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Lawn and Garden

Evaluating This Years Garden

11/01/2009 - November in Wyoming is a pretty quiet time for gardeners. By now all the leaves have fallen and most of the plants have entered into full dormancy. Usually the ground is so frozen that we couldn't force a shovel into it if we wanted to. Although there are not many things that we can be doing out in the garden in November, it is a great time to look back at our gardening successes, and failures for the season. Doing this now is a good idea because the past growing season is still fresh in our heads.

At the greenhouse we have meetings directly following each crop cycle so that we can discuss how things went, and how we can improve them for the next year. As you are looking back over the past season don't be afraid to pick up a pen and make some notes. This will help you tremendously when it comes time to plant for next season. Make notes on even the smallest things -- if the tomatoes where planted too close together making it hard to harvest them without stepping on them, for example, or if the impatiens seemed to grow slowly, and had yellow spots. Some of your problems such as the tomatoes being too close will have easy solutions, and others like the impatiens with spots will take some time to figure out. But writing them down will enable you to come back to them later and you will not forget them.

Don't forget to write down your successes as well. For instance, if you had a bumper crop of peppers, or a banner display of petunias, write that down, and try to figure out why they did so well.

Most reasons for planting success or failure can be determined by looking at just a few categories. Those categories are soil, water, light, fertilization, pests and pathogens, and other factors. Even if you cannot figure out what the problem was right away, you can usually narrow it down by eliminating categories that you know were not a problem. Unfortunately most planting successes are the result of trial and error over time, so there will likely be some bumps in the road before you become an expert at planting the crop you are working on. Once you know how to produce a great crop, it is just like riding a bike, it becomes second nature. If you have a problem that you just cannot figure out be sure to ask some other gardeners you know. They have likely have had the same problem, and might have an easy answer for you.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and hopefully you will be able to share some of your successes in the garden with your loved ones in the form of pies and other holiday dishes. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving and wonderful start to the holiday season.

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