2014 Reflection + 2015 Gardening Goals

Last year was the first year that I wrote down the gardening goals that I specifically wanted to accomplish. These included:

GOALS FOR 2014

1) Start composting.
2) Install a drip irrigation system into vegetable garden.
3) Grow all my vegetables from seed.
4) Harvest vegetables in spring, summer, and fall.
5) Build cold frames for early spring planting in 2015.
6) Become a master gardener.

I am happy to say that I accomplished most of this list and more. Here is my reflection.

1) We now compost all kitchen and garden waste. I cut all spent vegetable plants at their base, leaving the roots to decompose and support soil structure and health. We did not get a chance to build our three-section compost system, as Hubby was busy for three months getting our topiary courtyard planted, but we did erect a make-shift box 2.5’x2.5’x4′ out of an old dog exercise pen. (Up-cycling, right?!) We started the pile in August, and filled in multiple times. We did not turn it, however due to the several feet of snow covering it for the last two months. I am anxious for spring to see any composting progress, though I don’t expect the first batch to be ready until at least June.

2) This goal constantly fell to the bottom of the priority list, partly because it was a consistently moist and cool summer, so we didn’t need to do extra watering all that often, and partly because Hubby was busy with that topiary courtyard (which by now you know was not a planned goal for the year). So this will return to the list again this year.

3) I am proud to say that I grew all my vegetables except tomatoes and peppers successfully from seed. You can read about how I killed my tomato seedlings here.

4) Again, big accomplishment here. Spring harvest: Peas, spinach, kale, beets. Summer harvest: Beets, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, cantaloupe, kale, beans, cucumber, zucchini. Fall harvest: popcorn, kale, beets, carrots, spinach, (and beans and tomatoes until hard frost).

Once the garden was in full, summer-production mode, I got at least this much produce of varying vegetables about three times per week.

5) Nope.

6) YES! The one-semester course to become a Cornell Cooperative Master Gardener both confirmed that I know a lot about gardening and not much about gardening all at the same time. My garden philosophy has always been that if you want to garden, nature will show you how (after all, seeds are designed to grow by themselves!) But the Master Gardener program really teaches the science behind how and why everything thrives or fails. I wish the class didn’t end, and it left me wanting to  enroll in a master’s degree program in horticulture (that I definitely can’t afford). Hopefully I will be able to share the knowledge that I put into practice here in the blog.

GOALS FOR 2015 (in random order)

1) Create a permaculture-inspired landscape design for our property, specifically incorporating polycultures into the orchard.
2) Expand the orchard to include apples, pawpaw, mulberry, and grapes, along with blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry bushes.
3) Start directing water-run off into purposeful drainage or water collection swales.
4) Develop the shade/wetland garden.
5) Start planning the greenhouse.
6) Start planning for chickens.
7) Finish compost system.
8) Drip irrigation in veggie beds.
9) Grow tomatoes and peppers from seed.
10) Grow all annuals from seed.

Now, I just hope Hubby doesn’t surprise me with another BIG on-a-whim project that will take the entire season to complete 🙂

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