Next year's garden is always going to be perfect - it is what keeps gardeners gardening. But I have to say, that while the 2015 season was wayyyyy far from perfect, I have been so blessed to be back on the land. And despite 12 days of continuous rains that turned most of the tomatoes to mush, I think this may go down as one of my favorite gardening years... but I think I say that every year!
- Purchased home with 3.8 acres - suburbia to the left, 20-50 acre lots to the right
- Identified existing trees - black walnut, honey locust, winged elms
- Started first large garden in 4 years
- Had photos accepted to http://www.istockphoto.com/
- Took way more photos than in 2014 - way more than double
- Planted Trees
- 11 fruit trees
- 5 weeping willows that I grew from cuttings and that are now several feet tall
- 6 hybrid poplar trees that I also grew from cuttings and that are now 4 or 5 feet tall
- transplant of a cedar from the little woods to the wind break line
- Opened up some of the woods
- Wood mulched most of the existing trees in the pasture
- Harvested Black Walnuts (still more to process!)
- Gave away some of the harvest as Christmas gifts
- Bought local from local producers for Christmas gifts and consumption of things like jam and veggies that I didn't grow or that didn't do well
- Saved seeds from tomatoes, beans, cow peas, basil
- Froze more than 20 pounds of tomatoes, a pound of basil, lots of bell peppers
- Dried a lot of peppers
- Purchased tools - for gardening, for canning, for dehydrating, for jerky making
- Helped field dress my husband's first TN deer
- Began planting perennials in the herb garden
- Started most of my own vegetables from seed: tomatoes, peppers, beans, cukes, pumpkins, water melon
- Started many of my herbs from seed: basils, lemon balm, oregano, sweet marjoram, flowering sages, sunflowers
- Road in my first helicopter
|View of South Kentucky from my first helicopter ride.|
I guess I could have predicted this, but it is good to have the observations any way
- Sunflowers - even ones planted in straight clay with competition from "weeds" grew and flowered. Seeds from the same packet of Mammoth sunflower that barely made it to 5 feet tall in the desert with a 10" head grew 8 - 12 feet tall with disks that were nearly two feet across, with stalks 2 inches in diameter. Bees, praying mantis, and all number of insects partook of their abundance. I harvested some for seeds for 2016, and I left some standing for the birds.
- Cow Peas - Trialed several varieties - planted around my fruit trees for nitrogen, but also in quantities for eating and seed saving. I don't think I will have to ever buy seeds for them again. The climbers - easily scaled the sunflowers, and even toppled two of the sunflowers from their weight.
- Basil - Grew nearly 4 feet tall - Mrs. Burns Lemon Basil being my favorite
- Peppers - had not grown a lot of peppers before. Some of them didn't like all the rain, and some went bonkers, even with the rain. Cayenne peppers - they loved it here.
|Last of the Cayenne and Arroz con Pollo drying.|
So I went on a two week business trip seconds before the Squash Bug Hatch. I came back to two acorn squash fruits and one black tail watermelon - the plants themselves were almost completely consumed. All the cukes and pumpkins were dead, gone, kaput. Have to tell my boss - no travel during Summer Squash Bug Battle season.
|One of two survivors. Teach me to go on work travel in August!|
Next post to include more recap and plans for the future.
|Black Walnut Tree (with view of neighbor's home)|