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Just trying to kick start the gardening threads a little for 2016. I know the season has pretty well come to a screeching halt although we still do have some squash left and a couple tomatoes on the now scraggly Tumbling Tom tomato inside. Am surprised Mrs. Cheviot didn't pull rank and toss it on me. Maybe if I keep it alive till spring I can put it back outside again. :D

For those gardening gurus, what worked last year for you? What didn't? What are you planning for 2016? Making any changes? Those seed catalogs keep coming.

I know for us it's going to be a transition year as to how much real estate and time I want to devote to the project. With just the two of us and some friends we provide for, it's not requiring as much as it once did. That and the area where the main garden was is getting shaded to the point that much of it needs to be moved. The south facing slope in the pasture south of the house seems a logical alternative. Move a piece of electric fence, soil test it, torch the area with glyphosate, spread some composted sheep dookie and we should have the makings of a decent garden area. Drainage is good and there is access to water so those are some pluses. Grew pumpkins and Indian corn there many moons ago and they both did well. And from the school book depository, it should be a good spot to pick off any unsuspecting striped gophers that might happen by. :cool:

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We have just about about gotten through with eating all of our squash, apples, carrots and onions. We still have at least 30 pounds of potatoes, many of which are now setting out eyes and sprouts, and enough will be saved for this year's plantings here and up north. We eat a quart of canned tomato sauce a week, and by last count we are good for another 6 months. I still have 10 quarts of pickled beets, and 10 pints of dilly beans and sweet/hot beens. 

I plan on adding another 4 X 8 asparagus bed, as well as a strawberry bed.  

I found that moving cilantro to an area of partial shade really was good for it, and prevented it from bolting so soon. 

I had good luck with a variety of radishes, arugula, spinach and lettuce planted the last days of July for a nice fall crop. In fact I enjoy succession planting a little bit of everything all the way through July. 

I had success planting acorn squash inside a concrete wire cage. I have switched to concrete wire cages for all my tomato plants. 

I had good luck companion planting basil with my asparagus, and onions throughout the garden, which were fit in all over the place.

The new thing I tried last year was kohlrabi. I enjoyed eating it raw, and will likely plant a few of those here and there. 

I grew a variety of annual and perennial flowers by simply broadcast spreading seeds all across the entire garden, which was great for aesthetics, and for attracting a lot of pollinating insects. I will add more annuals in 2016, as the perennials seem to be pretty well established in several areas, and along my paths. I really enjoyed watching the birds and insects on the giant sunflowers, so I will plant a row of those again on the north boundary of the garden area.  

I upped my composting game a few years ago by dedicating two 6X10 areas where I pile up all my grass clippings and kitchen scraps. I save all coffee grounds at home, from the local Caribou, and work. To all this green material, I will be adding the requisite amount of brown from the 30-40 bags of leaves I collected from the neighborhood. If I keep turning the piles every few days, and keeping them moist, I can make a rich compost in a matter of a few weeks. I have another bin full of leaves which are exposed now to the elements. This leaf mold will be used as a mulch about the time the tomato plants are really starting to get going in June. These processes are what I consider the lifeblood of garden vitality. Since increasing these efforts, I don't have to thin plants, till, water or even weed much at all. 

I  started a worm bed this past summer next to the compost pile with red worms from Uncle Jim's Worm Farm. While they were active in the warm weather, they multiplied, spread to other areas of the garden, and the turned a bucket of kitchen scraps per week into rich castings. I doubt they will survive the winter, although I did bury their main area with leaves and still active warm compost. 

 It sounds like you have a good plan Dotch. You have obviously set up a few gardens in your day. 

I set up a second garden in Hovland using the same methods. It produced a good crop of potatoes and onions in its inaugural season. This year I plan on adding a rhubarb patch, carrots, summer squash and greens for our kitchen gardening needs when we are up at the cabin. 

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