Well, I find it helpful in the fall to evaluate what went well and what did not in my gardens and with my herbs. Here are some lessons learned this year:
1. Propagating English Lavender worked well and is pretty easy but they didn't flower the first year. Here's to hoping on abundance of flowers next year or I'm gonna need to do some more research. Plants look and smell awesome. If I have a profusion of blooms next year, I will share how to propagate on the blog.
2. Dead heading is a lot more powerful than I thought. I have had re-blooming of Monarda all summer long thanks to cutting flowers for tea blends. Also true of Echinacea, Black Eyed Susan's, St. John's wort, and my Phlox. I had an abundance of blooms this year. I had only dead-headed annuals in the past
3. Stop overcrowding the garden. I tend to forget just how big these plants get by late July and inevitably crowd something out (like feverfew this year) or get slugs where too crowded.
4. Found zone 4 friendly Hibiscus Plants and love them. Need a few more for next year to keep up on my Zesty Hibiscus tea.
5. Planting Gotu Kola and Skullcap in large planters worked well. Finally I successfully grew these plants. Next year need to add a few more planters. Well let you know how well these pots overwinter next spring.
6. Created more garden space for next season and need to plant more peppermint, lemon balm, feverfew, catmint, motherswort, meadowsweet and hibiscus. These are the herbs I was running out of. Planning ahead to start these plants indoors for planting next spring.
7. Planted Russian Licorice, Black Cohosh and Angelica this year. So far they are looking great. The Cohosh got eaten down by some mice and I thought I lost them but it grew back nicely once I dealt with the mice. Looking forward to seeing how well they survive the winter here and come back next spring.
8. Put in American Cranberry bushes this spring. Boy does it make a difference working with bare root bushes versus potted. They acclimate quickly to the new location and grow fast. This will be my future source of crampbark for the Beautiful Woman Tea blend; it is very hard to get crampbark commercially.
9. This spring I am going to make sure I collect buds from Cottonwood trees and Poplar trees for making oils and Balm of Gilead. I missed it this year.
10. Horehound is another new herb I planted from seed this year and it grows quickly and easily. Lesson learned is not to place plants needing water with plants that want very little water i.e. lavender, horehound and violets are probably not the best mix.
11. I need to remember to harvest bark from willow branches that fall to the ground during every wind storm.
12. Making Flower Essences was a success this year. What a lovely way to harvest and utilize the beautiful flowers in my garden to bless others.
Every Summer is different with varying weather patterns, rainfall, bugs and plants experimented with. I spent very little on watering this year - lots of rain - but also had an abundance of slugs this year. Found their slime trails everywhere. They had an abundant diet of kale, lettuce, Holy Basil, Strawberries, chrysanthemum and feverfew. I need to be more vigilant in dealing with the slugs early on.
The warm temperatures in early summer helped get a jump start on growth quickly and allowed plentiful harvest, even with a cool and wet August.
While its always a crap shoot about survival through the winter in my gardens, here's to a winter with ample snow, few days colder than -20 degrees and an early spring.
Hope your gardens are well and that maybe my lessons help you as well.