Although I like to think that I have learned a lot from reading and educating myself on gardening...the biggest learning tool is experience. This is only my 2nd year as a serious gardener. Some successes and some failures. My goal? Successfully garden 3 seasons with some crops in the ground in early winter if possible in my zone 6 growing area. (which btw I thought I was zone 5 and everything I have checked this season says I am in 6. Either I was wrong or it changed sometime in the past. )
So I harvested my last of the Tenderette green beans about 2 weeks ago. Turned up the ground and planted carrots last week of July. Hoping my Danvers will be a fall crop success. I planted more tenderettes where I harvested my candy onions and I have baby green beans already. Left my best Tenderette plant in the ground and letting the pods mature. Saved about 100 seeds from my 1st and largest Moon and Stars melon (18.5 lbs). My sugar pumpkin was a fail. Got 1 pumpkin and it is still on the vine. Hoping it will turn orange. Powdery Mildew has virtually killed the vines. I had 11 volunteer tomatoes from last year that I am getting nice tomatoes from and these plants seem to resist disease better. Corn was a win/lose. So I will save my space for other crops and buy that local since we have some decent corn around here.
That is enough rambling. Now onto 2015. And here is my plan. I have 2 garden beds. (10x15) This bed gets full through last week of May as my neighbors west facing tree canopy shades this in the summer and early fall. Fortunately, I get morning and early afternoon sun in the summer. I used this spot this season for lettuce, cabbage, spinach, carrots, and peas. I would love to try and plant some shade tolerant greens here in open spaces for late summer planting. I did plant some more romaine there and I will see how that goes. I am thinking next year, plant the same things but more carrots since we use those a lot. They should get a good head start before the shade kicks in and I will move any tomato volunteers that pop up to keep only low level plants for optimal sun. I also want to grow arugula and radicchio next year which I think can be both a spring and fall crop.
Other bed is full sun. (10x22) This year I have green beans, tomatoes, radishes, corn, watermelon, peppers and cucumbers. What I would like to do if possible is use this bed for an early season quick growing nitrogen fixing crop that I could harvest prior to planting tomatoes, peppers, cukes, and melons and green beans again. I want to do broccoli next year as well. Hopefully both summer and fall harvest. I will pass on the cabbage this time. I do have a 3 foot high garden fence. Perhaps plant peas around the perimeter and place additional stakes with twine every 4 feet or so. I would like to use my tomato stakes for this application if I can harvest peas and use them for tomatoes as well in time.
I also have a bed (3x22) east facing by my garage. Did tomatoes, and onions here this year successfully. This soil is a bit more sandy that the rest. Practically sifts through your fingers. Might incorporate more organic matter here. But seemed to do well. Maybe use this for a carrot bed next year. And space carrots enough to do tomatoes again and letting the tomatoes shade the carrots in the summer. I have successfully harvested carrots all summer and I have a few left in the ground. Plan on growing St. Valery next season for a large keeper crop.
Sorry for the lengthy post. I have all these ideas, but it is a bit of a whirlwind in my brain trying to plan all of my succession plantings as well as introducing a new crop where a previous one was planted and grow successfully in three seasons. Thank you for reading.