This year’s summer gardening season was good in a lot of ways. I feel it could have gone better but overall it was good. Like every year, I made some mistakes. Thankfully, I usually learn from my mistakes and do better the next year. That’s what I love about gardening. It’s like piecing pieces of a puzzle together. The joy that comes from finding the right piece to fit the puzzle. I just LOVE it!
Last year we had a ton of tomatoes that had to be picked green because the frost came before they were ripe. This year the same thing is happening except I have been able to harvest some ripe ones all summer. We still have a ton of unripe ones. Thankfully we went through a warm spell that gave the tomatoes a few extra weeks on the vines but we still ended up with boxes of green tomatoes. We’re going to have ripen them in the house like we did last year.
The T-frame we built for the tomatoes worked much better this year than last. Though, I think it would be even better next year because we will have it all ready from the beginning. The hope is since the vines will be trained earlier, they will climb better up the ropes.
We ended up with way more cherry tomatoes than I meant for. I really like the varieties I chose ( Pear and Sun Gold ) but there were just too many of them. Next year I plan to plant only one or two cherry tomato plants .
I think we did good with the summer squash this year. We designated one corner of the garden where I planted 3 plants together in the same mound. Last year we had more squash than we could handle and I didn’t want a repeat of it. I was happy with the amount that came from these three plants.
Greens (Lettuce, Kale, Chard, etc.)
For some reason I have had a horrible time with growing lettuce. I started early this year but the squirrels also found it and munched on it until it was gone. I covered it but apparently not good enough. Then I tried again in a container and after it finally got enough to where I think I could harvest, something else started eating it. I think the birds or mice found this batch. Kale and chard are doing really well. I planted a red and green chard as well as a wild kale.
This was the first year I’ve grown tomatillos. I was very impressed with how much fruit they produce. I’m making lots of Salsa Verde. I think next year I will only grow a few plants though. I purchase a purple Tomatillo variety to plant next year. I think purple salsa will be fun to make.
I was pleasantly surprise at successfully growing bell peppers this year. We didn’t get that many and they were not that big but seeing as how I thought I could never grow them, I am happy with what we ended up with. I grew them from seed too. In years past I tried growing them and they just seem to go so slow and never produced any peppers. Not sure what made this year different.
I purchased a six pack of Cheyenne pepper plants in the spring. We ended up with a ton of peppers from those six plants. The plan is to dry them and grind them up to make chili powder and for the medicinal herb chest. We will probably not need to grow them again for a few years since the harvest was so good. I also purchased jalapeno pepper plants and have more than I can handle. Note to self, grow fewer jalapeno plants. There are only so many things you can do with jalapenos.
We ended up with a decent amount of delicious watermelon. We had they same problem as we had last year though. All the watermelon ripens at the same time and we can’t eat six to eight large watermelon. I need to plan a watermelon party next year or something. I did end up freezing some water melon puree. Not sure what I am going to do with it yet but I will figure it out ;).
We only ended up with a few cantaloupe and they were delicious. A few were lost to the gophers. I really don’t like gophers :(. Next year we plan to grow our melons up the T-frames. Hopefully that will save the melons from getting eaten by gophers at least.
I was really happy with our Garden Huckleberry bushes. We had about three bushes that were only about two feet tall. They seemed to produce a lot for the size of the plant. Some kind of critter also liked them because berries would go missing when I was just about ready to pick them. The nice thing about this plant is that they keep producing berries all summer. I think we will plant more huckleberry plants next year. Since these berries are toxic when eaten raw , I will need to put up a warning sign or something. I used the berries to make pancake syrup. Since they are tart it’s good to mix them with some other type of berry and sweeten with honey.
Garlic and Onions
I am so happy that I decided to plant lots of garlic last year. I ended up with a lot of bulbs that will probably last me for a while. I do go through a lot of garlic so this fall I decided to plant twice as many. I also planted a variety of garlic that produced a large garlic seed. The seed can be planted and can be harvested either the first or second year after planting.
We also ended up with lots of green onions and a decent amount of white and red onions this year. I am so excited about the yellow multiplier onions I purchased from Territorial Seed Company. These onions are like bulbs and one bulb can produce 10-12 onions. Talk about sustainable! I may never need to buy onions again.
Another bad potato year. I think I know the piece of the puzzle that is missing here. I need a very loose soil mixer for them to grow in and a better way to water them. I’m going to take the advice from this article my friend shared with me. The plan is to dig trenches and fill them with dead leaves and other mulching material this fall for next years harvest. I am hoping this will solve some of my problem with growing potatoes. Plus, I will get an early start on the planting season. I pray it will be successful.
Well, that’s part 1. Stay tuned for part 2