Tuesday, September 29, 2009

What I've Learned This Year....

My garden's had another round of "bounty" and I harvested so much basil yesterday! Mounds of it. Problem was, it's the kind of basil that's my least favorite, and there's plenty of my favorite still to harvest. I might even get rid of this batch! Maybe I'll freeze it while I ponder what to do with it. It's the Marseilles basil and it's flavor is just not as good as the Genovese; not as distinctive as the Thai or Lime.... This is the time of year to let basil go to seed and/or harvest as much as we can of it. That first frost will be here before we know it! Frost won't harm oregano, rosemary, thyme, etc.

Here's what I've learned during this year of gardening:

  • I will only plant Thai, Lime, and Sweet Genovese basil next year.
  • I do not need 4 cayenne/kung pao pepper plants (anyone need some peppers? One plant is almost as tall as I am now and is producing like crazy. I've already harvested upwards of 40 peppers--green and red--and the plants are still going strong.)
  • I do not need 3 jalapeno pepper plants. They've done better than ever this year, and I have tons in the freezer.
  • I do need a poblano chili plant and multiple bell pepper plants. They've done well this year with all this water--and they need some serious staking since they've heavy laden.
  • I do need 4 green bean plants--that was just right for us.
  • I'm not going to bother with limas, black beans, and so forth....
  • I only need one zucchini plant.
  • Green tomatoes are well worth harvesting.
  • I also need a plethora of cucumber plants--especially those "Divas" we got from Park.
  • The little orange cherry tomatoes were to die for.
  • Mr. Stripey tomatoes are the prettiest.
  • Rutgers tomatoes do quite well for me.
  • I will only plant tomatoes next year in pots or in a square foot gardening patch.
  • I only need 1-2 plants of each type of winter squash (what I had this year); they like being near the compost patch, and they are YUMMY. Bonbon squashes are a must for next year--especially since we can't buy those in a store. I need to save some pumpkin seeds, too, because whatever variety has volunteered this year is sweet like a butternut squash.
  • Herbs are the cheapest and easiest way to make your meals gourmet. If you have some growing, you can make a humble pot of beans shine.
  • Napa cabbage did well for me; I'll make a go of that in the spring (I've missed my fall window for stuff).
  • I'll only do spring stuff in square foot gardening plots that are well fenced in....
  • Snow peas did well for me AND my kids like 'em, so I'll do a couple of rows next year.
  • August and late September are heavy garden-harvest times, so I'd better clear my schedule.
  • Next year, I need to defrost my freezer in May, before the garden gets going. I keep trying to empty our freezer so I can defrost it, but every week, some new garden produce is going in (bell peppers, green tomato puree, hot peppers, spaghetti squash, salsa, pizza sauce, pasta sauce, bags of basil, pesto, green beans--there's a lot in there!)
  • I need to figure a way to keep my boys OUT OF THE GARDEN. I've kept a record of my harvest--but only the harvest that's made it to the kitchen. I should have kept a record of all the green tomatoes, green peppers, green cayennes, green cucumbers they've picked. The cucumbers they recognize and sometimes pick when ripe; the others have all been labeled "apples" and seem to call those little fingers with a siren call.... They can't resist picking them no matter how many times Mom loses it, spanks, makes them come inside, etc.
If I had to make a stab at what you've all learned, here's my guess:

  • Alicia's learned: moving in garden season is no fun.
  • Sara's learned: making friends with groundhogs is a bad pre-garden strategy. (And also that mushroom compost is your friend! Her plants are AMAZING looking)
  • Katie's learned: she won't be gardening too much next summer since she'll have a newborn to take care of!
  • Cassie's learned: I don't know! How were those heirloom peas you mentioned a while back?

1 comment:

  1. ha ha ha - that's exactly what I learned!

    Moving = sad gardening. :(

    But, I've also learned that my friends are wonderful and so willing to share their bounty!

    I can't wait for next year. We have a tiny space, but I intend to use it as wisely as possible.