Fall Garden Report

My husband and I have been cleaning the yard up this week. I’m putting in some greens for the winter, and some cooler-season flowers, and we are already talking about how to improve our harvest next summer. So I thought I’d write notes about this summer’s results.

Butternut Squash:  6 fruits (two of them pretty small) from 16 plants. Considering we didn’t have a warm summer that isn’t too bad. (My best year was 10 larger fruits from 20 plants.) But, also considering that B. doesn’t like squash, I might give that space to tomatoes next summer, when we will be making the Concerted Tomato Effort. The butternuts in the store aren’t as good, but I can live with that.

Tomatoes: We grew 8 plants, 8 different varieties this year. Terrible year for tomatoes, but the scorecard for the various ones:
*Early Girl: Still the most dependable, and the flavor in September can’t be beat. I want to plant two of them next year.
*Grape: This is the 4th year I have grown these, and they are wonderful in all the usual ways, except that this year for some reason the fruits were tinier than grapes.
*Green Grape: These were vaguely grape-shaped, but huge for a cherry type, more like a small plum. The flavor was good and they were healthy and productive, so I might plant them again. I like having a green cherry for the color in salads and such.
*Andy’s Polish Pink: We got at most 3 good fruits from this plant, and when we pulled it up, its roots were not deep. Early in the season the tomatoes were mushy. It’s not worth trying again to see if more heat would improve them.
*Faribo Goldheart: The few fruits we got were tasty and beautiful orange tomatoes. A couple of them were the largest of all our tomatoes this year. Worth trying again.
*Orange Fleshed Purple Tomato: I picked this up at the big box store, part of their effort to stock a few heirlooms. It didn’t make many tomatoes and they were so disappointing–now I forget all the reasons–that we pulled the plant out early.
*Yellow Cherry: This has been the best of the lot this summer. It’s quite a bit like Sungold, but its skins aren’t so thin. It’s been a good producer and very sweet.
*Black Cherry: It was hard to tell when these were ripe, and when they were, they quickly got soft, and their flavor was blah, so I don’t want to plant them again even though the bush was productive.

Peppers: Nothing produced well, of the Anaheims or Pimientos or the other two interesting ones. But they were in a spot that didn’t get enough sun. More and more of the garden is like that, unfortunately. B. wants to plant Pimientos again next year in a place where they did really well in the past.

Basil and Arugula: Always easy, and did as well as usual. Actually better–last year the basil seemed to suffer, maybe from too sunny a spot. This year I put it back in the old place, where it gets no sun until the hottest afternoon rays. The picture is of arugula seeds I collected.

Lemon Cucumber: We got enough for our use, which is very minimal. I may not plant these next year because they are available locally at the market, and we need the space for other things.

Green Beans: Blue Lake are the best! We got a good amount, and since we love them so much, we will probably plant them again, and maybe in the same spot, as it is one of the few places where the runners can’t disappear into a tree or the neighbor’s yard.

New Zealand Spinach: Some of these starts I planted in a too-shady spot, and they never really grew. The others were in a place that gets sunshine all day long, and they grew vigorously, but the leaves are small.  The stems are tough on this plant so I haven’t bothered to use much. I’d like to try this old favorite again next spring, in a place with a little shade.

5 thoughts on “Fall Garden Report

  1. Great post. One of these days I am determined to grow good tomatoes. It hasn't happened yet, and certainly NOT this year. It seems I do best at herbs and jalapenos. Here in Texas watering is such an ordeal and there is nothing like good rain water that we don't get all that often that it really makes gardening frustrating.

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  2. I love your garden journal.

    I must mention a grape tomato we received from our CSA coop this summer that were delicious. They called them Sungold…have you heard of them?

    My husband loves arugula, maybe I should try to get some seeds to grow next spring.

    By the way, thank you for letting me know about the comment that did not get published. That was going the extra mile.

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  3. I liked reading your garden report very much. I had a variety of tomatoes this year and I'd say my best and biggest producers were the Beefsteak variety. Huge tomatoes, big taste, lovely on a slice of toast with mayo. Oh, how I miss them. Like you, I found the grape tomatoes to be very flavorful, but not as big as last year's. Early Girl made a decent showing too.

    My cukes produced very poorly and so did the onions. I need a sunny space in the ground, not in the raised beds for onions, I think. They used to grow better for me that way.

    I plant my spinach by seed. First soak the seed over night and then plant. I believe you are to nick the seed with a knife too. They usually germinate well this way. Lettuces were very good.

    It's fun to compare notes with you.

    Jody

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