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2008 Garden Update

by Rob Friesel

tomatoes at FlickrHaven’t had much to say about our garden so far this year because…  Well, because The Boy’s arrival has pulled us every which way. In many ways, it feels as if we are slacking on the garden.  But perhaps that is only slacking when we compare it to last year.

Thus far, the growing season has gone pretty well.  The combinations of heat and rain seem to have been great for the crops.  Everything we have planted has survived and in most cases even thrived.  Alas, what works swimmingly for our crops seems to work swimmingly for the weeds as well.  We put down at least as much mulch this year as last and we put it down significantly earlier but it seems that we are plucking twice as many weeds out of the ground this season.  On the one hand, this isn’t so bad because the weeds tend to get big quickly — making them easier to find and easier to up-root.  On the other hand, our trips to the garden are less frequent1, giving the weeds more opportunity to suck resources out of the soil, flower, and spread their seeds.

It’s an up-hill battle but compared to many of the plots around us at our site, we seem to be doing at least an adequate job.

As for ’08’s crops…  The peas have been a dashing success; whereas last year they never got off the ground, we have had quite a few harvests this time around2.  The root vegetables are doing well this year, too; the beets and carrots and onions are all coming along nicely — we’ve even had some of the carrots and beets already.  The squash (butternut and acorn) are also making great strides and we’re predicting an even better haul than last year — hell, some of the acorn squash look like they might be ready already.  Tomatoes are making great progress but we haven’t been overwhelmed by them… yet.  Cucumbers on the other hand are just about to go nuts on us.

Lessons learned so far this year?

  1. We may cut back on root vegetables in the future.  Though we love them, they seem to require a tedious thinning process that just isn’t practical.  In particular, I’m thinking of the onions which not only seem to require thinning but also seem to take so blasted long to get mature.
  2. We’ll need to do “real” trellises and/or better stakes next year.  At least one of the pea teepees was toppled under its load; the cucumbers are spreading every which way; the tomatoes have grown OUT instead of UP…
  3. More distance between plantings next year.  The plants feel crowded and it’s tough to maneuver between them.  When we planted this year I thought we had done a better job but obviously not…  There must be some kind of trick to it.  So many other plots seem more organized and the plants all nicely placed and controlled…

Maybe all that just comes with experience?  Ah well…  Looking forward to the rest of the ’08 growing season.

Original photo at Flickr.

  1. I.e., 1-2 times per week for an hour each versus 2007’s 3-4 times per week for 1-2 hours each. []
  2. It’s just too bad they die off so quickly. []

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day, science fiction writer by night. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

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