Well it's officially winter here... by that I mean that the last cold weather crops lettuce and swiss chard have bitten the dust with all the hard freezes we've had. The rosemary and basil I brought in to try to overwinter in the house promptly mostly died. They were still clinging precariously to life with a few tiny green leaves. But I had to make room for the Christmas tree in front of the biggest window, so they went out on the deck to finish dying fast.
The house is all decorated for Christmas and I'm (of course! ) thinking about next year's garden. I've been reading the Sticky on Aerated Compost Tea and thinking about whether I should try that next year. I'm still a bit daunted by the bucket and pump thing. But when I think about what happened in this years garden there were three things that mainly set the garden back:
The biggest was when the raccoons got the deer netting untied in peak tomato season and got in and not only ate a bunch of tomatoes but romped around and broke a bunch of branches. GRR!! Slowed the tomato production back a bunch, just when they would have been doing well. Also about the same time (maybe related, could the raccoons carry plant diseases? or maybe just because the broken stems were vulnerable?) the tomatoes got some kind of blight. I did get it controlled with the milk treatment and pruning, so they did well later in the season, but again lost some of the most productive time. The third was that the squash vine borers got my zucchini plants (as usual) so they were a total loss.
If I can find ways to keep these things from happening, it will make more difference in my garden productivity than any fertility I can add. Really got to figure out that zucchini root borer thing....