Anyone who gardens knows that we planters can't control the urge to plan for next year. We'll be planting seeds in the early spring and already thinking about what we will do differently next year - We'll start earlier, have more varieties, only plant that one kind of bean, build a trellis over the winter, move the beds in a better configuration...it's a constant thing.
I've been planning all kinds of neatly organized, weed free garden plantings for next year, while I stare at the sad overgrown patch that I continue to dive into every few days for more produce. I had planned on a few fall crops, and have actually planted some kale and snow peas already, but my fall garden plans are coming to a close. We currently have a huge infestation of squash bugs and these other red/orange bugs that I have yet to identify. I've been beating them back a bit with some vinegar and soapy sprays, but they have a hold on these plants like nobodies business and my yields are getting smaller and smaller.
So today, I took the first step towards next year - I began fall clean up a bit early, and started pulling all the "too far gone" infested plants. It was quite sad, but it had to be done. It looks like our cherry tomatoes are continuing to do fine - the Roma's are a mess. We have a few late peppers, and I pulled up our first parsnips today! So although the cucumbers and melons have bit the dust, we are still getting some vittles. We did have a lot of cantaloupe plants which did really well at the beginning of the summer until the squash bugs got them. Not one melon came out of the garden, but we did get one that self sowed under our composter. We opened it today and it was pretty good - not as sweet as I like, but decent for a volunteer!
We also have a few pumpkins - one came off the vine today, and there are two or three more in the garden. I pulled the last of the beets and turnips, and a few carrots, and I think our string beans are on their last legs too.
So what does next year hold? Well, raised beds will be the answer to my inability to weed large pathways. I'm planning four or five beds with a streamlined veggie selection. There was too much planted this year and it was hard to keep it all maintained and separated as the garden grew. In my ideal vision, the garden beds are around a little patio area with a bistro table or bench, and they are neat and tidy with trellises and stakes that are functional but look reasonable as well. We'll do lettuce and spinach again as we really ate well in the spring this year. I'll plant more string beans since the kids and I love them, and Honey has grown to enjoy them (I think - he eats them, so I'm making an assumption here). I'd like to do cucumbers and tomatoes, and maybe set aside an area of the yard for vining plants like pumpkins, squash, and melons. We had way too many patty pan squash this year - although they have been really mild and surprisingly sweet, and a bit too much in the greens department. As I plan, my small plans become bigger and bigger....I can already see it happening. A terraced area for an English herb garden with a boxwood hedge....
Maybe the following year.