I Want to be a Better Gardener

Looking back on this past year I feel like I once again don’t know what I’m doing. Of course that’s not true, I at least have some sort of idea, but we had a lot of failures.

I could blame Mother Nature for a lot of it though that doesn’t mean I can’t take some of the blame. We had another cool summer with only about 2 weeks of real heat. We had unseasonably long, late rains that ruined most of our fruit crops. That I can blame on Mother Nature completely. I suppose I could of hand pollinated the fruit trees between downpours, but who knows if that would have done any good. I’m sure the bees tried to do that as well. I can confidently say, though, that there was nothing I could have done about the June rains that caused our fruit to split and rot before it even got ripe. 
Our summer wasn’t any different than the previous summer though (except for the June rains). Last year we planted 24 tomato plants and harvested well over 300lbs. This year we planted 36 plants and didn’t even break 250lbs. We planted the same varieties, so it can’t be chalked up to that. The biggest reason we didn’t get as much fruit is that we just didn’t harvest enough. We lost a lot of fruit to old age. 
Our potatoes were probably our biggest disappointment. I didn’t keep up on the weeding and I feel that we didn’t amend the soil enough. This led to just a few fist sized potatoes and a small amount of itty bitty potatoes. Considering our potato area was 4’x20′ we probably should have gotten more than a few pounds of spuds. 
All of my failures this past year as a gardener was due to a lack of time spent gardening. We were busy nearly every weekend during the summer. We went on vacation in the middle of our biggest harvest month. I ran out of time before I could get all of our fall plants in. And we focused too much time on animals. We have now cut down the number of animals we have in half and have created a management plan to keep the number from getting so high again.
But my biggest issue is going to be controlling our time this coming year. I’m going to have to learn how to say no to events and make my garden – our ability to feed ourselves – a priority.
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