Monday, September 16, 2013

Lessons From the Gardening Year

Sorry to have disappeared off the map for a little while. My husband broke his arm and had to have surgery, so the garden took a backseat to life. 

There is a possibility of a frost tonight. We covered our peppers and picked a good handful of tomatoes that were on their way to ripening. It's been a good season. The weeds caught up to us in the end. They always do. At some point, we stop weeding and start harvesting and preserving and we never look back. :)

Thought I would reflect back on our year so far:

1. I missed growing Green Zebra tomatoes this year. Sure they take a long time to ripen but there is something about the flavor that I just love. Will make sure they are in next year's garden as I haven't found too many in the local markets.

2. T and I agreed that we just aren't big fans of Sungold cherry tomatoes. I know many people love them, but we found them too sweet. Also, they don't hold well off the vine and end up tasting fermented. We missed Matt's Wild and will be sure to go back to that variety next year.

3. Do you remember the mycorrhizal dip for our tomatoes? Well, We didn't mulch the tomatoes early enough and early blight took a strong hold. We wonder if the dip helped them last as long as they did! Perhaps we'll try it again next year with early mulch application to see if we notice a difference.

4. Three zucchini plants are still too many for two people. Cutting back to two next year. 

5. Cucumber beetles and squash bugs were the garden pests of the year. I think the squash bugs take first prize. In the five years we've lived in this house, we've never seen them in our garden. Our neighbors also had them this year.

6. If we grow melons and pumpkins again, we'll need to fence them. We lost a few precious melons to raccoons. 

7. Cilantro is best grown in Vermont in the fall. Our spring plants always bolt, but we're got some gorgeous cilantro in our field right now.

8. Our favorite tomato this year was the German Pink. T says, "They are big, beautiful, tasty tomatoes."

9. It's hard to grow strawberries from seed, but the little French alpine plants are tough. They were slow to get started, but we are still enjoying the tiny berries! It's rather exciting to be picking a locally-grown strawberry in September. 

10. We had another great garlic harvest. We'll be able to keep ourselves in garlic for the winter. Love that thought.

11. The hardest part of gardening in the Northeast is waiting for the soil to warm up! We think we planted our peppers a little too early to mixed results.

12. Our eggplants produced flower after flower but no fruit. I think I'd rather try to grow okra.

13. Thanks to our Baby Pam pumpkins we just had a supper of Thai pumpkin soup. We saved one aside for our Thanksgiving pie.

14. We tried to plant our Brussels sprouts in the summer for a fall harvest but the plants never took off. We'll be getting our sprouts from a local farmer this year. We'll plant much earlier last year like we've  always done in the past. 

15. Even in a so-so tomato year, we still harvest enough to can tomatoes for the winter.

I'm sure most of your gardens are still kicking, and this frost may never come to pass, but I'd still love to hear any lessons you've learned from this season. Happy harvesting!


  1. I really missed my green zebra's too - already made a note to grow them next year - they are so pretty and so tasty!

    We have red and white alpine strawberries, I can't believe they've been producing for 2+ months already (in RI) Happy Fall Gardening!

  2. just harvested a beautiful watermelon last night. man, the melons are tasty this year (even if i did only get about 5). i enjoyed reading your garden notes. i took a few notes of my own from your list!

  3. Hm, good to know the Green Zebras are late to ripen ~ I'm looking out at our single plant right now, so big it's held up with 4 tomato cages and loaded with unripe tomatoes. When they ripen it will be a nice crop.

    Otherwise we learned this year, our 2nd summer in our new house, that the previous owners built the raised beds in a part of the property with not enough sun to grow veggies. So next spring I will be building new beds.

    Also, the compost pile sent out a wonderful collection of vines: so far we've harvested little pumpkins, summer squash, decorative gourds and there is a single large green pumpkin still growing.

    Plants are so much fun.