Since our gardening year is coming to a close, I would like to share experiences of some of the other Master Gardeners in our county. We all learn from each other.

Becky West

Becky West of rural New London has a found a new favorite tomato: “Red Robin” tomatoes, starting last year, have consumed all my garden efforts.

First running a test to determine what kind of soil grew best — soilless mix and perlite were winners, and what kind of fertilizer — special hydroponic fertilizer or Miracle-Gro (Miracle-Gro winner).

Tomatoes were grown through winter with few tomatoes harvested, but abundant when plants could go out in spring. I gave many plants away and heard good reports from the determinate tomato's production, flavor and abundance.

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My other winner this year (snarky) was weeds. Oxalis won with some over 3-feet-long. Good thing about them is they are easy to pull. Too bad I no longer have free range chickens — these guys were their favorite.

Now with mosquitoes and chiggers an August memory I'm enjoying being outside, digging and transplanting (peony - 12, and iris planted in sun now in shade and desiring sun) things I've neglected too long. Spring blossom show should be spectacular. Gardeners are ever optimistic.

Dale and Judi Lauer

Next, husband and wife Master Gardeners, Dale and Judi shared highlights from the 2020 gardening season.

After years of denial I finally installed a 5-foot fence around our vegetable garden to keep the critters out. It was much better to see a fence and know that when I went there would be something to harvest.

This in contrast to previous years when the garden did not get going because of rabbits or when the deer munched on the tomatoes when they were just about ready to harvest.

We had a bountiful crop of tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, peppers and garlic. We experimented with Brussel sprouts, harvesting didn't go so well and next year we will plant more garlic and cut down on tomatoes but then we say that every year.

Flowers did well; potted plants did well; thanks to Sue, Joe Pye plants are doing well and it seems they are everywhere.

Grubs, grubs, grubs, grubs in the lawn this year, terrible! I have treated our lawn for grubs and have experienced how skunks can raise havoc in their quest to find them but this year was like no other for myself and others in our neighborhood.

This year I needed to call in some professional help to the treatment and prevention program and also needed to re-seed, half of our lawn as it was a disaster.

Fortunately, the timing was such this fall that after two truckloads of black dirt, starter fertilizer, high quality grass seed, straw, lots of water and patience the lawn is coming in well.

Stay tuned for more garden stories next week.