This is a little late, but after feeling inspired to plan my summer garden the other day, I realized I needed to think back on what worked and what didn't last summer.
So, I planted my peas early this year...seed sewn in August. This worked well. I didn't give them a high enough climbing frame though. The wire I provided was about 40cm high. They really needed a metre+.
I sewed seed for tomatoes and capsicums earlier as well, begining of September, but still didn't get tomatoes till January. Maybe the type of tomato was a late maturing one? I'm keen to try some different varieties of NZ heirloom tomatoes this year - guernsey island and carlton victory sound good. I also had problems with my tomatoes because I didn't stake them properly. Those nice tall plastic green tomato stakes really are better than my cheaper bamboo stake tripods that I attempted originally :/ With the tripods, my tomatoes all fell over in a storm, got rained on for a couple of days and by the time I restaked them, they had blight. I still got enough tomatoes to eat fresh, but there certainly weren't any spares for preserving.
I successfully grew beans for the first time this year. I started the seed in yogurt pottles with the bottoms cut off, then moved them to the garden when they were about 3inches high. Being able to put the pottle into the ground, then slide it up as a little 'fence' worked well. The seedlings didn't have their roots disturbed so they didn't wilt at all. I last a few seedlings to slugs and snails once they were in the garden, but had planted enough seeds that I just kept replacing dead seedlings until I had 3 tripods of beans. Once again, I didn't make a big enough climbing frame. I used the bamboo stakes available at the warehouse that are about 1.2m high...I think they really needed 2m stakes. Despite this, I still got enough beans to include them as a side dish every 2nd night, and then at the end of the season when I was sick of eating beans, I froze quite a few for eating in winter.
The potatoes I grew in tyres were healthy looking plants, but didn't get a lot of potatoes. I made the stacks 3 tyres hight, but there were only potatoes in the bottom 2 tyres, so wouldn't bother with a 3rd tyre in future. Apart from planting the potatoes on a bed of comfrey leaves, I didn't feed them at all, hence the small crop.
I sewed carrots and leeks from the end of october, but lost a lot of seedlings after transplanting as the fried in the hot sun. They were perhaps a little neglected.... Mixing the carrot and leeks seedlings did seem to work though as the few that survived weren't bothered by carrot fly and weren't too bad looking compared to previous carrots that I have grown.
I tried to grow herbs and companion flowers, but the flower seedlings were eaten and most of the herb seedlings got tipped out of their pots by my nephew :/ So definitely room for improvement there this year!
So, aside from the new tomato varieties, I also want to try growing welsh bunching onions. They sound like an easy onion to grow as you're not having to replant seeds/seedlings...they just spread on their own and just need to be divided up occaisionally. And I want to try growing Orach. Apparently its a tall bushy plant and the leaves are a bit like spinach. You can eat the leaves and it keeps growing.