The Garden Experiments

The garden is doing very well now that we have figured out how to keep everything moist enough with the poor soil situation.  We do have a bit of scum/algae growing in the lower spots where it puddles, but there isn’t much we can do about it with the  current soil situation.  I am SO looking forward to having better soil next year and not having watering be such a high maintenance situation.  But I am glad that at least we were able to make this year’s garden work as well as possible considering the situation.

I am not sure if we will get a chance to harvest any beans or carrots before the first frost, but some of the peas are already putting on pods, so we will get at least some peas.

I thought I’d take a little trip down memory lane.  Here is the garden area back in April:

102_9876Here it is after we finished building it and planted our first seeds the 3rd week of May: 103_0197And here it is today:

14It feels great to see the progress, even if it isn’t as much as we had hoped because of the soil.

I have been keeping very detailed notes about the garden all season in hopes of learning and being able to be more successful next year.  Since this is our first time in this garden space, the first things I am trying to learn are what plants do well in which areas of the garden, and where the sun and shade go throughout the day, etc.  The soil issue has clouded my research some, but I can still learn some things about what to put where despite the soil.  I have a very clear difference in my beets and turnips in two locations.  They are the same variety of plant, so the only difference is location.  The ones on the south end of the garden are growing like a jungle and the ones in the north-west corner are pathetically small and not growing at all.  I do practice crop rotation, not planting the same thing in any spot two years in a row, but I am talking about general areas of the garden here, not the actual exact location.

These are the types of things I am keeping track of.  But there is one thing I am trying to keep track of that I think the soil issue might be messing up.

Years ago, when I first started gardening in this climate, I tried out a bunch of different varieties of the vegetables I wanted to grow so I could figure out which ones worked best in our climate.  After a couple of garden seasons I had settled on the varieties that were best for us.  Back then I had no knowledge of heirloom versus hybrid nor saving seeds.  Now I am wanting to save our own seeds and thus move over to all heirloom varieties in the garden.  So, yet again, I am trying out different varieties, trying to figure out which work well for us.  On top of that I also have hybrid seeds left that I needed to use up.  So the garden this year is full of different varieties of each vegetable that we planted and I am trying to keep good records so I can decide which heirlooms we are going to switch over to so we can save our own seeds.

As I keep these notes I keep thinking, will these same results hold true in good soil?  Or are these results skewed because they are showing which varieties do well in clay?  What do you think?  Do I need to repeat all these experiments next year?  I usually do them at least a couple of years in a row, but can I “weed out” any varieties for sure this year with the soil situation?

2 thoughts on “The Garden Experiments

  1. I would experiment again next year. Things do differently in our garden each year. For example, in the past the squash and cucumbers have always done well. Whereas this year both died early on. However the tomato’s, peppers, and melons have done great. Rain, bugs, and disease have a lot to do with how well certain crops grow.

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  2. I never thought about experimenting with a garden the way that you are! This is something I am definitely going to try once on my homestead! While I am not sure exactly when that will be (all in the Lord’s hands) I am certainly appreciating your information. I feel that I will have a good footing in the land of self-sufficiency that will give me confidence to move full steam ahead 🙂

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