What Did You Learn This Garden Season?

Gardening with Rabbits

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I learned I have to change. It is 3 years since DH passed away and 5 since he was diagnosed with cancer. The garden has to be designed for just me and when I started this garden I was 12 years younger and had a husband and kids being homeschooled and home all day to help with harvesting, canning, weeding, DD planted and transplanted bulbs, and DH did all the heavy work. Also, in that time the rabbits came and at one point I had 10 rabbits. I am down to 3. Of the original 10, I only have Lulu left and she is 8-1/2 years old. The other 2 are rabbits recently dumped on me in the last couple of years and they are not the big Flemish Giants, so now I am taking apart the 3 compost bins in the yard and I will keep one large one at the edge of the garden. I will not be having the huge amounts of rabbit bedding and manure, which means I will be depending more and more on getting compost from another source. My chiropractor spent over $300 on some compost/manure and it did not grow anything. He thinks it had the broad leaf weed killer in the manure. I have to decide where my next source of manure will come from.
 

ducks4you

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@AMKuska , I , too have learned about pruning tomatoes. Seems where I pruned 2 weeks ago, there has been New leaf growth. I am going back to growing mass quantities of tomato plants next year. Just have to figure out ahead of time how I want to stake them.
Rose of Sharon can live in water ALONE in a bucket.
God BLESS volunteer tomato plants, and don't pull them out! You never KNOW what your tomato harvest will be!
Maybe it will be better to plant cool weather crops in the Fall instead of the Spring.
Tomato plants NEED good air flow, ESPECIALLY in a wet year. DD's grew long and leggy and have produced PERFECT fruit. (They don't get as much full sun as mine do.) My tomato plants sprawled out and I have thrown away at Least 75 tomatoes this month that were rotten/bug eaten.
Banana peppers are edible when yellow, hot as a fire hydrant when red!
Great idea for a thread. I will revisit this later on this Fall on my own garden thread.
Yes, I admit that I plagiarize. :cool:
 

Ridgerunner

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Maybe it will be better to plant cool weather crops in the Fall instead of the Spring.

It's worth a try but you may have missed the boat this year. Hopefully others closer to your latitude can chime in. Your county extension office may have information about your planting times.

Down here fall is definitely the time for a cool weather garden. I plan ion planting mine the first of October. When I was in Norhwest Arkansas I had to plant most things or start seeds late August, first week of September was pushing it. Cool weather crops were not happy in that late August weather. And the bugs had all season to increase in number, what did come up was often killed or stunted by bugs. A few years I got some stuff, I remember one year the carrots did great. I left them in the ground under mulch and harvested as needed.
 

Ladyreneer

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This year I learned how much Cushaw squash can grow! Fortunately the placement was good for that but - WOW!
I also learned how to hand pollinate & prune my eggplants and have had a pretty good harvest so far. Awesome! I love eggplant.

I then discovered how much I love pole beans and found the perfect wax bean that is delicious, prolific & even pretty easy to harvest. Plus a beautiful bright pink podded bean variety that is so easy to find & pick.

And after losing almost all of my beautiful corn last year to deer (!) my sweet Hubby added the 2 last sides of fencing so I'd have a fenced in garden. I've never needed it before this. Thanks, Hubby! Yay!!!

Worst year ever with the deer as they again ate every last ear of my corn!!! 🤔 What?!
So I have learned that on those 2 sides of fencing we will need to add another wire across the top. Apparently MY deer could compete in the Olympics and win!
Also the deer love my Clemson Okra plants and will regularly nibble them down as far as they can reach, even if I've placed an arched piece of fencing over them for protection. They also adore my Jalapeno pepper leaves, and the delicate foliage of my pea plants, but my eggplants have been safe. Thank goodness.

The deer will knock down my bamboo teepees if they decide they must sample my pole beans and can't reach the top most tender beans. Sometimes daily.

I have found a few places that I really enjoy shopping for seeds as they have good prices & a great selection. So one more thing that I've learned is that if you've had a hard time growing, cukes, zucchini, and crookneck squash due to poor pollination, there are varieties that can be purchased (hybrids) that SELF pollinate!!! You can't really save those seeds but I will plant some heirloom ones to hand pollinate as well.

I have wasted a lot of time watering plants by hand and I really NEED to install a drip system or some type of irrigation.

Lastly, I have tried to keep my harvest going by succession growing & have been semi-successful. And I'm planting a
"first-time-for-me" fall garden with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, etc. & gourmet garlic that is supposed to be more flavorful. We'll see...

Waiting for my Autumn harvest to continue my adventure.
 

Dirtmechanic

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This year I learned how much Cushaw squash can grow! Fortunately the placement was good for that but - WOW!
I also learned how to hand pollinate & prune my eggplants and have had a pretty good harvest so far. Awesome! I love eggplant.

I then discovered how much I love pole beans and found the perfect wax bean that is delicious, prolific & even pretty easy to harvest. Plus a beautiful bright pink podded bean variety that is so easy to find & pick.

