Sometimes I like to take some time and look back. I never realize how much I do accomplish until I take the time to look back. We are getting there. Slowly and surely. I have been trying to weigh my success and failures. Last year I tried perpetuating my tomatoes through cuttings. It seemed like it was going so well! The cuttings set roots very well. I think I had less then five cuttings that failed at this step. I had experimented with putting washed egg shell in the jars to help the rooting. I didn't take notes. I should have taken notes, but my feeble memory tells me that the jars with egg shell set root faster. Overall, the cuttings with no egg shell eventually did catch up. The cuttings did so well they set leaves and some even blossomed. Where I ran into trouble was when I bought the potting soil. After the very well rooted cuttings went into the soil they died as if hit by a plague.
I have read a few articles, nothing with data or any of those pesky facts, but articles that said the government allows a certain amount of industrial waste to be discarded through products like potting soil. They say it acts as a fertilizer. I will no longer buy potting soil. Any seed I plant in the stuff will no longer do well. Most won't germinate. Those that do die in pretty short order. I talked to a lady that used to run a green house business and she said she would not use american potting soil. All of hers came from Canada. So, I have been debating whether or not the tomato cutting experiment was a success or not. I "think" if I had put my cuttings into good garden soil and wintered them over in the green house with some heat that they would have done very well. As it is, I can't really say that. After the green house is finished and I am properly set up, then I will try again. The project was definitely worth the effort.
Another of my experiments was "winter sowing". The premise was that you always have dropped fruit or veg that leaves a seed and it comes up the next spring as a "volunteer". So go ahead and get seeds out, let them experience the winter and they will come up when the time is right all on their own and without all of the coddling, mess and the general havoc that comes with seed starting kits. Again this was kind of a success/failure venture. I had plants come up. Not all of them. I think I probably made some mistakes. I couldn't keep the tops on my containers. The tops were suppose to offer some protection like a cloche would. My friend, Suz, who used milk jugs, had germinated seeds in each container. I didn't. What I did get started was the best crop of kale I have ever had. Granted kale is a cold loving plant but still, I will take it. This is one I will try again. I am thinking I will go ahead and buy seed now and set it back. I always get the cold crops in too late, so this might be a good alternative to waiting for greenhouses to open. Broccoli, cauliflower, beets, brussel sprouts, so I think these are the ones that will go into the winter sowing experiment again.... oh yes and kale!
The garden was better this year. But we had the drought. We had wicked high temperatures. We had an invasion of munching bugs. I didn't get enough put up. I have some bread and butter pickles. I have some frozen tomatoes for soups. No where near what I had hoped for. So I am trying to come up with strategies to overcome these problems. For the drought, I am looking at some other methods of watering. Mr. Hillel of Israel won the World Food Prize this year for a method of irrigating that uses far less water.... wick irrigation. I will look into it. To battle the high temperatures I will also be looking at buying some shade cloth. I will try to protect my plants from sun burn from about 1:00 -4:00 in the afternoon. I'll try... it will be another experiment and I will have to have enough money to buy supplies. As far as the bugs go, well I will be spacing out my plants .... A LOT! Then I want to put in bird houses in fairly low locations. Put bird baths on the ground. Anything to get those natural predators in low where I need them.
I tend to beat myself up with things that I perceive as failures. Actually, they aren't failures, I just couldn't get to them. There was either no time, or no money or the heat was so extreme that it would have been dangerous to be outside for very long. The project isn't a failure, perhaps I am, but not the project. I still have a great deal of winter prep to accomplish. I have to review my farm plan, and try to knock down into steps, the things I want to accomplish next year. The next time that I look back, I want to see so much more.