The After Summer Report – part 1

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This year was the year of the hot pepper for me – I harvested a years worth off of three plants. They have a great level of heat.

Years ago I was in the army. At the end of each of our exercises we would sit down and create an ‘After Action Report’ outlining what went well and what didn’t. The idea was to create a document to learn from. With this in mind, I thought I would take a similar approach to this summer’s garden now that I’m trying to be more systematic about getting more food-stuff out of it.

What turned out well:

1 – Early peas in a big, black pot. I started peas really early in both a garden bed and in a big, black pot. The ones in the pot took right off, out growing the height of my trellis in no time while producing tones of peas. The peas in the ground were slow and produced only a few peas. My theory is the black pot provided extra warmth by heating up in the sun. Next year, I’ll grow all my early peas in black pots.

2 – Raspberries, strawberries and blackberries. All of these are in relatively new places and heavily mulched and fertilized. The result was a constant supply of these berries, even now there are raspberries and strawberries to eat.

3 – Carrots and beets. I devoted most of a bet to these two this year and mulched them well. None of them turned out huge, however we’ve eaten plenty over the last while and have enough to last us a few more months.

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Some tasty looking celery.

4 – Celery. I had an old package of celery seeds and some extra space when I was starting seeds, so celery became a last minute addition to my garden plan. I’ve tried to grow celery before and was disappointed by the small, bitter tasting plants that resulted. This year I ended up with six good sized plants (plenty for my family) that tasted great. Again, they were heavily mulched which kept them wetter than before. It appears that mulching is a common factor that improves my harvests.

Next, I’ll get into what didn’t turn out well…