I blame the weather.
Really. I blame it for everything. I blame it for the NY Giants recent collapse. I blame it for bad television and movies. I blame it for irrationality. I blame it for the fact that I’m only 5’10”. I blame it for the fact that I just lied about my height. I blame it for my tendency to oversimplify blame. I blame it for poorly used irony.
Why? Because I’m too mentally lazy to think of the real things to blame.
So it goes with the garden this year. I want to blame the weather for the smallish yields and weeds. But if I really think about it, I’m the one to blame.
Bean Blame Game
The beans were okay, but I overplanted. The bush beany humidors created a smothery, diseasy extravaganza. The pole beans performed the best, but I was not diligent enough in my picking. Also, the supports I created were not supportive enough. Solution? Concentrate on pole beans next year, planted more thinly and with a crazy support system.
Pea Blame Game
Three varieties. 99 plants. Not a bad yield, but some disease turned my Carouby’s into sad, twisted, gnarled knuckles. The Cascadias were the clear winners. They are the most delicious anyway. Solution? Next year, go with 75% Cascadia. I am replenishing the beds with cover crops and should have great luck. I will also be building a better trellis system that will be permanent.
Onion Blame Game
It’s time to stop putting my onion in eggs in the set basket. Sets are great for cute little guys, but they aren’t good for much other than immediate chopping and eating. Solution? As part of the seed starting plan (which involves me and my friend Chris turning his furnace room into a garden center) next year, onions get a starring role.
Greens Blame Game
Just about all of the lettuces did well. Arugula? Great, but not my favorite variety. The spinach? Not so much. And really the biggest problem with the lettuces was succession. Solution? More cos/romaine next year (my wife’s favorite) and everything gets planted in two-week successions. Spinach? I need to devote more space to it. It is perhaps my favorite thing to eat and I just don’t get enough of it. Diligence in thinning, picking, eating – gotta have it. For the arugula, I will go back to the Seeds From Italy variety that I love so much.
Garlic Blame Game
The garlic was fantastic, but as usual I probably planted it too tightly. Solution? Already planted and given some elbow room.
Peppers Blame Game
I can’t seem to screw these things up all that much. They had a very slow start because of the weather (I swear!), but once they kicked in they didn’t stop. I’m still picking them. If anything, I simply wasn’t diligent enough in picking. Easy to fix that.
Broccoli Blame Game
It’s a family favorite. This wasn’t a bad year for the broccoli, but again I simply need to plant more, space them out better and be more diligent in picking it. I had a few that flowered. Inexcusable! Solution? Pay attention!
Cucumber Blame Game
Is it possible to screw up cucumbers? Yes, yes it is. This year mine were a mildewy disaster. Tons of rain did me in. However, even if the rain hadn’t been so horrible, I’m not sure I would have had a great crop. Solution? Move to a less rainy location. Also, I just need to plant a few more and space them properly.
Next year I am not going to pursue so many one-off crops. I filled in a lot of cracks with silly experiments. It’s time to return to basics and plant more of what I use the most. I will be avoiding tomatoes again next year, but may run with some potatoes or corn. We’ll see.