I love spring. Everything is blooming. The weather is (finally) getting warmer. The sun stays above the horizon later and
Now that we are well into September and the days (and nights) are finally turning cooler, the garden has started to slow down for the year. Make no mistake, we are still pulling a lot of produce out of it, but not quite as much of it and not quite as frequently as we were doing from June through the end of August.
At the height of the growing season we were getting 7-9 pounds of tomatoes out of the garden every day. When we got back from a weeks worth of vacation, the tomato yield was close to 25 pounds. There are 23 quarts of marinara sauce canned and waiting in the pantry for the next time that we crave spaghetti and meatballs, with a huge mixing bowl full of sauce ready to be canned waiting in the fridge, and several dozen near-ripe tomatoes outside on the vines, just waiting to be picked and sauced.
We ate tricolor salad multiple times a week. We sliced up and salted fresh tomatoes and ate them as side dishes and snacks. A favorite summer lunch of mine was a cracker with a schmear of cream cheese, a fresh basil leaf, and a fresh slice of lightly salted tomato (times about 10). We stood next to the garden, picked handfuls of cherry tomatoes and popped them right in our mouths. Heaven.
Clearly, we are tomato gardening masters, and tomatoes are something that we should stick with and expand on.
We also do well with herbs – you should see the wild bushes that are our basil, sage, and rosemary plants. The oregano did not do nearly as well, but to be fair it grows close to the ground and did not have a chance once the tomatoes grew tall and broad enough to overshadow it. Next year the oregano will go in a pot on the deck, leaving room in the main garden for more tomatoes.
Nor can we go wrong with peppers. The jalapeno and green bell peppers did just as well this year as they did last year.
The eggplants didn’t do quite as well, but we have no real complaints.
Then we get to our personal failures… First, the zucchini. Between the root borers (again) and the blossom end rot, the neither grew very big nor lasted very long. I think that we got one decent sized zucchini and several small ones out of four plants. Lesson learned. From now one we will get all of our zucchini at the store and not bother trying to continue cultivating it anymore. Third year trying, third strike… zucchini, you’re out.
The broad beans and sugar peas, new additions to the garden this year, also didn’t do too well.
The peas started out really strong, and then inexplicable died and dried up from the roots up. We got one, maybe two meals worth of peas out of them. Since we had started them from seeds (and had a lot left over from the initial planting) we kept trying to re-plant and regrow then, but to no avail. John’s theory is that since we were growing them in a little plot off to the side of the deck, and not in the garden proper, they were not getting enough water. And since we had a nifty automatic watering system with timers and drip hoses set up in the main garden, and nothing at all set up in the little side plot, this is a distinct possibility. Next year we will try the peas in the main garden and see how they do.
Something, some kind of bug or snail, decided that it really loved the broad beans, and ate away all of the leaves, leaving behind only the delicate traceries of veins. None of the other plants (with the exception of the eggplants, which were nibbled on a little bit) were touched at all. What few beans we were able to get off of the bean plants before they dies were not impressive. I doubt that we will be doing beans again next year.
The first frost is coming soon, but I bet that we can get more out of the garden before then.