Yes, it is that time of year where I make me observations of this years garden to hopefully do a better garden next year. Things I have learned this year are:
1) I am going to definitely plant potatoes. I bought seed potatoes at our local Ace Hardware store for 9.99. I was a little disappointed in this years yield. As an experiment I took a few of the tiny, tiny potatoes that didn't have a chance to grow before the plant died(from whatever got it), and planted them again to see what would happen. I would say it was about a 10 ft length of row. Well they came up, and the plants are currently about 2 ft tall; and that is over the dirt I am piling on them. In addition to those plants, I have about another 20 feet of row that came up on their own from potatoes I must have missed. All oft these plants are lush green and healthy. Because it is cooler right now, (knock on wood) I am thinking they are happier and less susceptible to pests. I am hopeful I am able to add considerably to my original yield.
2) Not planting Jalapeno peppers next year. I had more than I needed. I will use up what I have and when I do plant them, it will be a lot fewer plants.
3) I need tomato plants that are resistant to wilt. Period. I have tried everything I can think of to keep my plants happy. I lose a lot of yield because my plants get this wilt and die back. Now the plants are coming back and making more tomatoes, but I will only get a handful compared to what I would get. Next year I get resistant ones.
4) I will use seeds, I think, exclusively. We have such a long growing season, I am thinking I am going to just plant seeds. I may start some indoors, but many I will just plant directly in the ground. I am thinking my plants will be stronger as a result. So it may be later for me to start canning. I can live with that. Who knows, maybe I can have a few weeks of marathon canning and then be done. I can live with that too.
5) I will stay ahead of the pests on my peach trees. I am tired of tossing at least a bushel of peaches each year because of uninvited guests.
6) Uh... yea... plants your perennial herbs on a container. Apparently they spread. WELL I KNOW THAT NOW!
So that is my education for this year. Here is that list of what my garden produced this year:
Black berries- enough for about 8 pints of jelly
Peaches- just enough for 4 pints of jam
potatoes-60 lbs and counting
Lima/Pinto beans- ended up with about 50-60 pints. We have used some pints already so this one is hard to judge accurately. I just know I shelled a lot of beans. Well that and I counted what I have and rounded up a little.
tomatoes- about 172 lbs which made 39 quarts of sauce and 24 pints of salsa. Still producing.
Broccoli- 16 lbs
spinach/lettuce- enough, but hard to weigh.
Corn- enough for 3 quarts canned, 8 quarts frozen, and some used immediately for dinner
Peanuts- don't know yet, but it is looking good so far.
Onions- 6 lbs- not worth the time and space. I will by these from the store next time. Might do green onions.
Jalapenos- well I used 3 lbs, but got so much more than that. I just gave away about 10 lbs and have given away more than that before. They are still producing so if anyone wants more, I can help with that. Anyway, I got my salsa and my red hot sauce(about 3 pints)
Bell peppers- 4 quarts so far chopped and frozen, and they are still producing. In fact they are producing more than they did all summer
Mint and other herbs- enough to fill some a pint jar with each dried herb: mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, and thyme
Watermelons-4 so far picked and eaten. Still counting about 6 that will be ready before the first frost.
Green beans- just enough for a dinner or two. The bean Beatles got em.
Sweet peas- 1 quart shelled and frozen.
I think that is it for now. Not a too shabby output. Need to get beans next year though. We have enough to make it through the year without buying any. I did try to weight them, but as it got busier I kept forgetting. But I ended up with 104 pints food, 123 lbs of other food, 4 watermelons, and 55 quarts put up. That doesn't count the peanuts, watermelons, tomatoes, more herbs,and potatoes still to come in. Other things canned this season are carrots, chicken, beef, chicken broth, "applesauce" and "apple pie" filling. I meet goals on everything except green beans. I am happy and thankful for that. I am thankful for whatever I get.
You guys have a great day!