Working: At Life

Just another personal weblog.

End of Summer

Well… the fruitful summer is winding down and we have nothing in for fall or winter.

The unmitigated success has been the two Roma tomato plants. I would estimate that by the time the plants are pulled up and tossed on the compost pile, we will have harvested around 10lbs of this particular fruit, (which would have been more, had it not been for the couple of pounds or more of fruits discarded, thanks to the blossom end rot). They have been used mostly in a delicious and fresh sauce, along w/ some onions and peppers, to accompany pasta, but we have also used them in sauce for topping homemade pizzas and diced for sprinkling in some soft tacos.

Also a great success have been the two Yellow Cherry tomato plants. DS2, DW & I love picking and eating them straight off the vine, which is, of course the best way to eat any homegrown fare. DS1, however, seems to have lost his taste for tomatoes, (as well as any interest he had in the garden), and especially refuses to eat this variety, insisting that they aren’t ripe, despite numerous assurances that they are! These have been delicious, too.

The Marglobe plant has produced a couple of pounds, or thereabouts. These fruits are, simply put, amazing; juicy and mostly sweet, but with a little of that tomatoey acidity, they have been inhaled every time they’ve been served!

The Abe Lincoln plant has been a failure, it’s grown some, but never seemed to have flowered, let alone set any fruit. It was sold as a late season plant, but I can’t really see that phrase meaning this late in the season, as it would be well into October when any fruits are borne!

The broccolli was delicious, too and I kind of wish we had grown more, as to stretch the crop we tried using the greens and leaving in the post-harvest stumps. I found the greens a little tough, even with the stalks removed and only a couple of stumps showed a second growth, and nothing really worth harvesting.

Apart from the lemon balm, the herbs never really recovered from a severe harvesting I did, back in July. The oregano we had in a pot on the porch suffered most.

The chili pepper and bell pepper plants, (one of each), went into a kind of limbo after I moved them onto the porch, after the initial successful fruiting of the chili plant. A few weeks ago, I moved them out back, so they are up against the south-facing back wall of the house and we have some bell pepper fruits forming, though they’re also getting nibbled a little.

The two large butternut squash we harvested about eight weeks ago have been consumed. The first was split, deseeded and microwaved; it tasted OK, but that is all. This past weekend I did the same to the other one, except I sprinkled olive oil, salt and pepper upon the flesh-side of each half, before wrapping each in foil and cooking them on the grill until the flesh felt soft. The result was divine! We have a few more surviving on the remainder of the vine, but not sure just how big they will get.

The blackberry plant we put in has been, basically, neglected! The main plant seems to have died, but plenty of the off-shoots (suckers) flourished, even if they did not fruit prolifically, (though I think the birds and squirrels beat us on that count!).

Finally the beans worked out OK. They are still producing pods, but each has to be harvested quickly, whilst young and tender. None of these have been cooked before consuming, and all but a few “tasters” for the rest of the family have been consumed by yours truly! I tried letting a couple of pods go, as the comparative bean size between those used to grow the plants and those harvested have been around 2:1, respectively, but it just resulted in tough, stringy pods. again, those harvested at the right time have been juicy and tasty.

So… lesson’s learned from this year’s endeavors?

Firstly, we need to expand the beds. With only one-and-a-half of our 4’x8′ beds utilized, I can still see that to get a good sized crop that will make a difference to our food bills and eating habits, there will need to be more growing space. Obviously the best solution would be more raised beds, but the costs are too high, buy the time lumber and compost are purchased; I could mark out the 4’x8′ beds and use a tiller to make the beds straight in the ground, but I may resort to a few 8′ strips.

Secondly, plan better. Think of the produce we enjoy a lot of and grow those; staggered plantings, (i.e. we get produce throughout the seasons); varieties of the same crops w/ different fruiting seasons; crop rotations; crop/plant pairings and spacings.

Thirdly, sort out a proper compost area. Having just a “tump” where all the stuff gets dumped is not working.

All this should lead to me needing to spend more time in the garden, too. Since we have so few things producing and in such a slap-dash, thready manner, its been easy for me to kind of forget the yard and stay inside and venture out just for the occasional five-minute harvesting of the crops.

So… how was your growing season?

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