My 2023 Garden and 2024 Garden Plans

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Happy Thursday! Today I wanted to spend some time looking back on my 2023 garden and looking forward to my 2024 garden plans! See past gardening posts here.

Unsurprisingly, our 2023 garden struggled a bit! We welcomed our daughter in the middle of the summer, so we had much less time than usual to take care of it. Some things did just fine with a bit less care, and others suffered. We also got an incredible amount of rain, which again was good for some things and bad for others! For context we grow in zone 7a. Let's dive into the details.

In our driveway garden we grew cherry tomatoes, peppers, onions, and flowers. For tomatoes, we grew Sungold, Sun Sugar, Cherry Bomb and Tomatoberry. All small, indeterminate varieties. All the tomatoes did well this year, and we picked a lot all summer! Sungold is our favorite, I think we'll always grow that variety. This was our first year growing Sun Sugar from seed. We really like it, but it is quite similar to Sungold. We're still on the hunt for a good red cherry, Cherry Bomb and Tomatoberry were both a bit disappointing. They both grew well and were productive, but the flavor just wasn't what we were after.

For 2024, we're not planning to try out any new tomato varieties. I still have seeds from all the varieties we grew in 2023, so I'm planning to use those up.

For peppers we grew Anaheim, Banana, Lunchbox (snacking) and Serrano. Our peppers were not happy this year! We grow them all in grow bags, and with constant rain they just stayed too wet. The Serrano peppers did the best, but otherwise it was one of our worst pepper years.

For 2024, we're going to grow less peppers. We'll be growing Anaheim, Banana, and Serrano peppers.

Similarly, the Walla Walla onions we grew did not do well. Too wet! We actually decided to stop growing onions. The two big grow bags we have for them just stay too wet in our space. They don't get enough sun, and they take up too much space. So the plan is to remove the soil from them (and use it to fill pots, and low spots in the in-ground gardens), and store them in the garage.

Now, onto happier and more successful parts of the 2023 garden! Our fig tree did fantastic! We had lots of happy new grow, and lots of fruit. It's now tucked into the garage for the winter, and I look forward to waking it up in a few months.

The flower gardens did great in 2023. I planted a perennial pollinator patch in Fall 2022 and it came in so well this year. And it needed basically no care, which was ideal!! It attracted so many bugs and birds, we're hoping to expand it this year. The Echinacea self-seeds, so there will be lots more of that this year anyways! And I can see that the Rudbeckia overwintered, since I covered it in leaves before winter arrived. I'm also planning to add some Signet Marigold 'Lemon Star' and Feverfew 'Tetra White Wonder' to the patch this year.

I grew tons of strawflowers in 2023. Some in pots on the driveway, but most in ground at the bottom of the dahlia patch. They're one of my favorite flowers to grow, and I already bought seeds of some new varieties to try in 2024. I ordered my seeds from Select Seeds (here in CT). I went with King Size Salmon, King Size Red, Swiss Giants Mix, and Pierrot White. I'm hoping a few of the varieties I grew last year will still be good, as I know I have some seed leftover.

I love my marigold patch I've been planting in the front yard the last few years, and I'll continue that tradition for 2024. The last few years I've done a mix of giant and regular marigolds, but I've decided this year to stick with just two giant varieties. Mission Giant (my personal favorite!!), and Giant Orange.

I successfully grew mini pumpkins this year!! It was so exciting. I grew Jill Be Little pumpkins on my arch trellis at the bottom of my dahlia patch. They did well, and I ended up with 10 or 12 pumpkins. The only problem is that the vines grew all over the dahlias. So for 2024, I'm going to grow pumpkins in the pollinator patch I have in the front yard. I don't think I have any seeds left of the mini orange, so I may try growing out some Casperita, which is a small white pumpkin!

Last but certainly not least, DAHLIAS! My number one favorite thing to grow. Thank goodness for the dahlias, they saved the day. Once they're in the ground, they really don't need a lot of care. They barely needed watered all summer with all the rain we got. I grew 7 or 8 plants in pots on the driveway and the rest in ground in our side yard. For the most part they did great! I had a handful of new varieties this year, a few were busts, but I found some I really like too!

My dahlia seedlings did not do well this year. This was partially self-inflicted. I didn't move them up a pot size and it really stunted their growth. I know how critical this is, but I still made the mistake again. They never really recovered. I did save a few that I may plant out if I have the space. We'll see! I ordered some dahlia seeds from Floret this year that I'm going to be growing. Hoping they do well!

For 2024, I plan to grow lots of dahlias again! I have a few seedlings to grow out, and I've ordered a few new varieties. Not planning to do much differently! I am hoping to finally try out staking with Hortonova netting. My staking this past year was pretty awful, the plants were all over the place! We'll see how I like it.

Happy Growing!


  1. I've been thinking of growing strawflowers this year to hang in my shed to dry. Any tips for starting those from seed?

    1. Oooh yay!! Let's see, they need light to germinate, so I cover with vermiculite rather than soil. They really benefit from being moved up to larger pots once they have true leaves. I start mine quite early, they really do take 8-10 weeks! The seeds don't keep well year to year, so don't be stingy when sowing!

  2. Thank you. I love reading about your garden. I hope to make some of your felt grow pots. I love dahlias also, and yours are so beautiful. May I ask what variety of fig you are growing. I see it's in a pot. I am growing "Chicago Hardy" in a pot here in the NW, which I leave out all winter, and so far it has survived. However, this will be its 4th year, and I still have gotten no fruit from it. Hopefully this year!

    1. Thank you! We're growing a Brown Turkey. It was given to us by a friend and was already a few years old!

  3. Lovely pompom dahlias there, especially that dark red one.

  4. your garden was beautiful and so was the one the year before. you really have a green thumb for it. best.

  5. I am planning to try dahlias this summer for the first time ever inspired by your gorgeous garden posts of the past few years. I won't ever be able to grow as many as you do, we're short on sunny spots in our yard. Thanks for taking the time to do this garden round up post, I was excited to see the post come up!


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