Whew. I haven't posted about gardening in a long time, and for good reason...I just plain got swamped. This was pretty much the year that everything involving gardens crashed for me! My seedlings all failed for various reasons. I found that I have physically deteriorated significantly since just last year and can't keep up with a garden the size of the one I planted. My niece and her fiance promised to help all summer, but they haven't been able to. I started classes again recently for a change in life direction. On top of all that, I was subscribed to every gardening group known to Yahoo, and my mailbox was overstuffed every day! It just plain got to me, and as I am likely to do when faced with too much, I wasn't able to do much of anything. (Except the classes. I got A's.)
So here's the story. Once this year's garden is done, I am radically rethinking it. For one, far fewer tomatoes and more peppers. The reason for this is that peppers need far less care than tomatoes and have fewer pests, also taking up less space, and are easier to weed. Another thing I am thinking is going to container gardening, even homemade upside-down planting. I'm also wanting to experiment with growing tobacco, so that eliminates the problems of cucumber, melon, and squash vines.
I'm also rethinking a lot of my organic ideas. I hate to admit it, but I don't have the physical capability anymore to garden totally organically. Essentially, the weeds and the perennials are taking over, and I can't keep them back. Not when just a few minutes' of bending over and standing up makes me so light-headed I'm nauseous, and not when standing up for any length of time makes my knees scream in pain. So when I take down the garden this year, I am going to apply some weed killer to prevent them from coming up in the spring, and when spring comes, I am going to apply some pre-emergent herbicide.
Seed starting is a pain as well because of lack of space, the energy it uses, the fact that I have to do it upstairs, and so on. So the only thing I am planning on starting is the tobacco, and I'll be buying starts through sites like www.thechilewoman.com. I'm going to cut back my tomato varieties from approximately 9,000 to one or two--probably Rutgers, which is the one tomato this year that excelled even in the weeds.
Next year: more and better mulching. I just can't keep down the weeds without heavy fabric and mulch.
And...I severely cut back on my Yahoo groups! I cut many of them to digests and special notices only or even no mail, and a few I dropped entirely. The important thing is to not FEEL overwhelmed. I almost totally lost my love of gardening because there was so much to do, and I don't want that. So next year...much less. Much less. And more happiness.