Vegetable garden plans are best mapped out in the fall. It is a great time to look back at what grew well, what tasted great, what you couldn't get enough of and what showed up in huge quantities.
Each spring, I (try) to keep a list of all that I am planting. When the seed packets come in, I log them in a database, listing important growing information. As the season progresses, I note germination time/rates, greenhouse or garden starting, transplanting information and notes that will help me make decisions about next year's choices.
Even if you don't have time to create a database, you can do some simple things that will make it easier for you to have a more productive garden next year. Pick up a pen and paper right now and record the following:
What did you absolutely LOVE this year?
What was horrible?
Where was there too much and where was there too little production?
Where did you plant what? Remember, some veggies shouldn't be replanted in the same spot, year after year
What did better than expected? Note varieties that like your climate, grew larger than you thought, liked having certain companions
What growing tips have you learned? (ie use tomato cages BEFORE tomato plants are too big!)
Believe me, I would love to believe that I will remember all of these great bits of wisdom for next spring. But I know I won't. Take an hour to write down the important lessons of this gardening year. This information will be absolutely invaluable for next year.
We have finally had warm enough temperatures in Portland to produce a wonderful bounty in my late summer (fall?) garden. Below are some of the gorgeous veggies that I am still harvesting, and you might be, too.
As you can see, I have 4 giant bowls of tomatoes...and despite the fact that I said mean things about them in August, the recent weeks of warm weather have led to a glut of the fabulous fruits. You can pretty much count on me making a TON of tomato sauce.
Also making an a"pear"ance in the center are a few lovely pears from my tree out back. I will have to study up on dormant oil and organic fruit tree care since both the apples and pears looked a bit peaked and buggy.
The long onion-looking guys are my Dutch Shallots...huge things...closer to the size of a small yellow onion than a head of garlic. Harvested and cured...ready to be used in all kinds of yummy dishes.
The squash is gorgeous! I picked all but the smallest of them and am scheming about ways to preserve them. I know that if I cut and freeze they will get mushy...and who wants a mushy squash? EWWW....
And let us not forget the hot and bell peppers! This is my second harvest...sadly, we just didn't have enough heat for more...but they are wonderful things. To preserve my last batch, I dried them by smoking them on my grill. Portland Foodie can also tell you how to do this.
Finally, there is a last harvest of my hericot vert and purple podded beans. They are actually getting a little long in the tooth, so I will dry them and use the seeds for growing next year.
It has been a wonderful summer season...and the fall crops are popping up already...can't wait to harvest again!
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