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Gardening isn't something that you just do. It's actually a skill that you develop. That's why it's so important when it comes to self-reliance that you try to plant a garden each year, whether a large plot or a few pots on a patio. If you wait to develop those gardening skills, you risk a failed garden when it really matters.
Every year that we've planted a garden - which is most of the past 14 years - we've had new adventures. Last year, we dealt with the encroaching shade from a quickly growing maple over the fence. Now I know where *not* to plant my tomatoes. We also tried "solarizing" a section of our garden to reduce the weeds last year. We put clear plastic (edges buried) over a section of the garden. Unfortunately, the plastic wasn't durable enough to make it through the heat of the summer.
Some of our ongoing successes: We have tomato volunteers every year. It seems like such a fragile plant, so I'm always thrilled to find those new little plants. I also have a fantastic rosemary plant that comes back year after year. We're expanding our raspberry row because they are so popular that our kids sneak into the garden just to eat them.
This year, we're trying square foot gardening in addition to our regular garden. It's been pretty expensive to set up two 3.5 x 7.5 beds. The jury is still out on whether or not it's worth the extra cost.
It's been a very wet spring. I missed planting my spring crop of lettuce, peas, and spinach because I kept waiting for a dry Saturday. I finally gave up and found a Monday afternoon late in May to get my summer crop of strawberries, beans, onions, carrots, watermelons, tomatoes, potatoes and peppers planted. Almost three weeks have passed since dropping those seeds into the ground. I was actually expecting that I'd have to replant, but this afternoon I discovered these late, but very welcomed, bean shoots finally emerging. I can also see carrots and barely an onion or two. No watermelon plants yet.
I'd like to learn how to collect my own seeds. I've tried several years in a row now, but have only harvested Marigold seeds with success. I suspect that eventually I'll get it - but see - another reason to practice gardening now.
How is your garden doing? What have you learned from past gardens? Successes? Failures? What do you want to do in the future? I'd love to hear all about it!