Gardening Summary - 2015

With 2015 winding down I thought it would be a good time to do a summary of what worked well and not so well in the garden this year. It’s been a bit crazy weather-wise this year. We had 100°F temperatures in June and a very warm December with 10 days close to 75°F. Hopefully we won’t pay for it in January and February.

A variety of ripe tomatoes.
First of many tomato harvests!

The Harvest

  • Lima Beans: 2 x 50′ rows in a single bed – 15 gallons (in shell)
    • Variety: Fordhook 242
  • Peanuts: 2 x 40′ rows in a single bed – 15+ gallons (in shell)
    • Variety: Jumbo Virginia
  • Tomatoes: 2 x 75′ rows in a single bed, staggered, 3′ spacing – 300+ lbs
    • Varieties: Arkansas Traveler, Traveler 76, Costoluto Genovese, Mountain Fresh Plus, Rutgers Improved, Brandywine, Juliet, Principe Borghese, Japanese Black Trifele, All Meat
  • Tomatillos: 5 plants in a single bed, staggered, 3′ spacing – 15 pounds
  • Peppers: 2 x 40′ rows in a single bed, staggered, 2′ spacing – 8 pounds (see below)
  • Greasy Beans: ~ 6 plants – 2+ pounds – initial attempt, worked well
  • Eggplant: 2 x 10′ rows in a single bed- 35 pounds
  • Asparagus: 2 x 40′ rows in a single bed – first year / no harvest
    • Varieties: Sweet Purple, Jersey Knight
  • Butternut Squash: 20′ row in a single bed – 22 pounds
    • Variety: Waltham
  • Pumpkin: 10′ row – 2-3 (rotted, pests)
    • Variety: Williams Naked Seeded
  • Watermelon: 3 hills – ~8 watermelon
    • Varieties: Congo, Crimson Sweet
  • Corn: 2 x 50′ rows in a single bed – 60+ ears
    • Variety: Silver Queen
  • Snap Peas: 2 x 10′ rows in a single bed – 1-2 pounds
  • Squash & Zucchini: 5 plants – 7 pounds
    • Varieties: Yellow Crookneck, Green Zucchini
  • Cucumbers: 2 x 10′ rows in 2 beds – 25-30 gallons
    • Varieties: Marketer, Ashely, Addis, Sumter
  • Potatoes: 2 – 4 x 10′ beds – 35 pounds
  • Sweet Potatoes: 3 – 4′ x 10′ beds – 125+ pounds
  • Okra: 2 x 10′ rows in a single bed – 8+ gallons
  • Southern Peas: 2 x 25′ rows – 12+ gallons (in shell)
  • Cabbage: 10 plants – all produced very nice heads
  • Broccoli: 5 plants (seedlings) – several very nice heads (needed more)
  • Lettuce: 1 – 4 x 10′ raised bed – more than we could eat
  • Radishes: 1 – 4 x 10′ raised bed – more than we could eat
  • Carrots: 1 – 4 x 10′ raised bed – 10 pounds
    • Varieties: Scarlet Nantes, Danvers Half Long, Purple Haze
  • Garlic: 1 – 4 x 10′ raised bed – planted this fall
    • Varieties: California Early, Inchelium
  • Blackberries: 1 x 60′ row – first year / no harvest
    • Varieties: Prime-Ark 45, Prime-Ark Freedom, Ouachita, Apache
  • Muscadines: 4 x 60′ rows – 200 lbs (several still young)
    • Varieties: Carlos, Noble, Magnolia, Early Fry, Late Fry, Isons, Black Beauty, Darlene, Pam, Big Red
  • Blueberries: 7 plants – 25 lbs (mostly from 2 bushes)
    • Varieties: Bluebelle, Tif Blue, Southland, Climax, Alapaha, Ochlockonee
  • Apples: 13 dwarf trees – still developing, thinned completely
  • Paw Paws: 6 trees – still waiting…
  • Figs: 5 trees – 4 pounds (trees are still young)
    • Varieties: Black Mission, Hardy Chicago Fig, Brown Turkey, Celeste, Violet de Bordeaux
  • Goumi Berries: 1 bush – first year, birds got most of the fruit
  • Pecans: 4 trees – ~10 pecans (first year producing on oldest tree)
    • Varieties: Major, Mandan, Lakota, Gloria Grande

What Did Well

Tomatoes! We ended up making a lot of tomato sauce and salsa, and we gave away over 50 pounds of tomatoes. I was also instructed not to plant so many tomatoes again, though to be fair, this was partially an experiment to see which varieties did best for us. Next year we’ll likely go with: Arkansas Traveler, Costoluto Genovese, Mountain Fresh Plus, and Juliet.

Our blueberries did very well this year after finally protecting them from the birds. We used a long, 10′ wide roll of tulle and wrapped each bush. This was secured with strings crossing over the tops that were tied to bricks. Keeping the birds off apparently makes a huge difference in what we were able to harvest.

Three bowls of rip blueberries.
First blueberry harvest.

The Lima beans and peanuts did well this year despite some critters getting into them. This was our second year doing corn and it did much better than last year, though hopefully we can stagger it a bit next year. The sweet potatoes did very well again this year and we’ve been slowly going through them this winter.

The muscadines did great this year! The majority of the grapes came from our older Carlos, Noble, Darlene, and Big Red varieties, but our newer Black Beauty and Ison varieties did great as well. We had enough grapes to make a little over 3 gallons of dry, red wine and about 4 gallons of dry, white wine. There were still more than enough left over to make a couple dozen jars of jelly!

Ripe muscadine grapes on the vine.
Even our newer muscadines did well this year.

What Didn’t Do Well

Our peppers, grown from seed, started off doing very well, but then developed what appears to be Bacterial Leaf Spot. We pulled all of them as early as we could to avoid the disease spreading to the tomatoes. In the end, we bought a few plants from the store and those did fairly well. Next year we’ll start with new seeds and probably try the suggested hot water treatment if they’re not already pre-treated.

Diseased pepper plants.
Diseased pepper plants.

Pumpkins never do really well for us, but that’s probably because we try to avoid spraying. The variety (Williams Naked Seeded) we grew didn’t do as bad as some, but bugs managed to bore into the pumpkins, and they rotted before fully ripening. As a backup, we always plant butternut squash. It grows and stores well, and it makes a great soup!

How Did Your Garden Do?

Hopefully you had a good year gardening as well! If you found a new favorite or have some suggestions, be sure to leave a comment and let us know. We’re always interested in trying new plants!