One of the nice things about keeping a record of what you grow is that it’s easy to figure out what’s happening that’s different from past years (even if it’s not quite as easy to figure out why things are different.) Here are three things happening in my garden this year that are not the same as last year, and a few guesses about why.
Where are the Peppers? Last year at this time I was picking tons of peppers. It’s now officially Labor Day weekend, and this is my first pepper of the season. I have seven plants. This is not what you want.
Theories about why: First, I didn’t start with healthy transplants, and I think they got off to a slow start. (I would probably be better off purchasing starts rather than trying to grow them in my cold, damp basement.) But as compared to last year (when my plants also did poorly and fruited a little late) the varieties I’m growing require a longer growing period, with more days to maturity than what I grew last year. So maybe that’s the difference?
Smaller eggplant plants. Last year my eggplant plants grew to be waist high, and were super productive. This year they are only knee high and have produced just a handful of eggplants.
Theories about why: This year’s plants have really suffered from insect damage and lost a lot of leaves early on. Last year’s plans also had those little pinprick holes in the leaves, but it didn’t happen until later in the season. Of course, it could be any number of other reasons: different variety, different location in the garden, different weather. But given the amount of insect damage to these plants I’m surprised they’re still alive, so I suspect that’s a factor.
And the squash are alive! Let’s end on a positive. This is the first year I’ve ever harvested significant amounts of summer squash. It may be the first year I’ve had a living squash plant after July.
Theories about why: In past years my squash plants have suffered from major squash bug damage. This year it hasn’t been nearly as bad. This is maybe less a coincidence and more a factor of the number of bugs I squashed this year. More squash bugs squashed= more squash? I think maybe so!