As I plan next year’s garden I am making notes on what did well and what didn’t. Lets take a look at the vegetable garden. Our new kitchen garden surpassed all our dreams. It used the space well and was easy to maintain. Having a garden in full sun makes everything grow well.
Of all the plants I grew this year in the new kitchen garden, the award for best production goes to cucumber ‘Garden Oasis’. I thought I never see the end of the cucumbers but now I miss all seventy pounds of them. Cucumbers are one vegetable that isn’t canned except in pickle form. Going forward I plan to grow more sustainable crops and less cucumbers. I want food that will store well so we can eat from the garden during winter.
I grew several tomatoes for a seed bank. Above is ‘Little Lucky’ of which I had only two seeds to grow from. Each seed germinated but the plants had a rough time growing. One even looked like it had a fungal disease on the leaves so I pulled the container from the greenhouse and figured I would watch it and wait. A couple of weeks later it grew new leaves and recovered. I will never know what the problem was but I had some fruit from the plants. It’s a yellow tomato with a point at the base. Flavour is just so so, nothing remarkable.
Top award went to the black cherry tomato. Oh my, this plant just kept on producing clusters of reddish-brown fruit all summer long. Will I grow this again? You bet. It’s not only bite sized and an easy snack in the garden but its pretty tasty as well.
Snow White cherry tomato did well considering our hot weather. The tomato plants took a break from developing fruit when the temperatures were too high. At the end of August they all did much better. What I did notice is the cherry tomatoes produced better in our hot dry conditions.
This is a cluster of the black cherry tomatoes. I used mesh bags to cover the flowers and isolate them. The red string marks that this cluster is for seed and I should save it for next years plants. Once these cherry tomatoes ripened I collected them for seed.
I also grew Giant Belgium tomatoes for the seed bank. I was given all beefsteak tomato seeds as we have a fairly long growing season. What we didn’t know is how hot the summer would be. Many of the beefsteak were picked green in early October and brought inside to ripen.
This is a nice tomato, good for salads and slicing. As you can see the seeds are in little pockets along the outside. A quick scoop of the seeds into a jar for fermenting and saving and then we could eat the rest of the fruit.
What would I change next year? Since they have predicted another hot dry summer, I will reduce the number of tomato plants down to one raised bed. I had such good results from peppers that I may grow some new kinds this year. Do you have a favourite to suggest? I have grown jalapeno, mini bell and regular green peppers so far. I love being able to pull peppers out of the freezer for my fall and winter meals.
I won’t need to grow as much basil next year since the freezer has about 35 pesto meals inside. This full sun garden had the basil plants growing into 24″ high shrubs. When I removed the plants last week the stems were woody and had to be chopped up before composting them. I found that the Red Rubin basil did not tolerate the cold weather in fall. I still have one plant of Italian large leaf basil that seemed to be the hardiest.
There is no frost in site yet. Next year I will grow more root crops like carrots, beets, potatoes, parsnip, sweet potatoes and onions. I may even grow some beans for drying to add to the soup pot. I am already planning my kitchen garden for next year. I miss having onions to use all winter. I planted my onion sets too late. Most of the onions were smaller than in previous years. I had a good potato crop but realized we don’t eat potatoes in the summer. They seem to be more of a fall vegetable so I may plant them later for a late harvest or leave them in the ground and use them as we need them. I found that the early harvest of potatoes are already sprouting in the garage since our fall is so warm. So it’s a toss up, leave them in the ground instead and lose valuable growing space for a second crop or harvest them as I normally do. Oh how I wish for a root cellar! Unfortunately we live below sea level so no chance of that here.