Season Over

Today, I finished pulling up all my tomato and pepper plants. I also took down the old chickenwire fence I had around my raised bed. And I filled five grass clipping bags full of plants and weeds that I pulled. I had thought of trying to make my own compost pile. But I found out that the city will pick up the paper bags and I can pick up as much free mulch as I can carry from a city building not too far from my house. So this year at least, I’ve decided not to do any composting. I may change my mind in the future.

How did the season go? I had lots of tomatoes. A success. I had a pretty good turnout of mini red peppers. A success. I also got some type of hot green pepper that I didn’t plant. A success. Lots of beans. A success. A couple of zucchini after which the plants died. So that’s probably more of a failure. I now know zucchini plants need a lot more space. Next year, I think I’ll plant them by themselves on the back of the house. This year, the pumpkin vine was there. It grew a ton, but I only got one pumpkin. That’s a failure. I found one cucumber somewhere in the raised bed. And it was such an odd shape that I didn’t realize it was a cucumber. That was a failure. Tons of flowers by the garage, so that was a success.

Yesterday, I cut off most of the grapevine and moved it to where the beans were. I never thought it was going to grow, so I didn’t put any thought where I planted it. Now if it grows, I’ll try to get it to go up the garage. I now have some space next to the garage. Ideally, I’d like to build a greenhouse there. When I run new power lines to the garage, I can put an outlet near there so that I could plug in some kind of electric heater and an arduino to control it. That would be a very fun project. I’ve been thinking of designs where basically I extend the roof of the garage down with windows and then put windows all around. I’d have to build some type of door or access, but I think it would be possible.

What have I learned? I put way too many plants in my large raised bed. Zucchini need lots of space. They got so big that they blocked the sun of some of the other plants. I got a couple of really big zucchini and then the plants just seemed to die. I’m not sure what happened. Next year, I think the zucchini will go by the house by themselves. They’ll have lots of room there. The miniature red peppers were good, but some were ridiculously tiny. Cutting them up and pulling out the seeds was a pain, but they were good. I’d like it better if they got a little bigger, but I’m not sure such a thing exists. So I’ll plant those again next year. I wasn’t crazy about the beans, but I think it’s because I waited too long to pick them. I read somewhere they’re tastier if you pick them before you see the shape of the seeds inside. I thought you were supposed to wait until you saw the seeds, so I definitely waited too long. I’ll try those again next year. The Jack and the Beanstalk story is much funnier now. Beans do go really fast. And they climb up anything. It’s kind of cool. Think I’ll pass on watermelon again because I only got two. They were small and I never even cut them. They just didn’t look that good. I’ll probably also pass on the pumpkin. They grew like crazy, but I only got one. So I just don’t think I have the space for them. I like the lettuce a lot and have already planted some more in the fall. I put some in the smaller raised beds and have a glass window on them. I’m hoping to still get some more lettuce before it gets really cold.

The biggest lesson is that I enjoy gardening. And the more I read about food, the more I want to be able to grow more of what I eat. I also like the idea of building a greenhouse. It seems like a good challenge.