First of all, we deeply apologize for having been AWOL these past few months. We are working on a “special project”, one that will significantly expand our garden, our gardening knowledge, and allow us to live more sustainably. More on this subject in later months.
Second, many thanks to all of you who participated in our gardening polls at the end of 2009. We work tirelessly at something that’s near and dear to our hearts, and it’s good to sit back and reflect. Edible plants are a delight to grow – they nurture us in every respect: their beauty, nutritional benefits, as well as their demands on our bodies and minds! We won’t claim that the results of the poll is representative of the “entire veg gardener universe”, but it’s interesting to see how a segment of our ‘colleagues’ have fared.
Now the good news. Nearly two-thirds of our respondents gave a “pretty good” rating on the overall results of their veg gardening efforts, and plan to continue in 2010. Less than 1 in 10 gardeners either hit the jackpot or failed rather miserably
2009 was a pretty good year after all!
As for gardening successes, the top three were bountiful harvests, having a greater variety of veggies, and successfully managing pests/varmit – the perennial gardener pet peeve. For kicks, here are some “Other” comments that were added on 2009 successes. Do any of these sound familiar to you?
- Managed to avoid the dreaded tomato blight for MOST of the season
- Pesticide-free sweet corn attracted an all-time record of pests!
- Loved preserving everything!
- Well, I learned an awful lot about what not to do.
- Figured out which varieties thrive even when neglected.
- First “lasagna” garden, yielded lots of tomatoes
- Great crop with no work!!
- Excited about square (foot?) garden and mini greenhouse successes
- Yard converted into a garden!
2009 Veg Garden Successes
On the topic of veg gardening challenges, weather, fungus/rot, and time for gardening were on the top 3. Other challenges included:
- Containing rogue pumpkins and other squash.
- Too much shade in expanded area.
- Have sun / amount of sunlight challenges.
- Wish we had more sunny space. Would plant lots more fruit.
- Trying to weed with a baby bump is hard! (Congratulations! We hope you had a healthy baby since you took the poll!)
- Tomatoes didn’t take off until the end of August — worried abt harvest!
- Tried to grow plants better suited for hotter climates.
Weather issues threw a monkey wrench in 2009 veggie gardens
Looking forward to the 2010 season, nearly a fifth of respondents planned to expand their veg garden areas, add a greater variety of veggies, and work on soil conditioning and prep. Veg gardening cost was a very minor issue, and that veg gardeners are looking to donate excess harvests to food banks. Other responses included:
- Plant pumkins and squash next to a trellis and train them to climb up.
- Plant fewer items that will thrive better.
- Learn to control the weather. (Our favorite )
- Change planting positions.
- Plant less at a time but plant more often to spread out harvest.
- Not pinch off early buds and fruit; try for earlier harvest.
- Work on irrigation.
- Stay ahead of weeds sooner.
- Weed. I didn’t know I had too, I thought it was an option. (Ha ha ha!)
- Plant less veggie variety.
- Focus on planting more of the crops that do well, and less experimenting.
- Use more successional planting to manage excess.
- Do a better job of fall/winter planting; care for starts better.
Veggie gardeners will keep their "thumbs to the grindstone" for 2010!
We will issue this poll again at the end of the 2010 season and hopefully have some interesting and fun comparisons at the year end. Thanks again to those who participated in our poll. All the best to your vegetable gardening avocation in 2010 !
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