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Year End Summary of 2012

So, I am rather of a piler-upper of stuff.  You know, the paperwork stuff I might need, but don't know what to do with right now, and so it stacks up somewhere on a corner of my desk till God knows when.  Or until it's a recycling day and I elect to purge and start over.

Well, I just found a little yellow notepad in that pile with the basest of summaries from my 2012 gardening season.  Here, 'for the record' is the word-for-word, barely one page conclusion for all of my blood, sweat, and tears of garden efforts in 2012:

Success:
V. bonariensis
Onions
Peppers
Lettuce
Aster (1)
Cosmos - good in dry but boring orange
Tomatos

Fail:
Hens & Chicks
Alch
Sunflower Teddy Bear
Zinnia (boring color) Envy
Brocc (never set)
Kale - insects?
Beet - insects?
Squash - vine borers
Chard

That's it.  2012 in a few lines.  A few further explanations of this list, before I forget:

V. bonariensis is the Verbena I started from seed inside last year, transplanted into a dry spot between one of the raised bed boxes and the patio, and watched it bloom it's gorgeous purple head off for the majority of the summer.  An excellent plant, and I hope it will reseed itself there as I've been told it will, because I just plain forgot to buy and sow more seed for it this year.  (Guess I should have kept better track of my notes thought of that before now.)  I did save some seed from it late last summer with good intentions.  If you can find it in my garage, please let me know.  I also read that dill is a great companion plant with V. bone and hope to add that this year.  Yes, that's right, I'm calling it 'V. bone' now, this plant is I are super tight.   


V. bonariensis in the foreground, in my own photo from MN Landscape Arboretum, Aug 2011 

Out of my probably half dozen Aster cells sown in the flat, I got one plant to grow.  Granted, it was old seed from a Spring Tea Party at my Mom's church a few years back.  But grow and bloom that one plant did, and every time I saw it, I thought fondly of my church lady friends in my hometown. 

Cosmos were random seed I believe I got free with a magazine subscription (?).  Although they endured in a sunny dry spot without much babysitting on my part (meaning basically no watering), the flowers of this variety just served as a reminder to me of how much I actually dislike the color orange. 

Hens & Chicks I tried starting from a succulent seed mix I mail ordered from somewhere a few years back.  I got one type of creepy-wacky little succulent buds to germinate out of the mix, but none of the traditional Hen & Chicks rosettes which I wanted, so the whole shebang went in the trash.

Alchemilla seed didn't grow (old seed, or more likely, not terrific conditions for germinating).  I don't care, I have so much of that stuff around the place already that I can basically kick a shovel in the ground near a clump and throw it over my shoulder and it will take root and grow wherever it lands.  I love that stuff. 

Sunflower Teddy Bear apparently needs water.  My bad. 

Zinnias did well enough.  I thought I would love the variety 'Envy' since it is a chartreuse green color that I normally love.  But, when planted on it's own, the flowers fade into the green background of neighboring leaves.  Yawn. 

Broccoli never set any heads before it got so big and ugly and floppy that I just tore it out and sent it to the compost pile.  I concluded since it is a cool crop maybe it got too warm in the raised beds?  Or maybe I should have started it earlier?  Soil was too rich?  Also had a few bugs eating it.  Maybe better them than me : )  Unless it's broccoli covered w/ melted cheese.

Kale, Beets, and Chard I tried sowing outdoors in a nostalgic fit for heirloomy, uber-healthy plants, and also in the spirit of experimentation, since I don't typically grow or eat any of these, honestly.  They sprouted, and then bugs seemed to like them more than I.  By then, other more exciting staples like tomatoes and peppers were taking over and getting larger and more exciting in other parts of the garden, so I lost my enthusiasm for these.  I cut my losses, pulled the remaining buggy seedlings out and seeded some mini pumpkins in that bed, if I remember correctly.  No doubt I give up too easily.  I think I had ordered the seed and started them out there somewhat late though. 

My winter squashes had some damage from Squash Vine Borers, which I probably wouldn't have figured out immediately, but read about them at just the right time in Northern Gardener magazine and realized that's what I should be looking for.  Sure enough, there were the wilted leaves and the holes in the vines where those little critters got in and munched.  You can do 'vine surgery' to try to extract and squish the little buggers, or cut off the whole affected vine and trash it.

So that was 2012.  Hmm, I ask myself.  Was all that trouble worth it?  Oh, most definitely.  The Girl and I were entertained, we ate some healthy, homegrown food (and killed some also, but still...), and had an excuse to be out in the sunshine and breeze more often than not.  Of course it was worth it. 

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