The 2012 Garden Report: Part 2 – The ‘Do Overs’

How often do you get the chance, as an adult, to have a ‘Do Over’?

In gardening it comes around at least once a year.

Garden beets by rochelle greayer

These are my 2012 experiments that for one reason or another, I am calling ‘Do Over’, and will give it another go in 2013.  But next year I will be a little wiser and a little smarter about it.

2012’s Garden Do-Overs

Napa cabbage – I’ve never planted Napa Cabbages before — let alone the ‘baby’ variety that I opted for this year.  Never, and I mean NEVER have I seen a plant so beloved by slugs.   I was utterly unprepared to deal with this onslaught — and to be honest I was a little fascinated with how impressive those slimy little things can be in the cabbage annihilation category.  When they made the plants inedible within a week, I just let them have at it and sat back and watched.  Next year I will be trying a litany of slug controls.  Results to be reported this time next fall.

Beets – I’ve been doing the ‘do-over’ beet thing for a few years.  (I’m not a quitter).  I love beets and I want to grow them so badly.  Mostly my past troubles have been a lack of germination (planting when it is too hot) and loss from the woodchuck.  We finally solved the woodchuck problem with the help of a hidden camera, I learned that he was crawling under the gate of our fort like fence (the only area where there was not underground reinforcements).  So now we don’t use the gate – we all hop the fence to access our own garden – and we got Zippy the Bull Terrier  – we don’t see so many woodchucks anymore.  After early damages, I was still able to actually harvest a large handful of beets and it felt like a massive victory.  Next year I am hoping for a whole bowlful.

Gourds – I am newly obsessed with gourds.  I dried some from a couple years ago and am working on a couple DIY projects that I will share with you later.   But until I worked out what to do with them I have to admit they seemed like a waste of space. There are other reasons that I want to grow them again though- simply, they grew better than all the other squashes.  For some reason they were the only vine that didn’t get powdery mildew (I am plagued with this every year).  I want to test out other gourd varieties and see if they also have powdery mildew resistance.  I also want to perfect my drying techniques because now that I’ve had a little creative burst I want to try out lots more projects.

Peas –  I’ve never successfully trellised my peas before, but this year I used tomato cages to hold them up.  In my opinion, tomato cages suck for tomatoes.  Tomato plants are just too heavy for the flimsy cages and they always fall down.   But tomato cages are perfect for peas (way better than the string and bamboo stalk disasters from last year).  These softer and more delicate plants loved growing up the circle towers and I am pretty sure I got a lot more peas.  Next year I am focusing on the sweet peas and less on the snow peas – I loved eating them in salads and risotto early in the spring.

tomatillos Tomatillos – I am not sure why I haven’t learned this lesson before – sometimes I can be a little thick headed.  Next year I am NOT going to let more than TWO tomatillo plants grow in my garden. They are simply too prolific, too abundant and I just can’t eat or giveaway enough tomatillos.  Ruthless, I must be ruthless.

Brussel Sprouts — Woodchuck ate them down in the spring… and they tried to recover but just never got above 8 inches.  Now that woodchuck has been banished, I can’t wait to see if I (and my family) might actually might like these. I saw a great recipe that involved roasting them and putting them on top of a pizza with an egg…I’m dying to try it.

3 Sisters Garden – I know it worked for the Native Americans, but it didn’t work for me, but I may try it again.  The trouble with my installation is that the corn all blew over one blustery day in July.  I got a reasonable harvest, but the beans that were climbing were suddenly on the ground and burying the cucumber plants that never quite recovered.   The lesson: Try it again — but plant the corn thicker — maybe 2 rows and possibly in a zigzag (rather than one straight line) so that they have a little more structural strength and should a gust of wind come along, the whole thing won’t go down.

What about you, any Do-overs for next year?


images by rochelle greayer (beets from my instagram feed) and from The Other Side of the Tortilla (tomatillos) where there are many interesting recipes for those with abundant tomatillos.

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rochelle greayer

Hi, I'm Rochelle and for 18 years I have worked as a landscape designer, author/writer, and design teacher. I've designed residential and hospitality (for hotels, restaurants, and spas) gardens across the USA and in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. After many years of teaching garden design topics in person, I launched the PITH + VIGOR Boot Camp series in early 2018. Through my blog, social media, and online courses (Garden Design Bootcamp and Planting Design Boot Camp) I aim to help homeowners learn how to confidently design and create home gardens that reflect their own personal and unique style.
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  1. Amy on October 2, 2012 at 10:09 am

    Gourds, specifically bushel gourds. Our summers are iffy at best for long-season plants, but this year I put it where it didn’t get watered enough so it didn’t even make one gourd. It had pretty flowers though.

    Fall plants. I started some lovely broccoli and kale, got them in the ground early enough, and then my chickens found a hole in the fence and dug every single one up. Last year, I got them started too late. Next year, everything will be perfect, I’m sure.

  2. Linda on October 2, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    Planted one tomatillo three years ago and am still getting tomatillos, Don’t let them stay on the ground and seeds resprout.

  3. Constance on March 11, 2015 at 7:52 am

    That’s an astute answer to a tricky quoiestn

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