Final Evaluation

In general, I am happy with the garden this year. The container garden extended the early season by at least a month. Our needs were filled and I was able to give a lot of tomatoes and some other produce away.

As far as the weather, the spring was cold, but we had a nice summer and ate outside most evenings. There were not a lot of mosquitos and we were short on rain from July on. The garden would have likely bee better if I had watered more through July and August. The Yellowjackets were bad in September, as usual, and fro the end of AUgust trough September a single hornet made the rounds on the back deck about once an hour. I spent hours looking for a nest but found none. She really didn’t bother us, but inspected under the eaves and seemed pre-occupied with the porch windows. Strange.

I think the soil in the old raised beds is depleted and needs enriching as does the edges of the heirloom bed. I’ll put the early girl and champion over the old compost bed next year. The new beds need a lot more organic matter. I ordered a Ryobi leaf mulcher today, so I can grind up my leaves and rototill them in before winter. There was no compost or peat moss available at Home Depot. I’ll have to see if I can find some online.

CONTAINER GARDEN – The container garden extended the tomato season over a month and the Jalapenos were bearing fruit from the start. The cucumbers in the pot were a little ahead of the others, but some were bitter. I have some bigger pots for next year because some of the smaller pots dried out too fast. I’ll mix all of the old soil together with the new so that all pots have the same mix. It would be good to get larger cherry tomato plants earlier. Availability was limited this year.

TOMATOES – Most of the heirlooms did well. The ones over the compost did better and I don’t know if that is because of variety or location. I’ll probably go with the same ones next year. I should probably fertilize when I plant. I didn’t do that this year. I will switch back to Goebbert’s Romas next year because there were way too many unripe tomatoes on the vines from Countryside this year. As far as Cherry and Grape tomatoes, Four or five pots is enough, but I need to get larger plants in earlier. I might have to be out earlier next year and making the rounds to see who has what. It is definitely not the same each year.

TOMATILLOS – The tomatillos got in late and would have done better if I had planted them earlier. I would rather have the purple ones. Three plants are enough.

PEPPERS – In general the peppers did well this year, but I think I planted them too closely in the new beds. Twelve Shishito plants are good. The cherry peppers bombed, they were tough and late to ripen, I won’t plant those again. The Jalapenos and Hungarian peppers did well, but I needed more green pepper plants. Possibly too many of the frying peppers. I may want to add some hot chili peppers next year.

EGGPLANT – Four plants are okay, but they need to go in the new beds and need lots of water.

CUCUMBERS – I still like the longer English style ones. They need taller trellises. I probably need to water them more especially if there is a drought. The lemon cucumbers did well from seed, but they need a tall trellis.

GREENS – Greens from seed are iffy, the weather needs to be just right. A cold-frame might help a lot. My best success was from setting out plants. The chinese cabbage from Goebbert’s did well with little care. I’ll probably plant some from seeds next year. Kale did wonderfully as did the swiss chard. I’ll probably start using them now.

ZUCCHINI – Zucchini was OK, but not super prolific. The Cocozelle from seed only produced a few fruits but they were good, although not all that different from the others. I should probably try some armenian ones next year. The Peter Pan squash was okay but not that different and not worth the effort, probably won’t plant it again.

FAILURES – The cucamelons did not germinate at all. Don’t know if they are worth the effort. The Fava beans germinated irregularly and were slow to mature. They are not worth the space. The cherry peppers were tough and slow to turn red. I didn’t get a single one worth using. The Fennel bolted, I need to see what the proper culture is because I would use it if I could grow it. The eggplant bombed, I probably didn’t get enough water on it early.

ADDITIONS – Early peas would be nice. I should also grow green beans. Mashed potato would be good as well as butternut squash if I have space.

HERBS – Herbs did well except that the flat-leaf Italian parsley bolted early. The curly parsley didn’t. I need to get basil in from seed at the end of June and at the end of July. I probably need more room for basil. I didn’t use a lot of the herbs because I wasn’t doing a lot of cooking with Covid. Just cooking for Natalie and I for the most part.

Chinese Cabbage

I picked the first head of Chinese cabbage today. The outer leaves were full of holes, but there was a nice compact head inside of those. I cut open the head to see whatthe inside looked like and it was mostly good. there were a few black spots on some of the leaves, but there were no bugs inside of the head. I cut off the few bad spots, mostly on the bottoms of the leaves and got a nice full freezer bag of leaves. I’ll make some kind of a stir fry with it on Monday.

End of the Garden (mostly)

We are having a little snow this morning. I ripped out all of the heirlooms yesterday and disposed of them in the gardening bin. I don’t want to compost most of the waste as it might harbor plant diseases for next year. I had already pulled out the zucchini and some of the peppers last week. I had picked all of the remaining peppers about a week and a half ago and still need to get them frozen.

I have a bunch of Roma tomatoes even though the plants are dying I will wait a couple of days before picking. If a tomato has any signs of ripening, it will finish ripening on the counter. If it is totally green, it will never ripen. Some of the romas are starting to ripen, so maybe I’ll get 1/2 dozen or so I can ripen in the house. There are still quite a few on the vines that are all green. For determinate tomatoes, they all should have been ripe. I think I like Goebbert’s varieties better.

So I have lots of Kale, swiss chard and Chinese cabbage. The outer leaves of the cabbage have lots of bug holes in them. Maybe I’ll make a head this week and see if they are usable.

I’ll probably pull most of the other plants before my pickup on Thursday.