If there is ONE lesson I learned from the 2022 garden, it would be plants like the sun but not love the sun. I learned that most vegetables like cucumber, squash, beans, and even tomatoes benefit from a bit of shade.
If you ever read plant labels, it will say full sun or part shade or whatever. If it says full sun, I now know it’s not directly beneath the sun, unless it’s a sunflower, then it might be okay. If the seed packets call for full sun to part shade, it’s best not to plant it in full sun but in part shade.
A big success of the 2022 garden was definitely the installation of the drip irrigation system. It saved me a ton of time watering, not to mention the system saves me a ton of water as well and it kept all the plants super happy.
Another success of the 2022 garden were the leafy greens I got to harvest early in the season. I enjoyed very much to had gotten to go out into the garden each day and watch the greens thrive.
Beans were another 2022 success as I struggled growing bush beans in 2021, most likely due to the seed variety. I got some brand-new seeds for 2022 and got lots of bush bean harvest. I recently added 2 new bean varieties to my bean collection – Royal Burgundy bush bean (purple bean) and Scarlet Emperor pole bean (red flowers) – which I am looking forward to trying in 2023.
Some plants were definitely a failure in 2022 (e.g. Napa cabbage). It might had been due to sowing them in the wrong time (my bad) or it might had been the result of many other things.
My bush beans were a failure in my Greenstalk planter but this may also had been my fault for not planting the seeds deep enough, which resulted in leggy and unproductive plants. It might had also been because I stacked the planters to full height which was too high to me. After creating a third tower from the other Greenstalk towers, the plants did better somehow.
2022 might also be my last time planting cucumber in these planters. For some reason, cucumbers are highly unproductive in my Greenstalk planters. It only gave me tiny pickling size cucumbers when I put in the normal grocery store size cucumbers. It may be due to soil or something else. I think I’ll have to seriously amend the soil come spring.
The major failure of my 2022 garden, I feel, wasn’t the crops but was the result of not putting a plan on paper. My plan was always in my head. I also didn’t anticipate the plants (especially the pole beans) would get big and unruly (speaking like a proud-ish plant parent 😄).
Improvements for the 2023 Garden
For 2023, I think I will focus on growing flowers and beautifying the garden rather than food. I will still grow food, just not as much as 2022. I won’t plant 20-some tomato plants and will restrict to growing beans in one area. I want to look to save the dwindling pollinator population, which is a result of urban sprawl (poor creatures).
In 2022, I grew so much food that I had to give them away to some ungrateful folks like my uncle and aunt next door who only sees me when they need something. In 2023, I think I’ll still have an abundance of food, just not to the point where my mom is giving away my harvest.
Planting more leafy greens will also be my plan for 2023. Prices for veggies have been going up dramatically in the last few months and I need my leafy greens. At the moment, I have even resorted to buying frozen broccolis as my kale aren’t looking so good outside as the temperature struggles to get above 32-degrees-Fahrenheit (0-degrees-Celsius) daily.
Since I am planning to have more flowers in 2023, I have begun an extensive list which lists all the flowers and herbs I currently have in my seed collection and the details of how many weeks before my last frost I need to sow them indoors. Then I’ll mark the date on my phone, which will let me know when it’s time.
2023 will also the year of journaling for me. I will be writing down when I started the seeds, when it germinated, and when it will be ready to harvesting. I’m tired of guessing.
Lastly, I will try to plant successively for 2023 as one of my goals will be to grow more greens. I bought some heat-tolerant varieties as greens usually like cooler weather to try out in 2023. I heard if I successively sow my seeds (plant every few weeks) and actively harvesting my greens, it will prevent them from bolting. We’ll see about that.
Click here for Part 1 – Reflection on the garden