My 2013 garden was quite a learning experience. We had a horrible summer for gardening, first with flooding rains and then drought-like conditions for the hottest part of the season. My potted eggplant didn't survive and was diseased and rotted. I had to give up on it by mid-July. My strawberries, grown in a deck box, kept getting eaten by a rogue squirrel, and my soil was too clay-like and packed to grow root vegetables (like the turnips I planted).
I did have success with my tomato plant, aside from that nasty squirrel's habit of stealing one a day and eating only half, and my jalepenos grew fast and well.
Overall, I learned what I was doing wrong, what's up with my soil - my lawn guy had some input on that, and after studying the U of MN home garden website, I'm a bit more prepared for the 2014 season.
This year is going to be tough with a very cold spring. We still have a lot of snow on the ground and I have no idea when we'll have 65+ degree days on a regular basis. It's hard to calculate back from potential last frost at the moment but I'm just going to start seeding indoors and see how things go.
I invested in a large (for a private home) greenhouse, which I'll erect inside on the bottom floor by the sunny patio doors. I'll add some UV lighting if the plants are stuck inside for more than 4-6 weeks. While waiting for spring to actually begin, I'm planting seeds in trays to grow:
- red mercury peppers
- gourds and pumpkins
- two varieties of cucumbers
- green onions
- carrots (in large buckets)
Since my soil is terrible, really terrible, I'm doing my first bale garden this year. I got 8 oat bales from a local farmer and plan to start prepping them once the snow melts. It could take a month to get them ready, so I really do hope that snow is gone soon. For now, they're stacked in my garage with my soil, tools, and seeds.