When Things don't Turn Out

digit(ID/WA)November 17, 2011

. . . the way you expected them to.

Sure, that's the nature of gardening and differences in weather from one year to the next. But I mean, they really didn't turn out the way you expected because the weather was really more miserable than usual (at least, early on). Still, some things in the garden turned out well!

And now, risking $$, effort, growing space, etc. seems worthwhile but . . . you are still that risk-averse garden creature who usually spends a lot of time hiding behind the bean vines. (Using second person pronouns is a defensive technique often employed, you know.)

So, do you kick out the stops, hope for another year like 2011 (that would be crazy) and go for broke? Or, sneak back to the tried-&-true? (My subject is tomatoes but you can talk about whatever you want to. :o)


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cnetter(z5 Co)

I usually do a mixture of tried and true and new varieties of tomatoes and peppers. If the new variety does really well, I give it another go and see if it continues to do well. Years like this year where I had to worst hail storm I've ever had, I may retry the same new varieties since almost everything was knocked back.
It was definitely a bad year to plant a bunch of new sempervivum in the early summer. The hail damaged them and then it continued to be cold and very wet which rotted them. I'm just going to hope that next spring won't be so bad and replant. Once they are established a year, they can get through bad hail storms and wet weather in future years. My old ones did fine despite the early summer weather.
While I tend to be quite a pessimist, I'm probably a gardening optimist.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 1:18PM
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highalttransplant(z 5 Western CO)

In years like this one, I try not to make any rash judgements. If something didn't produce well, or the tomatoes didn't get as large as expected, I usually will give it another chance, under more ideal circumstances. The exception for me being taste. If it didn't taste good to me, it gets dropped from next year's growlist.

I also do what cnetter does, and grow a mix of favorites and new-to-me varieties.

This year, with it's long, cold spring did make me rethink my habit of relying solely on wintersowing for my tomato crop. Think I will hedge my bet a bit and do a few favorites indoors in addition to the ones I wintersow. That's what I did the first year I tried wintersowing, but that year the wintersown ones ripened at pretty much the same time, and were just as productive as the indoor started ones. So after that year, I started wintersowing all of them. Back to plan A ...

    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 1:55PM
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Bonnie, you had much the same problems aaalll the way down there as we experienced here - cool start to the season. Now, cool starts are fairly standard but records were broken!

C', a bad hailstorm is a catastrophic event! We had a fairly bad 2011 hailstorm but it didn't totally wreck the garden. I have become aware that THOSE kind of storms happen not all that uncommonly in CO.

Here's an example of how things went in the tomato patch: A local gardener with considerable skill made me doubt that my commitment of space to Dagma's Perfection was a wise one. He said that in 2010, he'd only picked a couple fruits off each plant. But, by the time I learned this - I already had 4 DP in the garden.

It really, really looked like I was going to have the very same experience. Then, it warmed up in August and all the dang flowers finally set fruit! The Dagma's Perfection plants were loaded with fruit right up to the end. And, it was a late "end" with a very late frost in October. (See, another variable . .)

None of the tomato plants grew very large in the garden this year. How could they? It was a struggle for them to survive all of the cool weather in Junuary and early July. Still, only a couple of varieties really failed.

The New Large Dwarf produced terribly deformed fruit and the Wow cherries . . . I bet I didn't pick 12 tomatoes off that rangy plant.

Now, I hasten to say that Woodle's Orange was a big find for a small tomato! It was very early and just kept kicking out the fruit for the entire season! Woodle's Orange isn't a cherry but I'd almost be willing to match it against Sungold for earliness and productivity. Now, that's a Wow!


    Bookmark   November 17, 2011 at 3:08PM
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Hedge your bets. That way, no matter what the conditions turn out to be, you will have a mix of successes and failures.

Also, how can you resist trying new things? Or giving something another chance because one year it was fantastic?

So, I usually go for a mix of tried-and-true and also some things that are speculative and/or experimental. If it works, great -- it might get added to the tried-and-true list. If not, then I have space for something new in the garden next year, along with some knowledge about how that item performs in those particular conditions.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 9:35AM
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xaroline(zone 3 Calgary)

Don't beat yourself up over it.
Just think of next season as a new beginning.
Try new and old things and some will work out, and others fail because
one important variable is the weather and climate.
The hockey player: Wayne Gretsky said:
" You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
For a gardener, that means: You would miss 100% of the things you don't plant!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2011 at 8:50AM
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