For 2015 I set two gardening goals for myself – begin keeping a garden log and saving seed and I did pretty well on both of them. My 2015 garden log ended the year with 8 typed pages and containing details from pounds of tomatoes and serranos harvested to the date of the first and last blueberries. I used Word for Mac so I can keyword search in 2016 (and beyond) if I want to find when I planted the 3rd crop of edamame or when my squash and cucumbers were invaded by cucumber worms. I found I was more diligent about doing entries if I kept the document open on my second monitor at all times so when I began the 2016 garden log earlier this month detailing all the indoor starts for January, I continued with this practice.
Prior to 2015, I had only saved my own cilantro/coriander seed and purchased everything else. At the end of 2015 I had saved 10 different varieties of everything from squash and chili peppers to flowers and tomatoes. My seed box, which has always been full of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds packages is now peppered with the plain brown paper envelopes that I use for my own seed.
For 2016 my two goals are saving even more of my own seed and mulching. Going from 1 to 10+ varieties that I saved seed from in 2015 is good, but I am growing over 53 annual varieties in 2016 so there is plenty of room to continue to improve in this goal.
The Square Foot Gardening method I use places a heavy emphasis on compost but almost none on mulching. The SFG method recommends starting with a 33% compost mixture in the raised beds and continually adding compost as plants are removed and new plants added to each individual square foot, but no mention of covering the soil between and around plants. Soil science as well as observation have led me to understand that just as nature abhors a vacuum and will swiftly fill it, soil abhors being exposed and will cover itself with weeds if it must to protect it from the wind and the sun, allowing it to retain water better and reduce erosion.
So for 2016 I will be experimenting with different types of mulches in my beds to see what works best, doesn’t invite too many visiting pests and makes the plants and soil happy and healthy.
Here’s to getting better every year! #Kaizen