One of the things that I love about gardening, is the lessons that I am constantly learning. Although I do have a degree in horticulture, all the books, labs and tests don’t hold a candle to what I have learned by getting my hands dirty in the garden.
For example, every year, as I harvest my vegetables, I always learn something new about what grew well and what didn’t and the reasons why.
Here are a few things I learned this spring:
Last fall, I planted garlic in containers as well as in the ground.
A few days ago, I harvested my garlic.
The garlic that I had planted in the ground was a lot larger then in previous years. Some of the heads were 4 inches across. I had planted them in a different vegetable garden that received a little more water, which would probably explain their large size.
The garlic that I grew in containers was quite a bit smaller then those planted in the ground, which is exactly what I expected. The size of the garlic planted in containers is large enough to use in cooking and I will grow it again in pots this fall because it is so easy to do and I like how their tall foliage looks with container plantings.
Throughout the winter and spring, we have been enjoying carrots from the garden. We pull a few carrots out at a time depending on how many we need. However, last week I had to pull my remaining carrots because some were beginning to flower, which makes the carrot, woody.
One thing that I can’t quite figure out is how I get both small and large carrots. They both get the same amount of water and they aren’t crowded. Both carrots pictured above, were a foot away from each other. Maybe the soil underneath the smaller one wasn’t as loose as the soil underneath the large one? I am determined to figure this one out.
The third lesson that I learned this spring, is that some onion varieties do much better in my zone 9a garden then others do.
Not too impressive, are they? My onions look more like giant scallions.
I have since learned from my fellow area vegetable gardeners that they have tried quite a few different varieties of onion and that there is only one variety of white onion that has done well for them in our area (the Southwest). As you can tell, I didn’t have the right variety. I can use the green parts of my onions when I cook. They add a mild onion flavor to my dishes, much like scallions do.
In the meantime, I won’t pull out all my onions just yet, because they really have quite beautiful flowers…
One of the main reasons that I am so passionate about gardening and helping others learn how to garden, is that you always learning something new – no matter how long you have been working in the garden. There isn’t a single gardener who knows everything about how to garden (although there are probably a few who like to ‘think’ that they know it all).
My garden is always changing and a work in progress. The container potatoes are still growing as is my container corn. I’ll update you on how they are doing along with what else I will be planting this year.
How about you? What lessons have you learned from your vegetable or flower garden this past year?