Like every gardener, I'm always dreaming of the perfect garden. In reality, there is no such thing. The perfect garden will only exist in my imagination. So every year I spend my time planning what I can do better next year. Some things can't be controlled. This year the weather was a major factor. There wasn't much I could do to improve the fact that we got rain for the entire month of June. All I can do is work with what I'm given. My plans for this year will include dealing better with what I'm dealt.
1. Plant more storage and cold weather crops. I live in New England, not an area well known for long hot summers. The more I read, the more I realize that I need to stop concentrating on things like tomatoes and peppers that are really forced to grow here. I'll still grow them, but want to increase the crops that really thrive here. I'll be looking to grow more root veggies and greens. Which brings me to.
2. Work on season extension. We have a relatively short growing season here in my zone 6 garden. Those who have read my blog for a bit know that I added some beds made from cinder blocks. I will be making some of them into hoop houses. With some electrical conduit or PVC pipe and heavy duty plastic, I should have a nice large area to nurture some spring crops and keep fall and winter crops next year. This is something I've wanted to do for 2 years now, but haven't had the nerve to try. I'm certainly someone who needs to think about things for a while before I do them. My inspiration came from Eliot Coleman's wonderful Four Season Harvest. I highly recommend this book for anyone who dreams of having fresh veggies in January. Its certainly my dream.
3. Increase the perrenial fruits and veggies. I've been doing this for a few years. So far in my tiny suburban yard I have 5 apple trees, 2 peach trees and a cherry tree. Last year I also added 6 blueberry bushes, 5 of which survived my kids. This year I'll be adding strawberries at the least, but would also like to add asparagus and possibly grapes. Herbs have been added to as well and will continue this year as well. I have thyme, oregano and sage. I'll be adding more oregano, mint and some medicinal herbs as well this year.
4. Increase my own seed saving. I've been slowly learning to save my own seeds. This year I saved tomato and pumpkin seeds. Next year I'd like to try my hand at saving some more difficult seeds. I love the thought of saving all my own seeds. As much as I love looking at seed catalogs each year, it would be nice to only have to buy one or two new varieties every once in a while.
5. Keep better track of, my harvests. It's been neat to watch so many bloggers weighing their bountiful harvests. It's truly amazing to see how many pound of produce come from relatively small plots of land. I'd like to see how much I can get from my little suburban plot as well. This will also help me to see where I can make improvements.
I'm sure I'll be adding more goals along the way, but this is a start. What are some of your garden goals for the year?