I dug up the dahlia's and the oriental lillies last weekend and let them dry out over the week. I dug up the lillies because the moles or other rodents like to eat them all in the winter and I can't get them to come up year after year. I cut the stalks off and knocked off the dirt, wrapped them in damp paper towels and put them in a damp burlap bag in the veg drawer of the fridge. I hope it works. I had a gorgeous pale, pale pink lily this year that I'd like to have again next year (see pic). I knocked off the excess dirt on my dahlias and put them in paper bags with pearlite- watered them all down and put them in a cardboard box and put them in the basement. I didn't divide them because I couldn't find any eyes. I'll wait until spring and hope I see some- if they survive. I'm kind of flying blind.
I did end up getting late blight on my tomatoes but not until late, late in the season. Like October, so I'm not complaining. I have the last of the tomatoes in the kitchen. They should be finishing up this week. The ones with the blight are rotting as they ripen so I'm pitching a lot of them out. I pulled up all of the tomato plants and put them in black trashbags- going in the dumpster.
Last weekend I finally got around to planting chard, kale, spinach and lettuce in pots on the deck. I have no idea if it will work. My aunt says they grow lettuce year round (in Zone 5) but I think she does it on her covered porch. I think I can jury rig some kind of clear plastic cover over the pots on the deck if it starts to look promising.
Some notes for next year: Either start the summer squash late (ie: end of June) or start a 2nd planting at the end of June in an attempt to foil the SVB. They got me again this year. I heard there are SVB resistant types but I love cocozelle. I don't see the point in planting zucchini if you can't get the kind you want. Every other gardener has zucchini coming out their ears, I don't know why I don't! I might also try clipping the blossoms off until after July 4, I've read that the SVB moth(?) hones in on the yellow.
I'm not doing eggplant again. I tried them in containers this year. I got a few tiny ones but it's really not worth the effort. I'm also not doing winter squash. Takes up too much space. I do plan on doing more tomatillo plants. I did 2 this year. I'm thinking a minimum of 6 next year. Tomatillos seem to be determinate so they came all at once, I put them in the freezer and had good luck using them frozen. I just didn't have enough to last me past October!
The butterfly feeder is going up again. That was very successful even though I started it so late in the season. I'm also focusing on butterfly host and feeder plants in the front garden next season. I started some butterfly bushes from cuttings this year so I'll plunk those out there either this fall or in the spring (over winter them in the sunroom).
I need more blues/ purples and less pinks in the flower bed on the southside. It was so pink this year I found it hard to look at. It was pretty ugly! I planted a balloon flower over there, I saved some seeds so I'll try to get some more of that. It seems to be a pretty good foil for the pinks.
Less tomatoes next year! As far as the small tomatoes go. I'll stick with Black Cherry, Matt's Wild Cherry and either Coyote or Champagne Cherry. For a GWR I'm going with Aunt Ruby's German Green. Pruden's Purple and Black from Tula are coming back. I think I'll give Black Krim a rest. Absinthe is going to have to go, it was prolific but they didn't seem to ripen very well, they'd go bad almost immediately. I'll probably do Dr Wyche's Yellow, Goose Creek, Berkeley Tie Die and KBX again. I need to really pare it down this year. I did can some but the main problem was the lack of really good tomato growing space. A lot of varieties didn't get a fair shot. I'd like to give Indian Stripe and JD's Special C-Tex a better spot.
The SWC experiment went really well. I plan on making at least 2 more next year. The worm experiment is going well too. I moved the worms into the garage this week. I set container #2 on top of container #1 (full of poop) about a month ago and the worms are starting to migrate up looking for food. I'll have to monitor the temps in the garage and will have to move them into the basement if it gets too cold. My Ruth Stout experiment went really well. It was less work putting the garden in in the Spring and the plants seemed happy this year, I need to put something on the paths next year, that's where the weeds came up. Maybe mulch or something. I didn't shred the leaves I put on the garden this year. Let's see if that works. If it doesn't I'm screwed because there's a lot of leaves out there!The compost tea experiment went really well. For the most part the plants seemed very healthy and prolific this year.
I did have a problem with cucumber beetles for the first time this year. I'm on the fence about planting cucumbers again next year- I ended up with a powdery mildew problem. If I do plant cucumbers I'll go with the lemon cukes- cute and taste great! No more Armenian cucumbers- I've tried and failed 3 years in a row.
As usual I need to keep up better with my mulching and weeding. I definitely need to get mulch for the front beds near the house. They looked BAD this year. I got a lot of compliments on the mailbox garden and a few requests to enlarge it. I'm going to try to convince the better half to move my lilac bushes to a spot along the driveway then maybe I can extend the mailbox bed eastward toward the house to encorporate the lilacs and then add some more plants on the south side.
I took pictures of the beds this year and made notes of where to move things and what to dig up. I need some kind of plan and need to stick to it. Some of the beds look a little schitzo. So that will be #1 goal for next year: Garden design like a sane person.
Goal #2: More butterflies. I have butterfly garden seeds in the fridge from monarch watch, I need to study up on what's native and what I need to plant to attract them and keep them hanging around. It's tough when the neighbors use pesticides.
Goal #3: Visit more professional gardens next year: The Plantations at Cornell, Sonnenberg Gardens, ect. Less time puttering and more constructive use of time.
Goal #4 for next year: Try to mae a cloning machine (ala 7th street cottage). This isn't a major goal but it sounds like a cool thing to try if I can do it cheaply.