It was a great year for the garden! I removed what little grass was left, so the growing space expanded. I had a respectable crop of spinach, but a small crop of sugar snap peas, broccoli and blueberries – likely due to the very warm and dry winter. This summer I had my first “real” (more than a handful) crop of raspberries, blackberries and figs, and as usual, the strawberries were delicious.
The tomatoes went crazy – and I still have a few sungold orange cherries (in December!)- they just won’t quit! While the plant has gotten quite spindly, I can’t bear to dig it up since it’s still flowering and fruiting. Time will tell if it will make it through the winter. One of my most prolific tomato plants came up as a compost volunteer in a relatively shady spot, so I might intentionally plant there next year.
I got a spaghetti squash – not sure how as I’ve never intentionally planted one. I must have eaten one in the past few years (and threw the seeds into the compost) as it was also a volunteer. I saved some seeds to plant next year. I also saved quite a few farmer’s market seeds – some heirloom cherry tomatoes, cantaloupe, and delicata squash – easy way to try some new things.
The monarch butterflies were amazing – it’s true, they love milkweed! At one point, I had 5 butterflies floating around in the garden. Unfortunately the milkweed also brings aphids (pesky) and milkweed beetles (disgusting), but it’s a reasonable tradeoff to have more butterflies. But those little monarch caterpillars sure can eat, so I started some new plants from seed.
I got a huge crop of chamomile which I dried and used as tea. After it flowered, the plant withered so I pulled it out, thinking I’d need to plant more seed in the Spring. But no, it self-seeded like crazy – soon it will look like I have a chamomile throw rug.
(I think) due to the buildup of compost and nutrients, the garden has become quite water-wise. Even in the heat of August (and September, and October), everything survived with limited watering only 2 days per week.
This Spring, I plan to add some orange California poppies and dwarf sunflowers. Right now, the spinach, kale, chard, beets and kohlrabi seedlings are in the ground and new flats have been started. Within a few weeks it will be time to start the tomato and eggplant seeds under the lights.The cycle continues…
Whatever feeds your soul, wishing you bountiful harvest in 2016. Happy New Year!