Last year marked my first time growing fruits and vegetables. It was a steep learning curve filled with ups and downs (a lot of downs) but it was enjoyable and fulfilling. After successfully growing bell peppers, jalapenos, and zucchini, I took the winter off to decide if this was something I wanted to continue pursuing. I do. For another year at least. So here are some of my garden goals for 2018 (and a few nice backyard goals as well). [California, US Hardiness Zone 9B, Western Sunset #14, suburban neighborhood, less than 1/4 acre to plant on]
- Grow more plants. I want to grow several new types of plants this year. This does not apply to zucchini which I’ll only plant two of – four was just too many last year.
- Peas or Beans – Just to say I can and for an excuse to buy a trellis
- Tomato – Only one plant since M doesn’t care for tomatoes. I only want to grow one because I feel you aren’t a vegetable gardener until you’ve tried growing tomatoes.
- Pumpkins – Last year the aphids got to them and I sort of gave up. I’d like to at least get a green pumpkin off them this year.
- Strawberries – I want to try making one of those vertical towers to grow these in.
- Habeneros – My seeds grew last year but never blossomed. Time to try again.
- Bell peppers – Okay so I grew these last year (and I’m trying hydroponically growing them right now). I planted them in March and they didn’t fruit until September. The fruits I got were tiny (my normal 4 pepper batch of fajitas took 7 peppers) and never turned colors even though I planted non-green peppers. I hope to be more successful this year, maybe get a few before late June and then ripen some in September?
- Improve my fence border planter beds.
- Lavender – Last year I planted two lavender plants that never bloomed again but are still alive. I’d like to plant a few more (perhaps a different variety that will work in my yard?) along the back wall and a couple on each of the other two sides. The holes are hard to dig so this may take awhile.
- Alyssum – These are the little white and purple flowers that are prolific in Californian landscaping. They require little water, less upkeep, and they spread rather easily. I bought a pack late last year, watered it, then tried to pull the plants out thus destroying one of six plants. I rage quit that day and stopped watering the alyssum (still in it’s original pack) for two weeks. They baked in our 100+degree summer weather and only a few tiny bits of green were left. I started watering them again and now, during winter, they are outgrowing their original container. So I’ll plant those and buy a few more packs for my planter bed.
- Mulch and weed mat – I keep meaning to level the planters, lay down weed mat, and then mulch the beds. Been meaning to for three years now.
- Prune trees – Chinese Tallow trees are the worst. Prune liberally.
- Create second smaller planter bed with wood bottom for more veggies and to deter some bugs
- Improve my drip irrigation system
- Create “cage” to prevent local cats from getting into veggies. Create moveable sunshade for my poor bell peppers.
- Mulch the unused side yard – Requires cleaning out the year’s worth of weeds, leveling, removing old mulch, and laying down new mulch.
- Improve my compost pile. I tried starting one but I never have enough brown matter for the pile. Also I hate worms and bugs so it has to be closed in.
- Pavers/Stepping stones – Originally I wanted to redo our patio and a lot of our wedding money was going to go towards that. I’ve since decided pavers and stepping stones would be more cost effective so I’ll get a pallet and put them around the beds and yard.
- Finally, purchase a dehydrator or create a solar one so I can store up some of my veggies for winter.
All of this feels very ambitious though it doesn’t look it on paper. A great deal needs to be started in the next month or so (peas should be started soon for an April harvest). I have a loose goal to someday (maybe 2019?) grow 20% of our food (once I figure out what that looks like) so this is my next step.
What are your garden goals for 2018?