Garden Plan 2016

It's time to start planning out what I'll be growing in the main garden this year, and of course I'm using my web planner as I've done for past 3 years to line up all my planning. It lets me see what I had last year to avoid planting the same family and make sure it won't cause "health" issues for plants. This way I can keep "rotating" plants as much as my limited space allows. And try to plant a bit of different things all over the place. I'll have few tomatoes, potatoes and peppers as my main staple; then some greens, beans and melons and this year will dedicate entire bed to just flowers. I want to keep my local bees happy.

The Good, the Bad, and Ugly...

Now that it's winter, we finally get a chance to sit back and reflect on previous year and how everything performed in the garden and at the farm. So let's start with the good performers first and go down to losers.

Tomatoes - definitely was a wonderful year for tomatoes overall for me and I've brought carloads back from farm, but not all varieties performed well. Not going to bore everyone with a laundry list, but will say that I will not plant some in the future - peach, yellow roma and yellow cherry, grape and constoluto genovese were absolute failures. But the slicers were really fantastic, loved a new hybrid "big mama" that I grew as experiment and was absolutely overwhelmed by Red and Green Zebra that were producing well into October until hard freeze.

Peppers - holly cow what a year for peppers! They didn't really pick up until August, but then heat-wave kicked in and they produced like crazy well into the fall. I had peppers coming out of my ears! The old reliable Purple, Chocolate and Chervena did very good, but the winner was a hybrid that I grew for donation - Carmen. Hands down it was the best producer. Huge  and very sweet peppers with a dozen peppers per plant. Definitely planting it next year.

Beans - they did pretty good, especially the pole varieties. Loved my purple pole beans and my Gold Marie - delightfully buttery and very productive. From bush varieties I'll stick to my wax variety and might do some regular green just for kicks but they were not as productive as pole.

Summer Squash - it was a slow start with them and it didn't help that I didn't do proper weeding so they were lost in grass, but once they really took off I was swimming in squash and was delivering them to the pantry twice a week like clockwork. Sadly my hubby really does not like squash so if I will plant I will keep it to 1-2 plants next year.

Potatoes - they did "average" but not great. I forgot to hill them, and didn't do proper weeding and it clearly showed. We had enough to eat and have some for winter but not mind-blowing.

Eggplants - I planted only 6 plants and got about 5-6 large "eggs" out of them. Maybe it wasn't really hot enough for them until late in a year. So I mark them as "average".

Kohlrabi - it took a LONG time to get them properly sized up, maybe because the plants didn't arrive until June when it was too dry.  But at the end they all were very tasty. Too bad that my hubby didn't like them so I won't be planting them this year.

Cabbages - complete loss this year. Between the cabbage caterpillars and groundhogs I didn't get them off the ground.

Onions, Carrots, Melons - none worked out this year. Fully my fault as I didn't keep it weeded and was a write-off.

and to finish on the positive note, the sunflowers were huge and fantastic with multi layered branches and lots of activity from bees. Definitely will plant a lot more flowers next time around.

So for now I need to do a plan for new year, go over my seeds and start planting cold-tolerant greens for March under the grow-lights. Was hoping to get a greenhouse in place but it's not in the cards and will have to wait.