Garden Report 2016

I took another crack at growing stuff on my back porch. Now, my back porch is not the best place to grow anything because it faces directly west and is shaded for the first 6+ hours of the day. When the sun finally does hit it, the cream colored plastic siding magnifies the heat until it’s very hot. This makes it hard to grow much of anything, but not impossible.

New stuff I want to cultivate next year (here or at my mom’s place):

  • Seed pumpkins of some variety or sugar pumpkins with a high seed count.
  • Potato onions.
  • Butternut squash.

Stuff that did well and I want to cultivate again:

  • Mustard greens.
  • Swiss Chard.
  • Spacemaster cucumbers.
  • Radishes.
  • Turnips (but not for greens).
  • Peppers
  • Peas
  • Nasturtiums

Stuff that I won’t be cultivating here again:

  • Potatoes
  • Broccoli
  • Yellow Pear Tomatoes (They did awesome, just don’t like them.)
  • Eggplants (Again, don’t like them.)

Stuff that will be carrying over because it’s perennial:

  • Herbs of various kinds
  • Strawberries
  • Hollyhock
  • Green onions
  • Garlic
  • My one “marigold”.
  • Walnut trees (2?)
  • Apple trees (2)

Stuff that I still need to troubleshoot:

  • Marjoram
  • Oregano
  • Marigolds
  • Green beans
  • Spinach

Stuff I will plant again to benefit the local wildlife:

  • Sunflowers
  • Johnny Jump Ups

I have a small number of things I am attempting to winter over by pushing them against the few feet of south facing wall I have, I’ll have to see how they do once frost actually hits.

It has been an interesting learning experience with this particular space. I kept to “heat resistant” varieties whenever possible and had better luck than last year. The broccoli did well, but it just isn’t worth the effort when you have limited container space. The potatoes did poorly because I couldn’t get them enough sun while also keeping the dirt cool enough. I got only about 5 pounds of small russets. Root vegetables (aside from radishes and maybe turnips) aren’t really possible for me, nor are non-upright vining plants. If we haven’t moved by next spring, I’ll have to plant my pumpkins over at my mom’s place. Pumpkin seeds have become very popular with my husband (a totally guilt free snack that tastes good, he can’t resist), so I want to plant with that in mind. The Japanese eggplant I planted did very well, but I couldn’t find a way to prepare it that we enjoyed, so no point in growing it again. Yellow pear tomatoes do extremely well here. I ended up getting a few volunteer plants and sent the survivors over to my mom for her to harvest and take to work. She whacked it back awhile ago and it is coming back up! Mustard greens are fantastic, but I will have to battle the Cabbage moths to get my fair share of the crop. The peas did okay, I’ll have to figure out if they wanted bigger containers or more sun. They produced a lot for their size, but didn’t grow very tall. I will have to just get standard marigolds next year. The fancy variety I bought barely germinated and not one survived to flowering. Some pest ate them down to the ground, or in the case of one, it spontaneously died just days short of flowering. Not very effective pest repellents in any case. The spacemaster cucumber (a vertical growing pickling cucumber) did well, but clearly I need to grow two at a time, I always had a shortage of flowers of one sex or the other and got very few cucumbers. The ones I did get were large though (bigger than picklers normally are).

I’m crossing my fingers hoping that I will find a good job in the near future and we’ll be able to move somewhere with an honest to goodness backyard (at least) and I won’t have to keep buying dirt or settle for such limited yields and/or trucking over to my mom’s and planting things there to get decent yields.

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