Apples: My four little trees are in their second winter. I picked 5 apples from one tree last year, but the trees are all small and need to grow. They seem healthy. In the spring, I sprayed with horticultural oil. I didn’t fertilize, which I think I should do this year. I have ground up leaf mulch directly under the trees and I seeded clover and wildflowers between the trees. I’ll see if that grows this year. It will provide flowers for my bees and the legumes should help the sandy soil. The deer fence around the trees is unattractive and it would be nice to remove or replace it this year. 2016: Dormant prune before growth begins and train after growth resumes in spring. Spray with dormant oil in spring at first sign of green growth. Send out a soil test in early spring and fertilize by their recommendations. Work on legume ground cover below and deer fences.
Asparagus: I have a very small bed (about 5x2 ft) at my community plot. I moved it last spring because it was getting shaded by a lilac. I’d like to buy more plants and give it a much larger space. I don’t know whether it should be at my community plot or at home. I will see how my plans work out for space. 2016: find a bed for asparagus and order plants.
Basil: We got REALLY lucky last year and were able to harvest a nice crop before any basil downy mildew showed up. I planted 3 types of basil and all did well. One variety was Eleanora, a basil downy mildew resistant variety. Soon after harvesting, the mildew arrived. I have to say, I did not see any difference in resistance between the varieties. There were taste and appearance differences. About 8 plants of each.
Basil, Dolce Fresco (AAA Winner 2015): smaller and very nicely shaped, nice large leaves.
Basil, Superbo: large robust plants, very large leaves, best for taste.
Basil, Eleanora: mid-sized plants, smaller leaves, sharper flavor, no downy mildew resistance relative to the other varieties. 2016: Repeat last year. Grow these three again. They did very well.
Beets: I grew a lot of beets in my home garden. Maybe 5 or 6 varieties. Half a bed full. A spring crop and mid-summer. Great crop. Small ones in fall crop were nice for pickling. 2016: Don’t grow white beets. Find the old red variety I used to grow that grew large (at my community plot) and kept well, though I think the size may reflect my new garden soil, which needs a lot of work.
Blueberries: I hope I can do better with these this year. I am finally putting some time into reading about blueberries now. Last year, I measured the soil pH at 5.7, put in an irrigation sytem, removed all the ferns growing under them and mulched with pine bark mulch. The bushes did not grow much. I am reading now that this pH is too high. Ideal range is 4.5 to 5.0. 2016: I like the Home Orchard Society website on blueberries and will follow their advice this year. I'll work moistened peat into soil around the plants in early spring while plants are still dormant and add some well rotted pine mulch 2 feet around the plants and 3 inches deep. (I'm reading now that cedar is toxic to blueberries, so I'm glad I did not put down cedar mulch.) I'll fertilize 3-4 weeks after adding the peat (as this will be almost like replanting), using a liquid organic rhodoendron fertilizer and repeat fertilizer in late May and late June. I can also use a foliar fish emulsion spray. However, I'll strip off all buds this year as my plants are not well established (36-42 inches tall). Also, I should put up a wood frame around berry patch to keep the dogs out and as a support for seasonal bird netting (which I won't need this year).
Bok Choi: I just need to remember to plant only a few at a time, one six-pack, and succession plant every couple weeks. I like the two varieties I have been planting for a couple years now. Win Win and Mei Qing.
Cabbage: My mom like these also. But we both only need about 3 plants each. We like red and savoy. I don;t think either of us got full sized cabbage last year. I was late in planting. I will try to keep up with the planting calendar this year!
Carrots: I didn't have enough! More carrots! Root maggots got into in the early sweet ones. Mostly just the Mokum variety. My plan: forgo Mokum, winter turning my soil SOON, use row cover immediately after sowing, use beneficial nematodes, and treat the adjacent lawn for grubs.
Celeriac: These were great. An easy crop. Repeat same this year. I could give them more space between plants.
Cucumbers: This was a failed crop - and I really love a lot of cukes for salads and pickling. PLants were all killed by wilt, a bacteria transmitted by cucumber beetles. Probably also mosiac virus too.I'll go after the beetle grubs this year (winter till, beneficial nematodes, treat adjacent lawn fro grubs), I'll use cucumber beetle sticky traps with lures, cover plants until they need pollinaiton, I'll add some wilt and CMV resistant varieties. These include, Slicers: Marketmore 76, Marketmore 80, Monarch, Supersett. Pickles: Calypso, Regal, Score.
Dill: Such fun to have it self sow in my community plot. I will plant some in my new home garden this year.
