Monday, January 2, 2012

New Year 2012

I'm looking back at my New Year's post for 2011 to see what ended up actually happening compared to what I planned to do. Of course the biggest garden story of 2011 was the drought. Not only that, but one of the worst droughts in Texas history! So a lot of my garden resolutions didn't come to fruition just because of that.

I didn't harvest my garlic earlier, keep on top of the squash vine borers better, or get some fall tomatoes all because all that stuff was ruined by drought anyway. Pretty much the only summer crops I harvested at all were a few tomatoes and peppers.

Another one of my resolutions was to be more careful about watering, but I ended up using more water in 2011 than I did in 2010 because I didn't have the heart to just let my whole garden wither and die, which it would have if I hadn't watered once a week. The really bad thing is that most things died anyway, because once a week watering wasn't enough in the extreme heat and drought, and the things that didn't die didn't yield a good enough harvest to be worth it.

I did manage to save some seed from my Rio Grande paste tomatoes and Ms. Burns Lemon basil, but there was nothing else to save seed from.

Another accomplishment was getting a soil test done, which revealed that my garden is good on all nutrients except nitrogen, which is much better than I expected. However, this may become irrelevant in 2012, for a reason I will get to shortly. For the same reason, I may not have to worry about Bermuda grass or finishing my rock borders in 2012.

One thing that did happen on 2011 that affected my garden in a more indirect way is that I finally got a job. I was unemployed for most of 2010, but in 2011 I got a job as an adjunct biology professor. This may explain why I posted to this blog 61 times in 2010, but only 47 times in 2011. I had a little less time on my hands, though my job is still a part time one. Maybe in 2012 I'll get a second part time job, or get a full time job at last, but then I'll have to learn to keep up with my garden with even less time on my hands. My garden has been very important to my mental health during this time, giving me something to do that feels productive and worthwhile.

2012 Garden Outlook

1. Moving! The big story for 2012 is that I'm probably going to be moving! My fiance (we're getting married in March) has decided that, at least with his salary, we can afford to buy a house. Our mortgage payments would end up being less than what we're paying for rent now, and he can get a VA loan since he's a veteran. So if all goes well, I'll be breaking completely new ground in 2012. That means I'll have to start over with some things, which will take up most of my garden work. I'll have to get a new soil test, and start digging up grass and building up planting beds all over again. It'll give me a lot to blog about though.

2. Will the Drought Continue? I've heard different things about whether we'll have another summer in 2012 like the one in 2011. I hope not, but if so, I'll have to go ahead and let things die if it comes to that. It's a complete waste of water to keep plants alive that aren't going to bear fruit anyway because it's too hot, and by the time it cooled down, what did survive didn't have time to do anything before it froze.

3. Because of these previous two things, I'm going to have to be more conservative about what I plant in 2012. Depending on when exactly we're going to move (which might be as soon as February or March), I probably shouldn't plant anything new in my current garden at all, and just let what I have finish out. Then I won't have much time to get my new garden ready before the summer heat sets in. I'm trying to think of what crops I should concentrate on in my new garden that first year. I already have tomatoes and peppers started, so I'll have to plant those. Besides that, maybe legumes to start building up the soil? It might depend on my soil test.

Of course I've got big dreams for the new place that I haven't been able to do while renting a house, including planting perennials like asparagus and berry bushes and fruit trees, and rigging up some sort of greywater system. I need to not get too excited and get ahead of myself here. We haven't even made an offer on a house yet!

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