A personal record of what's going on in my Northern Michigan zone 4 gardens. I use raised beds and grow organically. Nothing fancy--just trying to garden with nature in mind.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

End of 2011 Season RoundUp: Part 1- The Losers

Look at that gorgeous melon plant. Hearts of Gold. And 2011's winner of the LOSER category.


Why?? My stupidity. Yup. My growing season.......short. Hearts of Gold's growing season....90 days. Or should I say 90 HOT days, which we can't seem to manage up here. So--why didn't I put the Hearts of Gold in the raised beds, where I could MAKE IT HOT???? Instead, I put the Fastbreak Melon in there-which only needs 69 days. So, I am sitting with darn near a dozen very UNRIPE melons on the ground, and I'm desperately running out there covering them with blankets and tarps every night. And, I know they won't ripen. We've already had lots of frost. Sigh. NEXT YEAR----PUT IN A RAISED BED WITH A COLDFRAME, Dummy!!




Runner Up---Green beans. Doesn't matter which of the 3 varieties I planted because I did this stupid manuever with all of them. Sowed a row, waited a week, sowed another row RIGHT NEXT TO IT. Well, guess what. Stupid. DO NOT PLANT DOUBLE ROWS----TOO HARD TO HARVEST. Seemed like a good idea at the time, but makes it almost impossible to see all the beans. I'm only planting them on the very outside from now on. Carrots can fill up the center of the beds.





I like to put flowers on the ends of the raised beds--makes it look a little less graveyard-y.




This combo of Verbena and Nicotiana looked great in the beginning, but FRIED by summers end. Do not repeat.





Sheet Mulching was another stupid thing I did this year. I tried to cover the SW bed with double layers of cardboard and a good 8+ inches of Donkey Doo. Within 2 weeks the lilies and Bishops Weed began arising from their stinky grave. DIG THE BEDS, SUE!! Stop taking short cuts.






The north side of the sidewalk border. Hated it. The marigolds CLASH with the Rudbeckia 'Goldsturm', the Osteospermum spent more than half the summer in various stages of NON-blooming. Rethink the whole thing.





Cosmos--Don't try putting it in a bed and expect it to behave. Love the "blousy" blooms, but they need space and lots of it. It ran right over the Eryngium you see in the middle of that bed.





And, after a lifetime of trying Phlox, I officially give up. It looks SPECTACULAR in everyone elses' garden but mine. This is NOT mildew, my loves. This is DRY SANDY SOIL and what it does best--sucks the life out of anything. I love Phlox, but it does NOT love me back.




Next week, I'll have the post on my 2011 Winners--the best plants or ideas about my garden.


The final posts for this year will be the Harvest Totals and Notes for Next Year. I can't believe how fast this summer went. That's okay though, because my love for each season runs about 3 months. I'm ready for fall---crisp days, bike rides, hiking, and getting to know my house again!




Have a wonderful week in the garden!


23 comments:

  1. There are so many sayings...live and learn, we learn by our mistakes. I think your overall gardening experience will go down as good in my books. My gardening problem this year was too many tomato plants...I just couldn't stop myself at the being of the season.

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  2. Next year I'm gonna rip up my whole yard and make it unsuccessful like your yard. Home beautiful might show up--all kidding aside I do see where you may have cut corners a bit but it still looks beautiful but something tells me sue is a bit of a perfectionist

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  3. Reading your list of losers makes me feel a little better about my failures. Melons that started out great and then rotted on the vines, beans that were infested and then the whole thing toppled over... The list goes on... But, there is always next year and hopefully I won't make the same mistakes again. Can't wait for your winner's list!

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  4. Sue, gardening is just one big experiment. Isn't it? I'm kind of on your trail. Most of my brilliant ideas look good in the springtime but not so much by the time fall rolls around. This year I did get the front patio trellis figured out and it looked quite nice all year long. Imagine that. If I keep after it enough, I can get a good looking garden. I don't have too many summer and fall flowers. Mine are mostly spring time flowers. I really should try to integrate more seasonal flowers into my landscape.

    I'm glad there are positive things that happened in your garden this year as well. It's just been a very strange year in the garden. There's always next year. Have a great day planned next year's garden.

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  5. It all looks beautiful to my drought, heat stricken eyes. What a healthy looking garden you have despite your planting mistakes.

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  6. BackRoad --It is hard to limit tomatoes--so many varieties! And they ALL sound perfect. My new goal-try 3 new a year, and always grow my favorite, Don's favorite and a cherry type.

    Judy--a BIT of a perfectionist? Hubby would tell you I'm full blown!! But, I enjoy it. Keeps me out of his hair---so he enjoys it too!

    Anke-that's the very best part about gardening--there is always NEXT YEAR. I wonder what NEW mistakes I'll be making................

    David--I think if we combined gardens , we'd be doing pretty good. I have zero spring flowers ....and I NEED to get going on that. It's sooo dull around here until mid June.

