- The bucket organizer was extremely helpful. This simple bucket of tools stands at the ready by the back door whenever I head outside. In the bucket: different types of tying items (green Velcro, cable ties, stretchy plastic ties, twine), cutting items (floral snips, regular scissors, pruners), identification items (permanent marker, pencil, wooden popsicle sticks, plastic knives - and in this case, plastic forks b/c I ran out of plastic knives), liquid items (bug spray, castile oil soap, seaweed/fish emulsion), gloves, and my Planter's Buddy 7 in 1 tool.
- This year, I realized that seed is cheap, and not something to hoard. It is easier for me to thin carrots if need be, than to realize weeks later that I didn't plant enough.
- I was more creative this year in my use of harvested vegetables. I ended up with a lot of chili peppers that I dried or made sauce out of. I also tried canning this year, which as a first-timer, I found very cool but tedious. Hopefully with the right materials, next year will be easier. There's nothing like the winter season to reset the perseverance switch. Next year, I will hope for abundance and won't be afraid that I won't be able to use everything fresh, because there are many ways to use vegetables both at the time of harvest and by saving to use later.
- The new stone potager worked out very well for me. The size of my backyard kitchen garden is limited due to the amount of sun I have, but the look of the new potager is great, and the space is as maximized as it's going to be. More on the potager in a later post.
- Though I am drawn to all the neat seed starting systems in the catalogs I've been getting daily, I must forgo any new system as I have found that my seed starting system works extremely well for me. My system involves 2 1/4" peat pots, seed starting mix, a heating pad, a square tray from IKEA, plastic rectangular carry-out food containers (which hold 6 square pots perfectly), Glad press-and-seal, grow lights, and lots of books to raise the containers to the correct heights. More on this later as well.
- This year, I noted significant dates on the big family calendar and that has helped me be less neglectful and forgetful. For example, I jotted down a target "planting out" date, and also made notes about hardening off the week prior to that date. I also include dates such as: garlic planting day, fall veggie planting day, and mark the calendar for every 2 weeks to use a foliar spray. These are all dates I would surely forget if they were not on the calendar. More on this later as well (possibly).
What trick has worked well really for you this year?