Fall is here and this morning I had to turn on my furnace. That means the garden needs to be cleared and quickly tidied before bad weather arrives. It’s time to pull up the carrots and pick the last of the tomatoes, whether they’re ripe or not. (I call this time of year fried green tomato season. It’s a very delicious season.)
It’s also time to evaluate how this year’s harvest went. While I do find gardening enjoyable (except for the whole sweating and dirt under my fingernails part,) I mostly do it to provide food for the family. So it’s important for me to look over what worked this year and what didn’t.
First off, the tomatoes were wonderful. Oh beautiful red globes of deliciousness, how I love you.
This year the tomato plants filled up two of my garden beds and produced billions of fruit. (That is, admittedly, a rough estimate.) I harvested enough tomatoes to have plenty for eating and enough to can over 3o pints of tomato sauce. So the tomatoes were a hit and have earned themselves a spot on the roster for next year’s garden.
The strawberry bed produced over two gallons of delectable berries. I used them to make a dozen jars of strawberry-raspberry jam and we gorged ourselves on the rest. The wonderful thing about strawberry plants is that they send out little runners that make new plants every summer. With a little luck (and some good mulching) we should have a full bed of strawberry plants in the spring, ready to go without me doing a blessed thing. That right there is why strawberries rock.
This year for the first time I planted broccoli. It was pretty much a complete flop. I wasn’t sure what I was doing, I planted the starts too late in the season to get a good crop, and they took up a lot of room I could have used for other things. So broccoli, I’m sad to tell you that you will not be returning to the garden next year. The tribe has spoken.
Our spinach was just lovely this year. I mean, seriously, look at all this deliciousness.
Next year I will plant a spring crop of spinach and do a fall planting of spinach. We just love it so much. So around August 20th someone needs to remind me to plant my second crop of spinach seeds, okay? Any volunteers?
My ninja-like carrots that were planted into any spare corner I could find did amazingly well. I spent just one morning weeding and thinning little carrot plants and this fall I pulled almost three dozen good sized, dark orange carrots out of the garden. This week I’m going to make a spicy carrot and white bean soup with some of them (thank you Pinterest.) I definitely need to plant more next year.
My lettuce crop this year pretty much sucked. Most of the seeds didn’t germinate, and the little that did tasted rather bitter. So next year I am going to try a new variety. I’ve been perusing some seed catalogs and there are some delicious sounding lettuce out there: Buttercrunch, Red Butterhead, or Boston Bibb. I’m not sure how I’ll ever decide which one to try. Just like with the spinach, I plan on doing two crops because I am sick of spending $1.69 a pound for average grocery store lettuce. (Yes, my middle name is ‘cheap-skate.’)
That is pretty much what my gardens did this summer. All in all, it was a good harvest. Now, I can’t wait to spend the cold winter days pouring over seed catalogs with their gorgeous photographs, deciding and redeciding what seeds to purchase, and planning what plants go in what raised bed.
Did you garden this year? How did yours turn out?