The garden season is over. It always seems to sneak up on me. One moment, it’s June and the seeds are going into the ground. Then in the blink of an eye fall has arrived and the last of the plants are clinging to life. The final weeks of the gardening season are always a blur of frantic harvests, steady weeding and then prepping everything for winter. This garden overview will cover my struggles, triumphs and general thoughts on the 2019 gardening season.
2019 garden overview
This was by far the most unusual year for the garden. Normally, we have fairly wet and cool weather all summer long. However, this year we were confronted with an abnormally warm and very dry season. This made the first month hard, as I was forced to water the garden regularly to ensure everything grew. By the time we actually started getting regular rain, it was already edging towards the end of the season.
What did the best
The radishes, parsley, and beans were the stars of the show. Honestly, I can always count on the beans and radishes to produce well. It seems like nothing will stop them from giving it their all. The parsley was a bit of a surprise. I have grown it before with mixed results but this year it just wouldn’t quit. No matter how many times I chopped it back to just a few sprigs, it would burst with growth again. This plant truly gave my dehydrator a workout, but now we have plenty of dried parsley to use in the months ahead.
What didn’t do well
This year, a lot of the plants struggled. Our weather was as far from normal as it could get. We were warmer and drier than in most years. It created many new challenges that I have no previously face. I have never had to cover parts of the garden with shade cloth to combat the intense sun.
The onions, bok choy, lettuce, and spinach were complete write-offs. They started strong and then boom they were done. I’m still not sure what happened to the onions. One day they were growing well and the day next they all started to shrivel and die. The lettuce, spinach, and bok choy bolted before they even got fully established thanks to the warm weather.
Our carrots were another bit of a growing anomaly this year. We have two raised beds planted with the, one thrived while the other struggled. There was no reason why they grew so different. They each got the same amount of sunlight, water, and loose soil. I guess it boils down to luck or lack thereof.
How did the experiment work out?
If you may recall, I mentioned that every year I try to grow something new. This helps me to expand my gardening knowledge. Should a plant do well, and we enjoy what it produces, then I will grow it again. If it is something I have wanted to grow for a while, and it struggles, then I give it a try again the next year. Gardening can be a fickle thing, so you can’t always judge a plant on a single season worth of growing.
This year, our experimental plant was celeriac root. I had grown celery before with decent success, so I figured celeriac root would be fairly easy to grow. I was both right and wrong. The plants themselves grew very well over the course of the season. It made me excited for harvest time. However, when that time came, I was utterly disappointed. The top of the plant was huge, lush and green. But, the root, the part it’s grown for, was so small. I don’t know if it was the odd growing season or just bad luck.
Will I try it again? More than likely yes. It will all depend on if I can find seedlings again next year.
The overall harvest
Just how much did I get out of the garden this year? It’s not an exact science, as some things were consumed they day they were picked. But I can share with you the general amounts.
The radishes were the first item to be fully harvested and consumed. I don’t know how many pounds were grown, but it was a solid 8-foot row of them.
I lost track of the number of bunches of parsley that I picked. Nearly all of it was dried, though some I did use fresh in various dishes. Despite picking large bunches each time, once it was all dried the parsley fit into a half-pint, or 250ml jar. It’s always amazing how much things shrink when dehydrated.
The carrots, though not the strongest harvest, gave us about 15 pounds worth. About half of that amount was on the small size and ended up being turned into snacks or used fresh in meals. The remainder was canned, giving us 7 pints (500ml) jars.
We pulled 5 heads of cabbage, some small and some large. These were extremely flavorful and were used in multiple meals over the weeks after harvesting.
Our green beans did really well, perhaps on par with previous years. Nearly all of them were canned for future consumption. We ended up with a total of 22 pints. Not too bad for only getting three harvests.
The remainder of the items that were harvested tended to give us a single meal worth, like the broccoli and swiss chard.
Despite the challenges that I faced this season, the garden was still an overall success. Even with lesser harvests, the reward was well worth the effort. I have been dehydrating and canning most of what grew, with a few things consumed along the way. And when it all boils down to it, nothing beats the tastes of vegetables grown in your own garden. I am already looking forward to next year’s garden and will spend part of the winter planning out what I will plan.
I hope you enjoyed reading about my garden this year. Gardening is one of my favorite things to do, and while it does prove challenging here in Northern Ontario, I am glad that I do it. I hope this garden overview inspires you to plant your own garden when the weather is nice once more.