The End of the Season in the Garden -- Reviewing and Planning for Next Year

We’ve been having cold nights for a while now. We’ve even had snow.

Autumn Snow on My Garden

Except for a few hardy growers, my garden is finished for the year.

The Last Rose from My Garden for the Year

At the end of the season (and in truth, even during the season) I’m looking forward to next year’s garden. I am terrible at record keeping, although I’ve tried. I have notebooks where in the past I glued in plant tags and descriptions from catalogs. Sometimes I’ll write down when I plant what and where, but I’m inconsistent. This year I started a garden sketchbook journal thinking it would be a perfect combination of my art and garden record-keeping, but I only filled up a few pages.

My Attempt at Keeping a Garden Sketchbook Journal Didn't Last Very Long

A garden journal of some kind can very helpful (using your garden photographs as a record is another option). But even if you’re like me and try to commit things to memory (not always successfully), it’s good to spend time thinking about how things did in the garden and what you’d like to do differently next year.

Try asking questions like: What new varieties did I grow this year and how did they compare to what I’ve grown in the past? What changes did I make in garden layout or design and how do I like them? What did I wish I had grown more of? What did I have too much of?

Every season has its experiments and disappointments. There are happy surprises. There are bugs and diseases. Each year brings new lessons and insights. Some things are within your control, others aren’t.

My tomatoes were terrible this year. All my plants got blight and then late in the season (usually when my tomatoes are really getting going) the wet weather made the fruit start to rot on the vine.

Weather is something I certainly don’t have any control over!

I’ve had a string of bad cucumber years and this one was no exception. Anyone know of a super disease resistant variety that can withstand cucumber beetles?

Purple Snap Peas Were Colorful and Fun in My Garden

My purple snap peas were beautiful and fun, but not as prolific or tasty as other varieties. And my sweet peas? Didn’t bloom at all.

My herbs were wonderful (I’m still harvesting cilantro, fennel, parsley and thyme) and after this year’s black swallowtails I’m definitely never going to be without parsley and fennel. The kale is still going strong (another plant I’ll be sure to always grow).

The nasturtium varieties I grew were all so beautiful (though I didn’t keep track of which ones I planted where — oops! But have I ever met a nasturtium I didn’t like?).

Lots of Nasturtium Flowers From My Garden

The Cut and Come Again zinnias were gorgeous and prolific, even if the flowers were a bit smaller than other varieties.

Cut and Come Again Zinnias from My Garden

Zinnias are one of my go-to flowers for cutting. They hold up so well and keep blooming and blooming.

Dahlias are another one that provides me with armloads of arrangements. I’m hoping to be able to overwinter my dahlia tubers this year.

Dahlias from My Garden

So many flowers!

Of course, once the seed catalogs start arriving I’ll begin garden planning in earnest.

But until then I’ll keep this year’s garden assessments in mind.

What about you? Do you garden? How did it go? What are you thinking about next year?