At the end of the year, take some time to reflect on what worked and what didn’t work in your garden. We asked them what they learned and allowed them to share their thoughts with you, our loyal readers.
I’ll go first In 2021, I planted some bare-root oaks that I purchased from New Hampshire in an open pasture that was previously grass for a customer. Based on that success, I was able to get rare trees that weren’t available locally, so I planted more this year.
Bare-root trees are usually pencil-thick and have about a foot of roots with 18- to 24-inch bare trunks. I found growers in Vermont who were willing to sell them, but most growers sell them to the nursery and pot them for a year or two and sell them. You can find growers who ship bare-root trees and shrubs to .They are easy to ship and contain no soil. It is also cheaper than a tree that has been cared for and watered for several years.
The downside is that bare-root trees are generally only sold during their dormant season and should be planted as soon as they arrive. but you need to plant it in the ground as soon as you get it.
A friend of mine bought a house in Southern New Hampshire and planted a vegetable garden for the first time this year. She was surprised that her tomatoes were free of late blight, and she was delighted. This didn’t surprise me at all. So many tomato-killing fungi live in the soil, and in new locations she rarely shows up until the second year.
She also reported that some of the newly raised beds lay so hard on the ground that even a shovel could not be put into them. The wooden bed was eight inches high, but it had poor drainage, and none of the root crops did well. In the spring she will dig out the soil, remove her bed and on the ground she will lay 2 inches of coarse sand. Then she swaps out the soil for the wooden bed and does what she does best, I think the problem will be solved, especially if she adds a lot of compost to the soil in the bed.
Some of our dear friends in their 80s sold their homes and shrunk their yards significantly this year. “The concept of growing has been in our minds all our lives. We are not going to stop,” I was told. , using raised beds to grow vegetables. The beds are far enough apart that people with walkers can easily move around. I no longer grow potatoes or carrots, but will continue to grow lettuce, herbs and some tomatoes. “Gardening is still on our minds,” said a friend of mine.
This year another friend reminded me that if you’re not “happy” where your perennials are planted, move them! She said she put some in a place that was too shady. So she dug it up and moved it to a better spot later in the season. You can move almost anything. Go on a cool cloudy or rainy day. Peony can also be moved if you are careful.
Another friend said he learned to use hydrogen peroxide as a preventive against fungus on grapes. 10 water to 1 oxide). He then filled his large sprayer to apply it. He sprayed after pollination but before the vines appeared. Unlike chemical sprays, he says, it just breaks down into water and oxygen.
Another friend moved to Vermont from New York and is working on maintaining and personalizing the large flower garden that came with the house. She said it’s important to realize how much energy it takes to properly maintain a large garden. She has learned to focus on her one area at a time.
He also says that he learned the importance of acting on his own ideas, even if he inherited a wonderful garden. I accept. Each of us needs to personalize our space and grow the plants we love. For example, I like and collect flowers called burnet (Sanguisorba spp.).
Burnet blooms in mid to late summer, varies in size from small (6 inches tall) to giant (6 feet tall), and grows best in moist soil and full sun. We add a few more each year. My latest addition is S. hakusenensis called ‘Lilac squirrel’. I consider it a “pink squirrel”. The flowers are fuzzy, much like squirrel tails, but much smaller. Mine is pink, not lilac. Not common in most garden centers, but available from Digging Dog Nursery in California.
Finally, even the most experienced gardeners make mistakes. One of her friends this year cut off the tops of her Brussels sprouts around Labor Day as recommended to get big sprouts. But she forgot to harvest until her November. By then the spout was bigger than a golf ball and some were passing by.
Yes, we all learn new techniques, try new plants, and do our best to be good gardeners. We hope to see you next year.