Neighbours talking over the garden gate has long been a tradition. They share gardening tips, complain about the weather and pests yet are ever eager to discuss their gardens. That is what I had in mind when creating this blog. So stop by my garden gate to find out the latest happenings in my garden.

Happy Gardening!

Garden Gnome
"All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child." ~ Madame Marie Curie"

Monday, November 05, 2012

A Look Back on Gardening in 2012

It is the first gardening season in our new home and to say the least, it has been a very odd year at best.  When we moved here last September, I was quite excited to discover we had two peach trees and a pear tree.  Needless to say, I had a lot of plans but the weather simply did not cooperate.  Within a very short period of time, my gardening plans turned into a comedy of errors!

Our new house is in an urban subdivision setting with the back of the property bordering on farmland.  A good portion of the backyard is taken up by a 27' above ground pool and decking so the gardens are restricted to the perimeter.  What we thought were mature perimeter beds when we first viewed the house turned out to be a hodge podge of plantings with a very liberal dose of weeds, especially thistle and stinging nettle.  We discovered a few small treasures like garlic, mint, chives and a gooseberry bush but immediately knew we would be in rip-out mode.

I carefully started seedlings ready to be planted in the new raised garden beds when we arrived home from our spring vacation the end of May.  We left on May 5 so the hardier seedlings had been out on the deck for over a week with the more tender seedlings left indoors.  One of our kids did the plant care while we were away for three weeks.  Well, the temperatures heated up and the sun hit that deck with full force so I ended up losing about half of my outdoor seedlings.  The sun turned the window I had several herbs and indoor seedlings into death ray so I lost all the seedings and a couple of the herbs.

When we arrived home we quickly put together two raised PVC beds for asparagus and strawberries along with the larger raised wood bed for vegetables.  Then the weather turned unbearably hot with drought conditions.  As a result of the unseasonably hot weather in March followed by a couple of hard frosts neither peach tree had fruit and the pear tree only had a couple of damaged fruit.  The gooseberry bush gave enough berries for me to make a batch of gooseberry jam.  The mint and chives were enough for garnishes and I dried a bit.  The raised beds were discouraging.  Only now can I see that some of the asparagus and strawberries survived but compared to what I planted, it is a bit discerning.  Surprisingly, the tomatoes did fairly well but definitely not what I'm used to.  The yield and size of the tomatoes was considerably lower than normal.  The peppers jalapeño, super chili, and habanero peppers put on a stunning performance which made up for the lack of performance in the Hungarian banana peppers and nothing from the sweet bell pepper plants.  The dill did not survive being attacked by what I suspect was a rabbit.  The weather was so hot that the lettuce bolted almost immediately upon emergence.  I did end up with four small heads of cabbage so that was a bit encouraging.

What was funny about this growing season was everything was a good two weeks early.  Cucumbers for pickling were still going when peaches started and I was canning peaches struggling to get the corn done that was early then tomatoes hit in mid-August.  I was just into canning tomatoes when my husband was hospitalized for five days so that took my time away from canning and the garden.  After that it was catch-up time until we left for our fall vacation on October 2 not returning until October 23.  The weather was mild except for the effects of Hurricane Sandy.  I managed to do a clean pick a couple of days ago as the forecast was lows of below freezing but aside of a bit of frost on the rooftops, the vegetable bed is still producing although I suspect that will end within the next day or two.

We've done a lot of ripping out this year so I am looking forward to the 2013 growing season here in beautiful Ontario, Canada.  In the meantime, I will enjoy the gardens at our vacation home in sunny Florida when we are there next for our winter vacation.


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