We live on a bit of a hill and our back yard is gently terraced. The middle terrace consists of a lawn that is sloped just enough to tip chairs and tents off balance and to cause bocce balls to roll into the rock garden. The area gets full sun, yet we never really spend much time sitting or playing there. I’ve decided that this will be the perfect location for fruit trees.
This weekend I went to two different nurseries to find fruit trees. I want a Italian prune plum similar to one that used to be in the front yard and I also want a few different pear trees. Unfortunately, all the types of trees that I want are already sold, and they won’t get any more in until late March. I also tried to buy rhododendron fertilizer, but they were sold out and they told me to only apply that just before flowers bloom and again after they bloom in the spring. This is contrary to the advice that I received last year from one of my neighbors who fertilizes her rhodos in the fall.
I went home thinking that I was about six months off where I should be and then noticed that one of the rhododendrons in my garden is in full bloom; we’re in perfect synchrony, both six months late (or early).
What worked and what didn’t: Vegetables in 2013
Every year I reflect on what worked and what didn’t and how this is going to influence what I change next year.
What worked in 2013:
- Kennebec potatoes – we had a great yield with few pests. I am going to plant this variety again in 2014.
- Overwintered spinach and kale – lots of early season salads.
- Leeks – this year they were watered well so they didn’t bolt. Still have many in the garden.
- Arugula – we tried several varieties and they all worked well. My kids hate it, but I love arugula raw and cooked.
- Cilantro and dill – we harvested both this summer.
- Zucchini – a fabulous year, over 30 ‘black beauty’ squash harvested.
- Cucumber – this was a great cucumber year and we ate many really great ones.
- Carrots – I planted them when I transplanted the leeks, and they didn’t have carrot root fly.
- Kale – all varieties worked well and I shared them with my colleagues.
- Parsley – it was a bit slow but when it appeared, was robust and green.
- Fava beans – more like FAB beans. They really were fabulous and were my favorites, and next year I am planting them in the FRONT yard.
- Fall raspberries – why are the fall ones so huge as compared to the summer ones? Some are almost an inch in diameter!
- Bush and pole beans – all were consumed with much gusto.
- Lettuces – all were very successful except for pac choi and mizuna, which no one will eat.
- Apples – best year ever. We’ve never had so many from our tree before.
What didn’t work
- Fennel – it grew and grew and grew and then fell over and crushed everything around it. Next year, I need to harvest when it is still compact.
- Rond de nice squash – I only ended up with about 10 squash. Next year plant them further apart.
- Celery root. Sigh…I planted them early, transplanted them and nurtured them all year, and they produced little golf-ball sized roots. My gardening friend has huge baseball sized ones (please send a photo Viv). Apparently it could be because I have too much nitrogen in my soil?
- Tomatoes. I planted them early, transplanted them and nurtured them all year and they produced too few teensy little yellow tomatoes with little flavour. The irony of the situation is that after I picked the very best seedlings and planted them in my own garden, I gave the crappy tomato sprout runts to my friend Risa. Two months later, my tomatoes were all about a foot tall and hers had climbed up her garage and were producing bowls full of tomatoes each and every day.
- Mizuna and pac choi. Blech.