How did your garden grow this summer? Now that September is here I am pulling in the last of the summer harvests. This year has been a good one for growing tomatoes on the west coast. Our cool summer with periods of rain and sun is perfect for tomatoes compared to last years record heat and drought.
This year I planted three raised beds of tomatoes with a mix of early season and late season plants. Gold Nugget was the only hybrid in the tomato garden bearing fruit as early as the last week of June. The latest tomato to ripen, and I am still waiting, is Mama Leone. Its covered in green fruit but it may have to ripen on the counter if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Mama Leone tomato plants struggled from the very beginning as I only had two seeds. From leaf spots to dieback, I wasn’t sure I would be able to keep them going. As it was I had only one plant survive.
The best tomato this year has to be Sylvan Gaume with its three-quarter pound fruit and Peacevine with its sweet red cherry tomatoes. It’s so hard to decide on a favourite tomato but this year I have saved seed from all of them. Be sure to look for my tomato plant list in the spring.
Celery has grown like crazy and I have so much more to harvest. This year I tried Red Stalk celery and Tall Utah and both were easy to grow from seed.
Yes, the weather has not been the best for vegetables this year. Warm weather plants like cucumbers, pumpkins, peppers and zucchini either sulked their way to late production or grew the smallest fruit ever. I never have problems with pollination but our rainy weather had the bees hiding when we needed them the most. I have had lots of questions about squash and cucumbers falling off the vine and its all about pollination. Last year I had 70 pounds of cucumbers from six plants. This year I have a total of three cucumbers. Late spring rains brought us powdery mildew and it covered early squash plantings. So there have been some disappointments but the successes make up for the losses.
Lettuce and other salad greens had an early start until we had a hot spell in May and our plants bolted and went to seed. I was thankful for the row of greens planted under the shade of the tomato plants. They are still doing well and more planting was done in August to ensure we had fall crops.
Herbs did well in the kitchen garden this year. I grew several kinds of basil that need to be harvested this week. From sweet basil, Thai and cardinal basil, I will have pesto all winter long. There is nothing better than grabbing a few sprigs of dill for the grilled salmon or rosemary to add to roasted tomatoes. I like to tuck in herbs along the edges of the raised beds. This year my beds are lined with holy basil which is new to me. I am in the process of drying the leaves to use as tea for the winter. It’s great if your immune system needs a boost and to aid in preventing flu and cold symptoms. I am all over that if it works.
So you never know from year to year what the growing season will be like. Mother nature is queen of the garden season and we have to go with the flow, adapt when we have to, replant if need be and be thankful for all the abundance we have grown. After all, we get to do it all over again next year.