those fields. But before then we need fencing! Not this year.
- Dave’s last project for the garden was to try fall and winter gardening. He started the plants in August and September, even October in the raised bed and in November he put a hooped plastic tunnel over his raised bed.
THE OUTDOOR GARDEN RACAP 2014:
We tried to keep the produce in the garden down to a manageable amount with all the work we had in the greenhouse this year and with our batch of new chickens and the housing and chicken run they needed built. It’s been a really busy year!
And it was a fabulous weather this year! We had a nice warm spring, warm dry summer, and a pretty warm dry fall. That is unusual where we live. We don’t often get three really good seasons back to back. They often trade-off. Good spring, wet summer. Warm summer, cold wet fall. Cold spring and last until July! So we were grateful this year! The garden flourished. Everything we grew out there was happy.
Outdoor Garden Recap 2014 Photo Gallery:
This photo gallery will give you an idea of what we grew this year. Enjoy! And let me know what projects you have done, how it went for you and what your planning for 2015!