- I will not feed my family with only 3 square foot garden beds in the ground.
- Seeds will only grow scraggly and lanky at my westward-facing windows. There is not enough light for them to grow properly.
- I need to always prepare to plant twice as much as I really expect to need, because things die.
- (Corollary to the previous number) Always have a back up plan.
- I learned how to use a water bath canner to can pears. And I learned how to make Pear Butter. YUM.
6. I learned that my kids can be good while I make one batch of pears. At first, I only did this when my husband was home to keep a close eye on them, but I ended up with a few pears that needed to be canned when he wasn't home. It was fine. They watched. I wouldn't attempt that with an all day marathon, but for one batch, it was fine.
7. White flies will decimate a garden, so be careful to keep them out.
8. Herbs are easy, fun and pretty to grow.
9. Bush green beans are a waste of time, money and precious space in the garden. Pole beans work fine for my needs, but 24 bush bean plants only produced 5 to 6 green beans per week.
10. Eggplant plants are beautiful.
11. Spiders are my friends in the garden. (I have always HATED spiders, but found them very helpful in the garden.)
12. Ants eat the nasty sugary honeydew produced by aphids, and because they like this so much, they help the aphids, even carrying their babies and protecting them. Yuck.
13. This one is silly, but I love composting. I love to take things that are trash and put it into the compost pile and wa-LA, out comes beautiful, rich, healthy, black soil.
14. Celery is very easy to grow.
15. Little Marvel Peas are like candy to my kids. We got a reasonably good harvest, but not one single pod made it into the house. Every one was eaten Raw in the yard by my children.
And my most important lesson of 2011: Keep trying. If one thing doesn't work, try another. Don't be the person who gives up too easily.