The end of the year is an ideal time to prepare your garden for the winter, bring your gardening duties to a close, and reflect on your overall growing experience. Over the last few weeks, we have been offering some useful tips on winterizing your garden, amending your soil, and cleaning and disinfecting your GeoPot fabric pots to prepare for them for the next growing season.
This week, we’re sharing some advice on evaluating your past year of gardening so that you can appreciate your successes, learn from your challenges, and prepare for the next growing season.
We encourage you to ask yourselves the following questions and write down your answers in a garden journal for future reference:
What Went Right?
It’s always a good idea to start with your accomplishments. Think about your healthiest plants that produced the most substantial, beautiful yields, and consider what might have contributed to that.
Did you improve your plants’ access to light and air with a trellis? Did you use a new soil or nutrient additive? Did you upgrade your growing container to one that promotes better aeration? Were you more proactive with weeding or generally more attentive to the plants’ needs? Asking yourself these kinds of questions can help you to recreate similar successes in the future by replicating the methods and growing conditions that worked well this year.
What Went Wrong?
Now that you’ve celebrated the successes, it’s time to address the potential challenges you might have faced this year. What are some of the things that didn’t live up to your expectations, and what might have been the cause?
Did your garden suffer from an infestation of pests like spider mites or thrips? Did some plants fail to produce as much as you expected, or not at all? Did their leaves turn yellow? If so, something needs to change. Tracking these kinds of issues in a garden journal or calendar can help you learn to take measures to avoid them in the future, whether it means practicing pest management, encouraging better root growth, or learning to avoid the most common gardening mistakes.
What Was Learned?
The art of gardening is a practice that you develop over time through study, experience, and trial and error. It can be incredibly helpful to reflect on the lessons you learned in the garden this year, whether from devastating failures or proud moments of success.
Did you finally figure out how to transplant without damaging the roots? Did you read up on the science of NPK? Did you find out about some useful new garden hacks? Chances are, you’ll be an even better gardener next year simply by taking this newfound knowledge with you into the next season. The more you grow, the more you know.
Looking Back to Look Ahead
We hope some of the questions above have helped you recall the various ups and downs you experienced over the past year of gardening and how you have evolved as a grower in terms of knowledge and skill. In next week’s post, we’ll be discussing ways that you can use the insights gained by this self-evaluation to mentally prepare for a more successful garden in the new year. Be sure to check our blog often for more gardening tips!