Sunday, December 30, 2012

Happy New Year!

I've been thinking a lot lately about what I want to get done in the garden in 2013, but it occurs to me that I can't really do a very good job setting this year's goals until I take a look at how I did with last year's goals. So I've been trolling through the archives to find my 2012 goals to review them. Looks like I didn't write them down anywhere. (Note to self: Goal #1 for 2013: Write down my goals.) So I'm gonna have to go on memory here: 
  1. Plant something from seed and make it grow and thrive long enough to become dinner. I'm starting with this one as a kind of positive reinforcement. This was probably my clearest success of the year. I planted okra from seed and had many, many dinners from the resulting plants. Success!
  2. Have something edible ready to pick in the garden year round. Technically, I achieved this goal, but I have to admit that is was a shallow victory. I have a couple of rosemary plants in the front yard that came with the house. They are always in season and I can use them to spice my food. But come on--they came with the house. Does that really count? 
  3. Espalier apple trees. Hmm. This is another partial victory, at best. I bought some apple trees and planted them, but haven't done much with them since. Espalier really involves training trees into specific shapes, but the apple trees didn't grow enough to warrant any training. They're still alive though, so I guess I'll take what I can get. 
So what I've learned from looking back at 2012 is that I was a little overly ambitious (and I have a lousy memory).  I'm still a beginning gardener in a pretty hard-to-grow environment. Keeping that in mind, I think I'll try to set some more realistic goals this year: 
  1. Write it down! As mentioned above, I did a pretty poor job writing down my 2012 goals. That's an easy thing to fix in 2013. What I didn't mention above is that I also did a really poor job of writing down which varieties of plants I put in. For instance, I have two grape vines that I put in last year, and for the life of me, I don't know what varieties they are. Now I'm looking at pruning them, but the rules for pruning seem to be different for different varieties. Doh!  
  2. Get more fruit into the mix. I'm really stacking the deck with this one, because I just bought a dwarf peach tree and blackberry bush for the backyard. All I have to do is plant what I already bought and I've met my goal. But if I can make these work along with my existing pomegranate, grapes, and apple trees, I will be one happy camper. 
  3. Produce two really good crops per season. So far, I've really had only one star per season. Last summer, it was okra. The winter before, it was spinach. The summer before was zucchini. Yes, I've produced other edible stuff in the garden, but it was a tomato here or a pomegranate there. I'm talking something that really produces throughout the season. I'm off to a good start with my broccoli, onion, and garlic this season. They all look like they have the potential to be stars, so fingers crossed!
  4. Sneak some more edibles into the front yard landscaping. This might be the hardest goal on the list. Word on the street is that my HOA is pretty strict about the rules for front yard landscaping. That probably means that anything I put in the front yard will have to look "pretty," not edible. The obvious choice would be fruit trees (I'm sure an orange tree or lemon tree would be within HOA guidelines), but I can't stand the thought of pulling out one of my existing trees to make room for a new one. So it's going to have to be something else. I'm guessing more herb bushes, but we'll see. But I'd really like to make this work. It feels like the front yard is just going to waste with a bunch of plants that don't, you know, do something. 
So there you go. 2012 in review and 2013 on the horizon. How about you? How'd you do this year? What's on deck for next year? 

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