Garden Goals 2018

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]

  1. 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.
    1. Peas or Beans – Just to say I can and for an excuse to buy a trellis
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. Strawberries – I want to try making one of those vertical towers to grow these in.
    5. Habeneros – My seeds grew last year but never blossomed. Time to try again.
    6. 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?
  2. Improve my fence border planter beds.
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
  3. Prune trees – Chinese Tallow trees are the worst. Prune liberally.
  4. Create second smaller planter bed with wood bottom for more veggies and to deter some bugs
  5. Improve my drip irrigation system
  6. Create “cage” to prevent local cats from getting into veggies. Create moveable sunshade for my poor bell peppers.
  7. Mulch the unused side yard – Requires cleaning out the year’s worth of weeds, leveling, removing old mulch, and laying down new mulch.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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?