Vegetable Garden: lessons I’ve learned

October 17, 2009 at 11:00 pm | Posted in gardening | 6 Comments
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As we progress farther into fall, my garden is slowing down. I thought I had picked all of the green beans a couple weeks ago but much to my suprise, I discovered a honkin’ big bean! I had to take a picture of it in my hand to show scale. He’s a big guy.

And yes, even after the garden thieves ransacked my bell peppers, I now have a ton growing. I’ve left the green ones on as long as possible and now some are turning red! My purple bell peppers are coming along too! In DC, the temperature has dipped so I have a feeling the garden’s days are numbered.

I made a list of some things that I have learned, things that I still don’t know, and plans for next year’s garden. I want this to be a learning experience and a resolutions for future gardens.

Things I’ve learned:
1. Water at the roots instead of all over the plant. This prevents disease from spreading.
2. Starting from seed, plant tomatoes and green beans in intervals so that the harvest doesn’t come all at one time.
3. Onions like a lot of sun.
4. Place cages around tomatoes early on—if you wait to late you will snap branches putting them on. (live and learn!)
Questions that I still have:
1. How is pesto made? I know it’s basil and olive oil?? I need to look that up.
2. Should I cover my raised garden bed over the winter?
3. Should I plant the vegetables in different areas for proper crop rotation?
4. What can I do differently to help melon, zucchini and pumpkin plant grow healthily?
Plans for next year:
1. Move the raised bed to a sunnier location. (It’s currently under a big tree that shields it from direct sun)
2. Plant a medicinal garden that I read about on DailyCandy.
3. Grow new veggies like: beets, carrots, heirloom tomatoes, pees.
4. Crop bundling (there is a more technical term I’m sure). Beets and carrots like to be near tomatoes. Study which vegetables like one another.

I’ll probably think of more lessons and questions later! Feel free to drop me a line if you have any suggestions for me. I would really appreciate it.



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  1. Pesto = basil, garlic, olive oil and usually pine nuts (though other nuts, like walnuts, can be used) and parmesan cheese. For freezing purposes, leave the parmesan cheese out and instead add it later.

    I love your over-achieving green bean!

  2. Oh pine nuts, of course. Delicious! Thanks, Caitlan! :)

  3. I’m totally bringing in the seed catalog this week!

  4. I’ve been thinking of posting something like this too. My key lesson, though, is don’t grow tomatoes. I’ve failed miserably at that two years in a row now. The peppers did beautifully, though.

  5. 1. Someone answered already, but you can use pecans and walnuts and get the same flavor.
    2. Do you have any plants in the raised bed? If so, definately cover. If not, consider starting a cover crop by mid-October. It adds organic matter to the soil when you turn it under in the spring and keeps the soil a bit aerated. Plus, it looks better than bare soil.
    3. Absolutely rotate your crops. By planting the same thing in the same place, you deplete the soil of nutrients that that particular plant needs and the soil will build up pathogens and diseases specific to that plant even faster.
    4. Try planting melons vertically to save space and keep the leaves off the ground to avoid mold and diseases.

    I know this is an older post, but I just found your blog. :)

    • Hi Stacey, Thanks for this information! Over the summer I planted squash and zucchini next to a chain link fence and it climbed right up it. I do have a raised garden bed and planted garlic in October. The garlic is doing fantastic, I really can’t believe it. But yes, I need to get a cover for it. I’m working on crop rotation, but it is hard given my limited sunlight and relatively small backyard.

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