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Lessons Learned in One Year in a Vegetable Garden

It has been just a year now since we were given the wonderful opportunity to meet with you here each week. And it has been an exciting year in the garden.


Here are some of the things we learned:

1. Gherkins (pictured) are to-date the oddest looking food we have grown.

2. It is possible to overplant beans. Fortunately they can be frozen, canned, pickled, and dehydrated, and stored anywhere from 6 months to years. Now we just need a few more creative ways to enjoy them.

3. White cherry tomatoes are actually yellow, not white. But they are delicious and prolific.

4. Okra gets big and woody really fast. If you don’t get to garden as often as you would like, choose a larger variety like 'Long Pod'.

5. From that lesson we learned that even woody okra can be dehydrated and ground into a powder that can then be used to thicken sauces and casseroles.

6. Never underestimate how much water is left in a hose. Trust me on this one.

7. Ginger grows into a beautiful houseplant before it is time to dig the root. So lovely in fact, that harvest time will be bittersweet.

8. It can be a tough choice trying to pick just one variety of corn to grow. One variety each year is a little more doable.

9. Almost any vegetable can be grown vertically. Try attractive 'Red Malabar' spinach for wonderful fresh eating and saving space. It is also slow to bolt and when it does, it is even prettier.

10. That green beans and shell beans often look the same. It’s important to keep good notes. See #2.

11. Squash bugs love yellow summer squash, something we normally haven’t grown. We will probably avoid planting them in the future.

12. And we learned that accidentally knocking over the compost bin would end up providing us with a wall of tomatoes and an abundant crop.

Lessons learned in the garden, whether easily or the hard way, are always good. After all, as gardeners, we want to keep ourselves growing, not just our plants.

Gardening Jones is a master gardener based in Pennsylvania. Learn more at her blog.
Learn something new each season as you grow vegetables all year with The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener by Niki Jabbour.

Get a bunch of hand-picked vegetable-growing resources in the specially priced Start Planning Your Vegetable Garden Value Pack.

Learn what vegetables make the best companions for each other with the classic book Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte.