A New Season Begins for the Market Gardener

As the new gardening season quickly approaches it’s time to go over notes and reflect on last year’s season. For most gardeners we know that every season can’t be the best and last year was a bit rough for me. Some things did go just perfectly while others, well not so great!

But that’s good. It’s those not-so-great things that help us learn and make us work a bit harder to improve on the mistakes we made. So I go into this year, just like I do every year… with high hopes!

Let’s start with a good thing from last year. Last season I was able to obtain a bit more ground. Thanks to a brother-in-law, I got full run of nearly an acre or so. Now, this was new ground so I was not able to work it as well as I would have liked, and it still needs lots of work, but I was able to put about a 1/8th of it into production. Weeding was the worst problem. It was almost impossible to keep up with the weeds!

My worst problem was being hit with a bad case of squash bugs in the melons which took out several plants almost overnight. One day everything is green and thriving and the next day, well, it was tough to see.

Herbs have been going strong now at the markets and last season I decided to expand on my herbs.  Basil is always big, as well as thyme, sorrel, oregano, and lemon balm. This season I hope to expand even more.

I also plan to start my green peppers indoors a week or so earlier than last year. Last year I started them about the third week of March and I did not think they were hearty enough when time came to put them in the garden. I put in about 100 green pepper plants so this year I want them to be bigger and stronger. Another week of growing might do them well, at least I hope.

I start most of my plants indoors, but this year I will move them to an empty room in the house where it will be much warmer. I will have to use a bit more artificial light but I think the added warmth will prove a bit more beneficial to the growing plants. I hope to be a bit more aggressive  and start my leeks earlier this year as well, because last year the plants just did not have the strength.

Late last season I was able to purchase a large green house from a grocery store that had closed. It had been sitting out behind the store for several weeks when I went and made an offer (very cheap offer). It did not have any plastic but the metal frame was in very good shape. Needless to say they were glad to get rid of it. And now I hear they may have another!

I put in more garlic last fall and I hope to keep expanding. Garlic sells at the market and very rarely do you ever have any left. With good storage you can hold it for a while, if you do have any left.

I tried some Thai peppers last season and did not have much luck. But I believe I did not start them early enough so they too were not strong when I put them in the ground. I do not plant them for edible reasons at least not from my standpoint. The peppers grow upright and when the plant is picked you can make it into the most beautiful wreath. I will start them early and hope I can turn them in to an added value product at the market.

In the next few weeks I hope to be tapping a few maple trees in hopes of making a few jars of maple syrup for the family. But after that it’s time to finalize the planting schedule, get some plants started and hope for another fun season with the market garden.