And after losing almost all of my beautiful corn last year to deer (!) my sweet Hubby added the 2 last sides of fencing so I'd have a fenced in garden. I've never needed it before this. Thanks, Hubby! Yay!!!

Worst year ever with the deer as they again ate every last ear of my corn!!! 🤔 What?!
So I have learned that on those 2 sides of fencing we will need to add another wire across the top. Apparently MY deer could compete in the Olympics and win!
Also the deer love my Clemson Okra plants and will regularly nibble them down as far as they can reach, even if I've placed an arched piece of fencing over them for protection. They also adore my Jalapeno pepper leaves, and the delicate foliage of my pea plants, but my eggplants have been safe. Thank goodness.

The deer will knock down my bamboo teepees if they decide they must sample my pole beans and can't reach the top most tender beans. Sometimes daily.

I have found a few places that I really enjoy shopping for seeds as they have good prices & a great selection. So one more thing that I've learned is that if you've had a hard time growing, cukes, zucchini, and crookneck squash due to poor pollination, there are varieties that can be purchased (hybrids) that SELF pollinate!!! You can't really save those seeds but I will plant some heirloom ones to hand pollinate as well.

I have wasted a lot of time watering plants by hand and I really NEED to install a drip system or some type of irrigation.

Lastly, I have tried to keep my harvest going by succession growing & have been semi-successful. And I'm planting a
"first-time-for-me" fall garden with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, etc. & gourmet garlic that is supposed to be more flavorful. We'll see...

Waiting for my Autumn harvest to continue my adventure.
I suspect you would enjoy a battery powered motion sensing water sprinkler. Orbit makes a good one. Ours are the type that have a funny bird face appearance. They make the deer startle and flee.
 

Zeedman

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Upon reflection, two more important lessons learned.

Unlike previous years, because of the warm dry spell this Spring, I direct seeded nearly all of my beans... but did not start some in pots as backups. Because of that, I was unable to fill the gaps that resulted from poor germination. Three beans and two cowpeas had poor stands; enough to save seed, but not enough for eating. Where's the fun in that??? :hu In the future, I will make a point of starting backup transplants for all of my beans, regardless of weather.

The second lesson is disturbing, because it indicates that my isolation technique for peppers is flawed. Of the 12 peppers grown this year from saved seed, 3 had at least one plant that was not true to type (5 crosses total). All of my seed peppers are grown under cages covered with Agribon (spun polyester) which should have prevented insects from causing crosses. In the past, though, all of the pepper cages for the year were together in one location, 3 feet apart. It may be that there was some degree of wind pollination, pollination by crawling insects, or flying insects which penetrated the cover??? Regardless, the close spacing of the cages undoubtedly contributed. This year I spread the cages throughout the gardens, with at least 20' of separation, and other crops between them. Next year, I will plant a portion of each of this year's pepper seeds as a trial, to evaluate whether the saved seed till shows signs of crossing.
 

flowerbug

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Upon reflection, two more important lessons learned.

Unlike previous years, because of the warm dry spell this Spring, I direct seeded nearly all of my beans... but did not start some in pots as backups. Because of that, I was unable to fill the gaps that resulted from poor germination. Three beans and two cowpeas had poor stands; enough to save seed, but not enough for eating. Where's the fun in that??? :hu In the future, I will make a point of starting backup transplants for all of my beans, regardless of weather.

The second lesson is disturbing, because it indicates that my isolation technique for peppers is flawed. Of the 12 peppers grown this year from saved seed, 3 had at least one plant that was not true to type (5 crosses total). All of my seed peppers are grown under cages covered with Agribon (spun polyester) which should have prevented insects from causing crosses. In the past, though, all of the pepper cages for the year were together in one location, 3 feet apart. It may be that there was some degree of wind pollination, pollination by crawling insects, or flying insects which penetrated the cover??? Regardless, the close spacing of the cages undoubtedly contributed. This year I spread the cages throughout the gardens, with at least 20' of separation, and other crops between them. Next year, I will plant a portion of each of this year's pepper seeds as a trial, to evaluate whether the saved seed till shows signs of crossing.
heh, nature can often work around obstacles... :)

when i was a kid i remember reading about ants, at first just the simple stuff and then after a while i really got into it and was reading any books i could find on them and keeping an ant farm. they're very facinating creatures which exhibit many of the behaviors of humans. some farm, herd, have wars, are nomadic, have castes, etc. there are many different species in all sorts of places, they're pretty successful and a large part and percentage of the biosphere.

what i learned is that interplanting to encourage crosses probably didn't work as well as i'd have liked because the plants i thought would finish at the same time didn't. next time i'll do more block planting which is easier to notice when a block of plants is finishing up instead of being smothered by the neighboring plants. it would also give me areas where i can bury stuff because the block is done and perhaps even plant peas if i ever try for a fall crop again. i kinda gave up on fall peas for a crop because the quality or quantity just didn't make it worth it and also because i'm busy enough this time of the year as it is.

as for bean transplants, i've not done that simply because there's no more room here unless i get rid of stuff that i seem partial to keeping... we don't do our own plant starts for the gardens here because of that lack of space and other factors too. we have become winter creatures of habit... :)
 

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