As my second year of backyard farming comes to a close and I am enjoying the tasty yields of my harvest, I now have time to reflect. Here in New York we have enjoyed a hot, sunny, and mostly dry Summer. These conditions have benefited most of my crops, while hurting others. My corn has been picked, as have some of my watermelons. Tomorrow I may dug up my potatoes and my tomatoes continue to give me a mixed yield.
Here are how things worked out my plant:
- Sugar Baby Watermelons: The best news first. These little guys were a great big home run. I have 8 melons, I have already harvested 4. They are very heavy(juicy) and very sweet. These plants were completely problem free. I watered them steadily and gave them organic fertilizer and they just took off. I was very aggressive with vine management, making sure to keep them out of other beds or tangling with each other. I am going to seed save from my biggest melon and use them in next years harvest. I give them an A.
- Tomatoes: Now the bad news. I have three varieties of tomatoes. My “Sunburst Cherry” variety is robust and giving me hundreds, literally hundreds of little cherry tomatoes. My pepper style is also very hearty, great color, great yield. The troubled plants and the one that dominates most of my time are my Beefstakes. This is completely my fault. I only had four tomato cages and used them on my cherry variety. I neglected to stake my beef stakes, mostly because they appeared so hearty and it cost me dearly. Instead of growing up they grew out. When the tomatoes started to appear they weighed down the branches causing damage and stress. This hurt the overall health of the pants and caused a massive loss of yield. This was completely my fault and I will not make the same mistake next year. I give my results a C-
- “Stowell’s Evergreen Sweet Corn” – A very solid variety, it yielded some really large full ears, 24 in all. My experiment to plant each of the 3 rows 1 week apart was a total dud. My heart was in the right place, but I definitely over thought it. Despite my “help” the plants recovered and the loss was limited to one or two plants. A thunderstorm damaged two more, but that is almost unavoidable. The real trick with corn is water. If you don’t give it consistent water you will have missed kernels. I had that problem last year, but I managed to avoid it mostly this year. When all is said and done I give my corn a B+
- “Binteje Potatoes” – As I mentioned before, I have no harvested them so it is impossible to know how they are. The leafy portion of the plant looks very very healthy, but the part that matters is a mystery. Time will tell.
Mistakes will come, but they can be valuable if you learn from them. I will have my full report and my final grade in a few weeks.