    Lancashire Rose-I certainly hope you find some relief from that drought! Though, I must say--your garden is STILL stunning.
    :)

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  7. Personally, I love to see the "real" parts of people's gardens!! It makes me feel better about my own "real" aspects. .dead stuff. .insect ravished stuff. .poorly designed stuff. .you know the list goes on and on!! The great part is being able to do what we love. .and not giving up when things (like phlox. .I feel your pain)give up on us!! I think the optimistic characteristics that most gardeners share is the hope for the future!! Have a great week!

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  8. Isn't it funny how we always have to try something new only to klunk ourselves upside the head for not doing what whe KNOW works? I'm right there with ya...

    Klunk away!

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  9. Melanie-wise words indeed. I'd garden no matter what--and laughing at our goofs is half the fun.
    And of course, there is always NEXT YEAR!
    :)

    APG-looking back on my notes a few days ago, there were things I wrote about that hinted at some of these mishaps. I guess I should have reread them at planting time????????
    :D

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  10. Hi Sue,
    How boring it would be if everything we did each year turned out perfect!

    your Osteospermum sounds like my gerbera daisies. They look great when they bloom, which is rarely. I spent 3/4 of the summer with no blooms on those baskets. I don't know why I keep trying them!

    Live and learn. I bet by next May we will both be eager to try it all again!

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  11. SUE-- Frost?!?!?! That is amazing! I hope the melons work out. I Can't get my mind wrapped around how cold it is there or anywhere. They have said that it is a little cooler this time of the year at just under 90 degrees. I miss being up north.. Big Sigh!!

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  12. Sue, I still think you are a Gardener Extraordinaire despite what you say about what didn't work this season! I have never had melons like that even if they don't ripen. And if you saw my poor, sad tomatoes, you would laugh or cry, depending on your mood. If there is a society for the Ethical Treatment of Vegetables they will soon be picketing my front yard. (I wonder what they'd throw at me, though, couldn't be Rotten Tomatoes if they are true to their Cause.)

    Anyway, I've been thinking about you since you mentioned your first frost. We're facing two nights (Wednesday and Thursday) coming up this week and I'm SO not relishing the idea of hauling all my bedsheets outside to cover the aforementioned tomatoes and all my silly annuals. But I'll do it anyway. I'm a sucker for punishment (and laundry, lol!)

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  13. You have a funny way of reprimanding yourself for your garden/landscape blunders. But learning from mistakes is what makes gardening/landscaping an adventure. May cost us dearly from time to time and be cause for frustration (like your issue with phlox)but it's what makes it all fun and worth it. Just keep going. Am sure your winners list will be awesome.

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  14. Zoey-I'm already thinking of next year!! And excited about it too!!

    ATW-well, you have some BIG advantages way down there too, so I guess all gardeners have their plus factors (and negatives too-rats!)

    Karen-you're so funny! Maybe the society for ethical treatment of vegetables throws...kittens?
    LOL!

    Landscaping Katy-thanks so very much...I appreciate your kind words. It's all a learning curve. I just wish I'd run out of blunders....

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  15. The trials in the garden make us better at it. I started my spring seeds too late myself. Enjoy fall coming your way!

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  16. Daisy-I am getting excited for fall. Are you?
    It's been an odd summer for all of us.

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  17. I am just a novice at gardening so I though all your plants and flowers look great. If these ae the losers, I can not wait to see the winners. Have a great day!

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  18. Eileen-Thanks so much. I guess we all put high standards on ourselves. I have some wild ideas sometimes, and if it doesn't turn out the way I thought, I get tough on myself.
    Hope your week is going well!

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  19. Just catching up with my blog reading...and I am with you. Ready for the next season to begin.

    Sue, you have such a knack for making your mistakes even look good!. But really, a wise person learns from their mistakes and creates something even better. You are so wise. :) Now I move on to part two. :)

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  20. Well, Sue, you are more ambitious in your veggie gardening than I am. I wish I had the time and skills to make all the structures and things you do. I am hoping to get some of that fabric ordered, though, and figure out how to put hoops up.

    We are always our own worse critics. I like your bed with the marigolds and such. Still, it's always fun to switch things up.

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  21. CG Sue-thanks so much for your very kind comments. The bed with the marigolds just didn't bloom well this year-it ended up being "blank" most of the summer-a real disappointment compared to last years bed. Back to the drawing board (and I agree-that's the fun part!)

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  22. Love the "loser" list. My melons did nothing this year because I shaded them early with peas. Don't plant them together thinking the vines will fill in the space when the peas are gone. Then, it was tooooooo hot. Nothing bloomed. No blooms, no fruit. Good tip on bean planting. I like the flowers tucked in by the beds I let some self seeding flowers have those spaces too.

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  23. Gardener on SS-I know you had a really rough summer weather-wise. NEXT YEAR! Really-that is going to be the good year we've all been waiting for!!!
    :)

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