I can't say it enough - this year was WAY better than any recent ones, and I'm going to say it is the best one ever in this yard. Raised beds, manure, and steady rainfall made all the difference.
The past few years, when I have grown potatoes, the yield was barely more than the seed potatoes I planted. This year, 2.5 lbs. of seed potatoes yielded over 30 pounds of potatoes in excellent condition. No voles, no wire worms, no potato bugs, just creamy smooth taters.
Similar story with the onions. The past several years the onions were puny, barely bigger than sets that many people plant. I tried different varieties, always with the same disappointing results. This year I have a small bushel basket full of big, juicy onions.
This is the first year in many that I planted sweet corn. I did something unconventional - planted the corn around hills of cukes and zukes. The idea was, if we had more record-breaking temperatures, the cukes and zukes would be somewhat shaded by the corn. The weather has been delightful most of the summer, so I'm not sure I would repeat this stunt. Also, pollination was a bit spotty due to the spacing of the corn plants. AND I waited a bit too long to harvest. Still, I'm satisfied with this first attempt.
With my heavy clay soil, I generally avoid root crops. With the raised beds, I decided to give them a try. The day I planted the seed, I was crabby and rushed and did not take care with the spacing, so I was surprised to find such nice turnips amongst the weeds (there are more - these are just a sample). I'm hoping some thinning will salvage the beets and rutabagas.
And then there are the tomatoes. I grew Roma (below), Fresh Salsa hybrid, Sun Gold hybrid, and SuperSauce hybrid. The SuperSauce tomatoes are HUGE but there are not many on the plant, so in the future I will probably stick with the Romas. I have been making fresh salsa with the Fresh Salsa, and they are okay. The Sun Gold hybrid is not as good as some other cherry tomatoes I have grown; next year I may try Black Cherry, per gardeninacity.
There are more successes (peppers!), mixed successes (garlic, green beans), and failures (cukes), but in general I am quite, quite, QUITE pleased. I expect the sweet potatoes will survive the rabbit/woodchuck attacks, plus there will be Brussels sprouts to look forward to. I'm already eagerly planning some changes for next year (e.g. pole beans instead of bush, so I can pick them without bending over). I may even get some more fall crops in before it is too late, a sign that the garden was a source of joy instead of pain this year. May it ever be so.