This was an intense year. High stress, too much to do (I bit off WAY More Than I Can Chew) and unprecedented pest pressures (by mid-June, I had already proclaimed it Year of the Pest).
Swarms of aphids - only one of the many pests that plagued the garden this year
The weather, of course, also plays a part in the gardens performance, either good or bad. 2017 was a mixed bag with the season getting off to a very slow start with an unusually cool spring. The garden was at least 2 weeks behind - this complaint was echoed throughout the blogosphere for those of us in the north-east. My early spring brassica bed, which was such a success in 2016, was a big ol’ flop this year. The greens grew much too slowly and didn't have enough time to mature before the tomatoes had to go in.
|Unfortunately, the weather was too cool and the early spring brassica bed|
was nowhere near as successful as it had been in 2016 (pictured above)
|A basket of tomatoes in late September...|
and the harvests continued until the end of October!
So how much did I harvest in 2017? The numbers revealed, first in grams:
And now in pounds:
We did harvest shelling peas, but I completely forgot to weigh them (hence the highlighted box). There are a couple of bags buried in the freezer so once I dig those up, I’ll be adding them to the tally.
Veg harvests are down in 2017 over 2016, with decreases in every single category except for asparagus, collards, dried beans & favas, broccoli, garlic & scapes, snap peas, potatoes, rapini and shallots. That’s it. Out of over 40 different veg, only 11 saw an increase in yield.
One of the few winners this year
Other decreases, however, were not part of the plan. Some were due to pests decimating the plants and/or harvest (cucumbers, lettuce, onions, Swiss chard, lettuce, sweet potatoes, peppers, turnips, winter squash) while others were due to diseases (blight on tomatoes/powdery mildew on kale - a first!) or weather (spinach, rapini, radishes, Chinese greens).
|This guy and his siblings wreaked havoc this season,|
both with the veg and annuals
And let us not forget that we also had two notable firsts in 2017 - the first apples and the first taste of asparagus, both of which were celebration worthy:
|First ever apple harvest - so delicious!|
|This year, we had our first taste of asparagus but were careful|
not to overdo it as the roots are still getting established.
Next year, however, it will be full steam ahead with the asparagus harvest
In the grand scheme of things, I’m much further ahead than I’ve ever been. Annual harvests are transient – good harvest or bad, each year the beds are emptied and the scales go back to zero. The following season brings with it a fresh start with renewed optimism.
|Dahlias ('Nick Sr.') - another first in the garden|
The accomplishment I am most excited about, however, is the progress made on the west border. My overall vision for the garden always included an ornamental border in this area but it was never a priority, either in terms of time or expense. Then, earlier this year, the perfect justification to push this project forward presented itself, which I wrote about HERE.
mulching is almost done and several shrubs & perennials were
planted this fall,|
together with a few 5' emerald cedars (two of which you can see on the far left of the photo)
I also planted a few perennials that had been languishing in pots all summer, waiting for a spot in the ground. Fingers crossed they make it through the winter and show their appreciation for their new home with lots of growth next year.
|These Echinacea plants ('Cheyenne Spirit') were grown from seed|
and transplanted to the west border in the fall.
Planning for next season is underway and, as is the case every year, I’m super excited for what 2018 will bring. Well, super excited for the great harvests and beautiful blooms, not so much for the aphids and cucumber beetles 😉.
In the meantime, my gardening batteries are recharging and I’m looking forward to a winter wonderland (hopefully the weather forecasters are right). Christmas is fast approaching – only a few more days! - so I’ll take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and festive holiday season.