After a very good 2017 gardening here in Amherst NH, I had down year in 2018. The main problem was critters. First, there is a groundhog in the neighborhood that has continued to wipe out root crops like carrots, beets and radishes. It seems that he/she (I call it Gertrude so I guess it's a she) also like tomatos. So our garden output was pretty sparse this year. We have also, for the first time in many years, seen some rabbits in the area. They may also have done some damage that we attribute to Gertude.
On the positive side, I did something I'd been meaning to do for years. That's to drive a sand point well to get some extra water for the garden. Our primary well for many years had been a wash well that was about 15 feet deep. The water table was not stable enough after a while and we had a deep (~150 feet) well drilled about 20 years ago. At a low point in our yard, I suspected that the water table would be fairly high, and it happened to be a good place for a well. I got a sand point and a couple of five foot extensions. At around 11 feet I hit water and got down to around 14 feet with steady water this spring, using a pitcher pump.
We had a dry mid-June through July and in July the water table had dropped to the point where the well was dry. I got another five foot extension and plan to add it soon. In the meantime, we had a very wet August and the water table is back up. Of course with our critter problems, I didn't have as much to water but it's nice to know that we have backup water most of the time. I suspect that we won't run dry very often once I add the extra five foot extension. The total cost, with the added extension was $270. I had most of the tools I needed so this is the cost of the point, pipe, connectors, and pump. The only tool I bought was a post driver.
One thing the critters haven't gotten to was my mushroom-infused logs, which I do keep moist with the well water. Next year we should have Shittake, Chestnut and Chicken in the Woods mushrooms!
2019 Update: The mushroom logs were a bust. Not sure why, but it wasn't critters. 2019 was a good year for tomatoes though. A rabbit fence helped a lot.
2020 Update: During the pandemic, I was home full time and I expanded the garden a bit. Garlic I planted in Fall 2019 did reall well. Tomatoes, mini-peppers, cucumbers, green beans, and basil did particularly well. I did containers on the deck with tomatoes, basil and mini-peppers, strawflowers and nastursium.
2021: Garlic was planted in Fall 2020 - got a good harvest that should last a few months. Tomatoes were fair - a very wet July kept the yield down. The most impressive crop was pole beans. I planted Calima bush beans and they did well, but we're done by late July. By then a tower of bush beans started to produce beans and produced until our late first frost on October 29. We had fresh green beans until November 1!