Garden Notes 2010

I know perfectly well that I will never remember all the lessons I learned from this year’s garden if I don’t write them down. So, with this in mind, here are my thoughts. Would love to hear from all gardeners with their ideas, advice, etc.

This year’s garden was a pretty good success. The mix of items could be improved and there were some things which we just didn’t enjoy, but we sure got a lot of tomatoes and cucumbers and it looked spectacular with the shooting sunflowers in the center.

Lettuce. We had way too much lettuce. I planted it in flights about three weeks apart as recommended, but we couldn’t eat it fast enough and much of  it went to seed. Peter didn’t like the lettuce because it wasn’t what he was used to (iceberg). I have four packets of lettuce seeds left over from this year. At the end of the season after I had cleaned things up for the winter, I opened the gate to the garden and let the bunnies come take care of the lettuce. They thought it was quite tasty.

Cucumbers. Ellie begged me to plant cucumbers. I don’t really like cucumbers, but Jim does and Ellie does. We had cucumbers coming out our ears and no one wanted to eat them. Not unlike zucchini, they grew with terrifying rapidity. Giant cucumbers would emerge from the lush vines. And the vines were crawling everywhere. I had to stop using the gate and step over the fence because the cucumbers owned the passage. Deep six next year.

Swiss chard. Planted it for Jim. He loves swiss chard even though I hate to clean it. We ate it once and the rest just sat. Deep six next year.

Sunflowers. Planted “Supersnack Hybrid” sunflowers from Burpee. They are supposed to have inch long seeds which are perfect for roasting. They grew tall and gorgeous, but then the flowers died and we never got any seeds. Try another variety next year. I did love the profusion of tall plants spraying up like a fountain from the middle of the garden.

Herbs. The herb garden was fun and mostly a success. Basil was good. But I ordered six different varieties. Next year I will just plant the normal kind. The more unusual varieties were not as useful. San Remo and Pesto Perpetuo Basil were both good. I ordered them as plants from Burpee. Thyme and marjoram were both fun as was Rosemary. I used the last of those herbs in December for a big pot of soup. It was deliciousw soup and I was so happy to brush the snow away and find a few last home grown herbs. 

Tomatoes. Tomatoes were the stars of the garden. I adore tomatoes and I would spend any amount of time out there trimming and caring for my tomato plants. Some varieties were great, others less worthwhile. I planted 14 tomato plants which was arguably too much both in terms of available space and the ability to keep up with yield. Some tomatoes withered on the vines because we just couldn’t eat fast enough. I distributed many to the neighbors, the mailman, the pool man and anyone else who happened by the cul de sac—like Peter’s driving teacher.  Next year I think I will reduce the number of plants to no more than 9 or 10.

Black Pearl Tomato– from Burpees. These were very tasty small tomatoes with a dark brown/red appearance. I planted three of them. I ate those right off the vine. I felt like a brown bear standing in the garden and just plucking the little tomatos and popping them into my mouth. I think one bush would have been enough, but I will definitely should plant some next year. They were very tasty.

Big Rainbow Tomato-from Burpee. These were quite beautiful. The plants produced well and I will definitely order next year. Yum, can’t wait. 

Gold-Medal Yellow Tomato-from White Flower Farm. Part of Bobbie’s Christmas present to me. This didn’t yield a lot of tomatoes and they were late in the season. I would like to have some yellow tomatoes, but it might be good to try a variety which matures more quickly. They were tasty, but will try another variety.

Riesentraube Tomato-from White Flower Farm. The name translates to big grape. They are cherry tomatoes with a funny little point on the end. They were very tasty. I think they got overlooked by the Black Pearl tomatoes, but I plan to try them again next year. 

Red Brandywine tomatoes-White Flower Farm. Classic brandywine. Definitely worth buying next year whether from White Flower or elsewhere.

Green Zebra Tomatoes-White Flower Farm. Hard to tell when these were ripe because I kept waiting for the green to leave. Good plant, mark next year so I know they are supposed to be red and green.

Black Prince Tomato-White Flower Farm. This was the kinkiest, most gorgeous tomato. I was sorry that I didn’t get more of them but the plant I had was damaged in a terrible wind storm and I think it was brave to grow at all. Will definitely try again next year. Gorgeous color.

Fourth of July Tomatoes-Burpee. Had ordered three of these. Ordered them because they mature quickly. But they were quite small. I think one bush next year just to have that early tomato fix. I like bigger slicing tomatoes and these were too small to slice. 

Planting formation. The garden was a circle like a clockface. Standing at the gate, facing the garden the tomatoes were planted from 3-6 and 9-12. Herbs were planted from 6-9 and lettuce from 12-4. I need to remember to rotate positions. I also need to remember to spread manure before turning the soil.

But all in all it wasn’t a bad first outing. Again, would love comments and advice.

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