First, I have to lay it on the line: I am not a very good gardener. This is because when it comes to anything crafty, I am terrible about following instructions. I don’t follow recipes (because I’m so sure that my variation will be more delicious), crochet from patterns (they’re just so boring–it’s much more fun to make something up as I go along), and I have yet to ever think “this worked in last year’s garden, so I should do it again this year.” Sigh. Nope, if there’s an experimental gardening technique out there, I have got to try it.
This year that meant making a hugelkultur bed for the zucchini because I’d read hugelkultur was a great way to save water (the zucchini did great, but August was our highest water bill ever … although since I doubled the size of the garden, that might not be the hugelkultur’s fault). It meant trying to grow clover and strawberries in the same bed so the strawberries had their own nitrogen-fixing living mulch. That worked great until after the clover got their flowers. Then the clover doubled in size and began sending out aggressive runners. If I clipped and pulled clover at least once a week, the strawberries thrived, but once I got sucked into book promotion activities, I kind of lost track of the clover. I got about three strawberries out of that whole strawberry bed. (Remember gardeners: when you mix plants together, make sure they don’t fulfill the same role. Two ground covers compete. Clover under the kiwi vines, though, is awesome.)
After all the gardening disasters I experienced this spring and summer, I then forgot to plant an autumn garden. I realized just this week that it was probably too late to plant anything, and I felt a bit sad … until I took a walk in the garden. The one perk of having all my spring plants bolt is that I had a ton of self-seeding plants, who took it upon themselves to have cool-weather loving babies. The garden is full of lovely little turnip and chard plants, and I’ve never gotten so many carrot seeds to sprout in my life!
My next big experiment in the garden will be building an in-garden compost pile. I read about it in The Complete Compost Gardening Guide, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to be perfect for next year’s zucchini patch …