American Gardens: Winding Up The Season

As the days are growing shorter, our American Gardeners are sharing their end of season experiences. Two had great seasons, one was disappointed, but they’re all ready to start growing again next spring.

Tim's new raised beds! If DIY isn't for you, consider Lehman's Space Saver Garden Beds.

Tim’s new raised beds! If DIY isn’t for you, consider Lehman’s Space Saver Garden Beds.

Tim, from Ohio says that he’s getting tomatoes, and a few other things, but the rabbits at his retirement land got fat and sassy on his carrot and lettuce seedlings. “Rabbit tastes pretty good, though,” he writes, “and I guess I got some harvest from the garden in the end.”

He really liked the fact that all the seeds he got from Lehman’s were heirloom varieties, because he could save out some of the seeds from his harvestable vegetables for next year.

Being in the AG group gave him motivation to get the garden in shape on his retirement land.

Space Saver Garden Beds

Empty, Space Saver Garden Beds are easy to move. Filled and planted, they’re easy to weed and water. At Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio, and Lehmans.com.

“My tall raised beds are three courses of 2x4s, with the sides set at 168°. I painted the insides with Behr No-VOC latex for extra protecton. After I had them assembled in place, I dug out under the corners and side supports so I could install them evenly and flush. Each bed took 50 five gallon buckets of compost. After four weekends at work, 340 ‘bucket trips’, and 50 naproxen sodium tablets, they were done, and they’re going to be better next year.”

The Home Water Supply Book

Be efficient! The Home Water Supply Book shows you how. At Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio, and at Lehmans.com.

Glynis, living in the foothills of the Arizona desert had an enemy tougher than rabbits: drought. Her area of the country is in an extended dry period, and because the spring rains didn’t last near as long as she’d hoped, she had very little extra water to lavish on the garden. “We do use biodegradeable soaps, but water is so scarce. Even though we water plants with graywater, there was precious little of it to go around. The spring crops did well, though, and I really liked the lettuce.”

BGirard's heirloom carrots on right, grocery store seed carrots on left.

BGirard’s heirloom carrots on right, grocery store seed carrots on left.

BGirard, working an urban garden near Indianapolis got great results from her Lehman’s hierloom seeds. You’ve probably seen her carrot fan photo (right) on our Facebook page, and she’s contributing regular articles on how she’s preserving her harvest: drying, fermenting, and canning vegetables from her garden. She and her hubby virtually devoured the Three Heart Lettuce when it was in season, and she’s hoping for a second season with some retained seeds.

Ball Collectible Green Jars

Giving your canned goods as gifts? Consider Ball’s® collectible, limited edition green glass canning jars. . At Lehman’s in Kidron, Ohio or at Lehmans.com.

Kathy in Massachusetts is canning and preserving like a madwoman too. She and her family welcomed the Three Heart Lettuce, Dragon Carrot, Little Potato Cucumber, and Black Cherry Tomato seeds. Although they ate much of their harvest fresh, the carrots will find their way into Kathy’s wonderful chicken stock (recipe to appear soon!), and the cukes and carrots will make great fermenting and pickling partners. Her vegetable juice recipe is a real winner, and will incorporate everything that certain national brand does…but we all know homegrown tomatoes and other veggies will make it so much better.

Our American Gardener crew won’t sit idle over the fall and winter: each is already planning a bigger and better garden for next year.

Meanwhile, a tester for our Raised Bed Gardening Set is one happy camper. Meagan Sorensen at The Bee Hive Buzz checked it out, along with many of our heirloom seeds from Seed Savers. We sent her a few of the seeds our American Gardener folks used, and she invested in a few more.

“Lehman’s sent me some of their Seed Savers Exchange USDA Organic Garden Vegetable Seeds to plant in my garden and I’ve had some great compliments on my Rhubarb Red Swiss Chard down at our farmer’s market.  My Danvers CarrotsKale, and Tomatoes are also grown from Lehman’s Seed Savers Exchange vegetable seeds.  My Halladay’s tomatoes (Mortgage Lifter tomatoes) and Black Cherry Tomato plants grew taller than I am.  

We’ve also got some Seed Saver’s Exchange Lazy Housewife Pole Beans growing along one of our fences in the yard as well and the plants not only provide us with some great produce, but the plants are beautiful growing in and out of the lattice that makes up our fence.”

It’s never too early to start planning your next garden! As you put this year’s garden to bed, and put up the last of the harvest, make a list of what worked for you and what didn’t, and use that as you plan your Garden 2015.