Eggplant: I had 2 Propera and 4 Calliope. The Prospera were delicious!! I need a couple more plants this year. Maybe 6 Prospera, 2 Calliope. And add about 6 plants of other variety (ies), maybe Classic, and another?. I like bigger eggplant.
Fig tree: It died :-( It didn't like being inside all year in my atrium. Got mealy bugs and didn't have enough sun, maybe too hot too. I'll skip figs a while until I learn more about them.
Garlic: More than half of the 70 bulbs I planted rotted last year. I think because I planted where onions had recently grown in my community garden. This year my garlic is in my home garden where my tomatoes were last year. I bought all new bulbs and planted lots, three varieties.
Green beans: I had good green beans last year. Several varieties and enough for pickles. I'll do the same. I love the variety "Jumbo". I have a new big Italien pole bean vareties to try that I was given by a local gardener. I'd like to plant shell beans too, enough for a few meals. I'm not sure of the variety. Jacob's Cattle or a nice white variety. I need to leave plenty of space for these.
Herbs: my little herb garden up by the house is working out well, except that it got completely destroyed by our renovations in that area. I started replanting this fall. i'll grow some more herbs from seed next spring.
Horseradish: the [plant is getting enormous. I still haven't gotten a chance to harvest and prepare it. Mybe next year. I also have to figure out if I should be splitting it - not that I have room for more than one plant.
Kale: I grew one kale plant. It's so hard to grow then without them being eaten by cabbage worms.
Meyer lemon: It died :-( I'm looking for a new one. I think it may not have had enough loght in my indoor atrium. Next plant, I will leave in a pot so it can go outside in the summer.
Pears: I have two espaliered trees, a Bartlett and an Kieffer at my community garden plot, about 5-7 years old now. On April 13, I sprayed with 2% horticultural oil at the swollen bud stage. I meant to spray again between green cluster and white bud, but forgot. (Spraying is done to control psylla, mites and scale.) I didn't see the trees in bloom this year, but was told they were spectacular. I fertilized early in the year with fruit tree spikes, 3 per tree, since the leaves looked a bit yellow. They greened up nicely. Fruit set in abundance on both trees. Last year I remember I counted 75 pears. This year I did not even try to count. I didn't thin or cover the fruit. The leaves developed spots mid-season. Scab? As they ripened, pears became mottled with something on the surface. Some Kieffer's were misshaped with dimples or larger divots that were stony at the base. I don't know the cause either of these. August 25, I harvested about 30 lbs of fruit - all the Bartlett and half of the Kieffer's. August 31, I harvested the rest, about 20 lbs. I put all fruit in the refrigerator. It's a small one with poor temp control. I tried to set it for 32F, but ended up freezing about 30-40% of the fruit. The fruit that didn't freeze all ripened up really nicely. I left Bartlett's in fridge about 2 weeks, took about 3-4 days to ripen. Kieffer's were in fridge either 2 or 3 weeks and took about a week to ripen. They were sweeter with longer cold treatment. Since I still have last years canned pears left over, I made different other items this year.
- Canned pear sauce (just like apple sauce, but pears - delicious)
- Frozen pears, I tried both dry and syrup methods (haven't tried any yet)
- Dried pears, both plain and syrup methods (we love both of these!)
The Bartlett has several areas where branches don't look good and have lost leaves early this fall. For next year,
- Apply both recommended applications of horticultural oil on the trees in spring
- If the trees set another big harvest, I'll thin to one pear per cluster, 6 inches between fruits about 30-45 days after full bloom when fruits are 1/2 to 1 inch diameter
- Get a new fridge with better temperature control
- Make dried pears again, try using a very light syrup
Peas: My parents and I both grew Sugar Snap and they were super! A good pea to grow again next year. About 6 ft tall, stake with branches, very good taste, and they kept producing for a very long season.
Popcorn: I grew the variety Caliope, which has beautif multi-colored kernals. I planted late and my sprinklers only hit half of the plants, so I had a very poor harvest. I got about a dozen ears. They kernals look beautiful, but I haven't been able to get them to pop. It burns instead. I'm still working on hydrated it. I'm surprised because I've never had this problem before with several other varieties of popcorn. I think I'll go back to one of the varieties that popped well before, though I don't know if it's a variety issue or the weather or something else. Robust 997 from Johnny's grew and popped great for me last year. Before that, Baby Golden and Faribo White from Sand Hill Preservation Center.
Radish: I grew a wonderful radish called Roxanne! I loved it. It was a sample, an AAS Selections winner for this year. I don't know where I can get it again. It was just the perfect shape and color, round, red with white botttom - just a perfect radish.
Summer squash Sweet potatoes Tomatoes Watermelon Winter squash