Every year, I promise myself that I will not buy one more seed packet, as I have TONS of seeds that still have life in them. And it's not like I am planting for a family of six. Nevertheless, I take my garden very seriously, as it provides all of my fresh produce and most of my preserved (canned/dried/ frozen) for the year. Last year, for some reason, I never sat down with paper and pencil and plotted the garden. It was a big mistake. Everything went in rather willy-nilly and it showed. Sweet peas planted on the bean trellis were engulfed and stunted. Cukes were put in a hard to reach place and were the cause of much...colorful language. Beans were disorderly. Peppers were puny. Tomatoes fell down. Basil was squeezed out. It was a mess. Because there was no order, it was difficult to keep track of what did well and why.
New last year were tomatillos. They grew like crazy and produced tons of fruit. I think I got a half bushel from two plants. However, other than the rather exotic thought of tomatillos, I did not care for them as much as I thought I would, so they are off the list for this year. New this year are leeks. In my quest for a passable carrot crop (2016 or Bust!), I have decided to dedicate one bed to carrots and leeks (because they are best friends). I am going to dig in a pile o' sand into that bed, add a pile o' llama beans and hope for the best. This will include actually thinning the seedlings - rather than thinking about it. I am weak.
Last year's potato crop was very uneven. The fingerlings were disappointing, while the Red Norlands were the size of large Russets, but there were few. I've ordered potatoes from a new source this year - The Maine Potato Lady - in the hopes that I will find a good, organic seed potato that will produce. I grow my taters in tater bags and in tires, which seems to work well. Usually.
The chipmunks (buggers) made harvesting my strawberry crop almost impossible. In order to be able to out maneuver them in order to get to the ripe berries before they did, I had to resort to putting bird netting over the entire bed. This made picking them a real pain. I ended up ripping holes in the top so that I could reach most of them without having to remove the covering each time and replacing it and pinning it down. Needless to say, the weeds thought this was marvelous and overtook the entire bed. I had to rip out the plants (most of which were on the old side, truth be told) and will replant this spring. The Chipmunkinator is coming out early.
Beans. Well, those purple pod pole beans were superhuman - or superbeanan! I have so many seeds from these beans that I will gladly send seeds to whomever wants a hugely healthy, thriving pole bean. Just send me an email with your mailing address. Seriously. I have two quart jars full of seeds. I am going to plant whatever is in my seed stock this year - some are a little dated, but since I only need a few plants of each, I am sure there is enough viable seed stock to set me up.
My goal at the end of this new gardening season (may it be the best yet for everyone!) is to end up with enough of my own seeds that I do not have to buy anything but seed potatoes and onions next year. This may mean that no seed catalogues can enter the house. I am, as I said, weak.