Growing Pains (Get it?)

Rudbeckia

Do you all remember ABC's "Wide World of Sports"?  Their motto was "The thrill of victory...and the agony of defeat."  I actually think a lot about that quote when I'm working in the garden. You are constantly competing against Mother Nature and, inevitably, you will lose to her. That said, I can't think of a reason that motivates me more.  There are so many opportunities to fail, so when I finally get that flower or fruit, I feel like performing the Ickey Shuffle (Shout out to myself for knowing about the Ickey shuffle!!!! My husband would be so proud.) 

Anyways, that's enough self-congratulating.  I thought I would take a look back at my (relatively) successful growing season this year.

After way too much rain in April and May, I thought my tomatoes were doomed. Too much rain and Atlanta's humidity was the perfect breeding ground for disease. However, the rain started easing up and I stayed on top of the disease by spraying with GreenCure  and this mild bleach spray I learned about. I try to grow as organically as possible, so there's only so much I can do against disease.  That said, most all of tomatoes gave me a good crop.  My cherry tomatoes, Sungold and Amethyst Cream seemed to be the most prolific producers despite the disease pressure. 

I also grew some seeds from an F1 cross that showed was a fun experiment. It was a cross between Green Zebra and Pinky and my favorite tomato was a yellow potato leaf variety that I saved seeds from. I look forward to growing this next year and seeing what kind of fruit I can stabilize from this. 

As for the flowers, this was my first year really growing cut flowers properly. I loved growing spring flowers! My anemones, bachelor buttons, agrostemma, dara ammi, dill, carnations and rudbeckia did amazing! However, after 3 years of growing ranunculus, I'm still struggling to figure it out. They seem to rot in the ground before we even get started. However, I think I have a system this fall that, I hope, will ensure success.

My summer flowers were kind of "Meh."  I don't know if it was the heat, lack of motivation or just lack of love for summer flowers (I really do love them less than spring flowers), but I was slow to get them going. My sunflowers were eaten by bugs, my zinnias did OK (loved the Benary's Giant though!) and the dahlias were a real learning experience. My ball dahlia, Cornel Bronze, was really healthy and didn't get any earwigs. The Cafe au Lait dahlias, although gorgeous, don't seem like something I want to invest in. Too many bugs and they died too quickly after cutting. I would be surprised if I grow them again next year.

Anyways, I'm glad this season has come to an end. I'm happily preparing for the next one and I'll be looking forward to the brief break that winter provides.