Like any other part of life, I find it really important to look back through the year in my garden. I invite you all to do this with me because it’s a great way to encourage some time for reflection and to start to move forward with garden resolutions for the next year. Sit down and generate a list of questions to ask yourself, starting with the general and narrowing down to the specific.
What worked? What didn’t? What are you proud of? What could you have done differently? What were your main problems in terms of pests and disease? Which plants thrived in your garden, and which ones suffered? Did your irrigation system seem to deliver enough water to your plants (or is it time to upgrade to a new system?).
My process begins with looking through notes and pictures from the past year. This is easier for me to do as the garden is my business so I’ve likely got more detailed notes and snapshots than the hobbyist. Use what you’ve got! It’s fairly easy to remember huge successes and failures, so that’s where I often start.
Read below for some highlights from my garden reflections.
Failures (Or, for those of you who prefer gentler language, Areas For Improvement)
- Weeds! I’m getting so much closer to keeping weeds at bay before they get out of control, but have got a long way to go. If only I could finally implement a system where I make myself tackle each garden bed when the weeds are at that thin thread stage, I’d be golden.
- Irrigation on landscaped plants was lacking. In my main field, I’ve got all the rows of plants on drip lines that get watered a couple of times a week. But I’ve got all sorts of plants tucked away into the landscape that I really need to get on some sort of automatic system set up (because relying on hose watering never works for me).
- Some plants could have been fed more. I need to buy more compost at once so that I can always have a big pile to pull from whenever needed. Just buying it in a few times a year and then using it up wasn’t good enough.
- I was so excited to see some of my recently planted perennials come to life and bloom this year for the first time! My Japanese anemones, in particular, were out of this world. They required a lot of patience throughout 2016 while they just sat there, but this year they put out more blooms than I could even keep up with.
- I finally took measures to protect my dahlia blooms from being completely eaten by cucumber beetles. It was a pretty labor-intensive process (I put little jewelry bags over each bloom) but it did work, which meant I had way more top-quality marketable dahlias this year.
- My general mix of crops this year was better for me than it’s been in the past. I rely on my flowers for my wedding design work and I finally am getting closer to having an abundance of just the right mix of flowers for my design.
That’s just a taste of my reflections for you, in the hopes that it will encourage you guys to think long and hard about what did and didn’t work out in your garden in 2017. Here’s to a happy and healthy new year!