2020 has been a year alright. Just like everyone else, I had to change & adapt throughout this crazy year in many different facets of my life, gardening included. I had a few successes, a few failures, tried new gardening methods & new plants. This year’s gardening adventure was certainly a learning experience, more so than normal years. I wrote about my 2019 gardening experiences last year & it was nice to have a yearly summary all on one page, so I figured 2020 deserves its own moment to be documented. Let’s get this started.
I started off 2020 strong with a brand new expedition into grow lights & hydroponics with my AeroGarden Harvest. I had so much fun with it too! It came with a bunch of herb seeds that flourished for almost seven months. The AeroGarden was the perfect way to tide over my gardening needs over the winter. It was so nice to be able to cook with fresh herbs when it was snowing outside, especially basil which is one of the first plants to keel over in my garden outdoors once it starts to get chilly. An added benefit of having an AeroGarden was that the strong grow light helped all of the plants that I had in the same room. I bring in a few container plants every fall to winter over in my living room & they don’t exactly thrive indoors. So, having supplemental light from the grow light actually made them happy for once in their indoor lives. Win!
The biggest gardening change for me this year was growing from seed. I went on a straight seed frenzy, starting in the spring when I bought up a bunch of veggie & flower seeds, plus a seed-starting tray. With the help of my trusty grow light I was able to start quite a few seeds, only to watch nearly all of them take the big dirt nap. My efforts with winter sowing also went not so great. It was disappointing for sure, but I’m excited to try it again in a few months. Out of the three seed-starting methods that I tried, direct sowing had the best results for everything except tomatoes. I started tomato seeds three different ways & documented my journey. It didn’t really go the way I thought it would, considering I had dreams of monster tomato plants, but my grow from seed tomato plans roll on.
It was difficult to find some of my favorite plants this year since plants were flying off the shelves in the spring. I had to adjust a lot of my gardening plans & just go with what I could get my hands on. As a result, I was able to find a few new favorites like lantanas & begonias, which grew like gangbusters for me. I also had to live on a hope & prayer that the seeds that I bought would be able to produce, since I wasn’t able to buy my trusty favs like marigolds & cucumber plants. Luckily, the marigolds & cucumbers grew far better this year than they have ever grown before.
My veggie plants were a success this year! Like I stated before, the cucumbers broke production records & we were practically eating them every day. Peapods that I grew from seeds also did really well. But the star of my garden was the one single pumpkin that I was able to grow from seed. I had to pick it while it was still green due to chilly temps, but I was able to ripen it indoors & eventually I was able to turn it into a pumpkin pie. Making a pumpkin pie from a pumpkin that I grew was my gardening goal for 2020, so I was so excited that I was able to complete it!
My flowers also had a banner year. All of my containers thrived, which isn’t a normal occurrence over here. Usually one of the containers will end up struggle bussing its way through life, but this year I had no complaints. The Rose Nylund rose garden had a bit of a creative year, since I couldn’t find my normal rose fertilizer. I tried to go a natural route & fertilize with just epsom salt. Initially, it went well when I first applied it in the spring when I gave the roses their yearly prune. The roses pushed out new growth fast & I thought that I would ride with epsom salt from then on. However, as the growing season went on, the roses just didn’t grow the way that they usually do. We did have an unusually hot summer, so that might have had something to do with it, but I don’t plan on going the epsom salt only route in the future.
Speaking of the future, I plan on leaning into seeds even harder in 2021. I have already bought a few melon & pumpkin seeds with plans of buying a couple more. I also saved a whole bunch of seeds from plants that I grew this year, like tomatoes, celosia, marigolds, lantanas & peas. This brings me to my 2021 gardening goal: growing most of my veggies & flowers from seeds that I saved from plants that I already grew. It’s a lofty goal, especially since I am not a seasoned growing from seed gardener, but I’m excited for it! I also want to buy a bunch of perennial flowers like dahlias, peonies & poppies. I don’t know why I don’t have any of them in my garden, since I love all of those flowers, so 2021 will be the year of perennial beauties!
All in all, 2020 was definitely a learning year for me in terms of gardening. I know that a lot of newly minted gardeners took the gardening dive this year, so I hope that some of this information was able to help you out. It always helps me out reading & seeing other gardeners’ experiences, which is why I like documenting mine. One of the best aspects of gardening is that you never really fail if you learn something from it. Just keep digging. Happy gardening, everyone! Here’s to a better 2021!