Sunday, September 12, 2010
Tina,Tina,Quite Contrary.....How Did Your Garden Grow?
I know I was horrible about posting updates of my garden this year, but I thought I'd give an end of the year report....so to speak (plus I am using this post to journal for next year, so I will know what to and what not to do next year). We had a short growing season this year. I was not able to plant my garden until the tenth of June. Usually, we are able to plant the week before Memorial Day (if you cover your plants the hot caps or walls of water), but this year cold weather and rain prevented that. It really did not warm up, or get sunny, until the very end of June. My plants did grow big and healthy, they just have not produced the yield I had hoped for.
The tomato plants around the deck did beautifully. The sad little plants in my previous post have really grown! We have picked about a dozen ripe ones so far, but if the warm weather holds out I should get enough to make a big batch of salsa:
The cherry tomato plant did especially well. We have gotten four picking off of it. Next, year I am tempted to plant two.
The jalapeno peppers ( I planted 8 plants) have been very prolific I have canned 14 (1/2 pint jars) of chopped peppers so far. At the rate they are producing I should get another batch before it freezes. The green pepper plants (also planted 8 of those) are big and healthy, and I have gotten 8 peppers off of them. They are loaded with pepper the size of silver dollars right now. I'm crossing my fingers that they will get a little bigger before the freeze hits. I would love to put a few more in the freezer.
In the backyard the garden is coming along, and producing enough to keep my family and my sweet neighbors across the street in fresh produce. I know it looks like a jungle, but the plants don't seem to mind fraternizing, and they naturally choke out the weeds (Yeah!). (Note to self: broccoli was not a good choice. The plants grew huge, but the buds never got very big. Oh, and the stinking, nasty aphids took up residence, in BIBLICAL proportion, after the second cutting. I pulled them up by the roots last week (covering myself in dirt and aphids. Whew! Nasty!) After three years of planting it with similar success each year, broccoli will NOT be in the 2011 veggie lineup!)
The carrots and beets have gone great guns! I planted extra beets, so I would have enough to make pickled beets ( I just LOVE pickled beets!). The onions only grew to the size of golf balls, though (I'm going to have to work on that next year). Most of the herbs have gone to seed (I'm just not great at keeping up with the herbs). Oh, and here is a picture of my fifth child. This is Abigail. She's 7 years old. I guess that makes her the youngest of my brood (Shh! Don't tell her she is a dog. She thinks she is a kid). She loves to help me glean garden.....and roll in the garden if she gets a chance!
Cucumbers didn't grow well this year. Must be the weather. That's okay, cucumbers are really something you can't expound on.
The summer squash and zucchini were lacking, too. That is probably good, I get tired of summer squash after a while. I tried a new variety of zucchini that grew round like pumpkins, instead of long and ginormous! The plant wasn't a giant producer, though. I did get enough to make several batches of Chocolate Zucchini muffins. I will probably go back to the tried and true variety next year.
However, the spaghetti squash has made me proud.
Here's one of the many squash hiding amongst the leaves.
The buttercup squash is doing fabulous, as well. I decided to plant buttercup squash instead of pumpkins, because they are much easier to manage. The plan is to bake, puree, and freeze them to use in place of pumpkin in baked goods and pie ( no one can tell the difference. I have been pulling this little trick for years and nobody is the wiser....until, now!).
The beans were also a disappointment. I was really hoping for buckets full like last year, but I have only gotten three ice cream buckets full. Bless my wonderful sister in law for supplementing me out of her garden so I could make Dear Hubby his coveted Dilly Beans!
Abby helped pick beans this week. In pick, I means see was pilfering them out of the bucket when she thought I wasn't looking. At least one of my "kids" likes eating her veggies!
This week the garden produced all of this. The cucumbers got out of hand. These are going to be made into hot dog relish! There are my funny shaped zucchini's, kind of look like striped pears. This is about how much I have gotten out of the garden weekly, not bad, just not enough to can like I wanted to.
I guess this World War II poster rings true:
As you can tell from the pictures the nights are getting colder lately. The leaves have been nipped by frost, and are drooping or are dying. One of these nights it will really frost, and it will all be over. I always greet this time of year with mixed emotions. I love autumn, but it is sad to see my garden slow down, and eventually die. Like the poster says, gardening is work. Sometimes frustrating work, sometimes glorious work, sometimes itchy and painful (when you knock the rake or shovel over onto your head, or rummage around the squash plants in short sleeves, when you are allergic!), but always gratifying to see what your labors have produced. Whether on the shelves in jars, in the freezer, or at the dinner table. I guess I am hooked. I can profess to be a gardening junkie!