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Rethinking things

We haven't been having much luck here in our gardens. Many of our plants are succumbing to fungus, our soil is compacting more than we'd like, and things just aren't going as well as we'd like. Rather than get discouraged, we're kind of rethinking our strategy. Before we started on our garden, we came up with a list of goals and things that are important to us:

Grow things organically
Working on growing soil, rather than growing crops
Growing heirloom vegetables
Keeping as closed a system as possible
Figure out what crops to grow when in our unique climate

With the way things are going, we've decided to make some minor tweaks to this original plan. Everything is still going to be organic, without a doubt. There's no way that we're going to introduce pesticides or fertilizers into our garden. Improving soil quality is still our number one priority, and we're going to retest our soil to see if anything has changed from when we started three months ago.

Probably one of the largest changes we're going to make is the kind of vegetables we grow. Most of our afflicted crops are the heirloom varieties. Compared to the commercial seeds we've been growing, they're just not doing quite as well. For example, our squash.

The commercial variety, which is doing well besides a couple of spots of fungus.

Our heirloom Waltham Butternut, which has completely succumbed to fungus and disease. It was planted about a month before the commercial stuff.

We've gotten pretty discouraged with the way the heirlooms have turned out, and we've decided that now is not the time. If we keep having our crops fail, we're going to lose our motivation and excitement about gardening. After we've improved our soil and have learned more about the planting seasons, we'll try again, but for now, we're going to stick with commercial seeds.

We've also decided to experiment less with planting seasons. We've kind of been veering off from the recommended planting times on the seed packets because of how different our Sarasota weather is from the rest of our zone. Since that hasn't worked out, we're now going to follow the recommendations exactly. Later on, when we see how things have worked out, we can play around with planting times.

Our original goals haven't changed much. We eventually do want to plant plenty of heirloom varieties, and we're still huge advocates of organic gardening. Without making these changes though, it could be a long time until we really see any return on our garden, and to keep ourselves from resenting a failing garden, we need to make a few temporary changes.


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