Saturday, August 20, 2016

2016 Garden

2016 was kind of a mad year for gardening for me. Work and life conspired to keep us from getting the garden in until late this year. As a result, when we went looking for plants the 2nd to last weekend of May, things were pretty well picked over. We had already decided to downsize the garden this year, eliminating the one long, skinny bed where we haven't had much luck of getting anything but weeds to grow. We also decided not to plant onions. We do love our home grown Candies, but onions are cheap and easy to get at the grocers so better to devote the space to other plants.

No pictures this time. I didn't get any when the garden was new and pretty and now it is sad and droopy.

We planted 2 cherry tomatoes and 4 basil plants in the small bed near the garage. My beloved SuperSweet 100s are loosing favor with me now. The tomatoes are consistently small and tend to fall off the vines before I can pick them, making for a lot of cleanup. I just pulled the SuperSweet to give the Sunsugar more room. As in years past, the yellow Sunsugar cherry tomatoes are magnificent. Lovely, large tomatoes that tend to stay put until you pick them. They are sweet and delicious in salads or just for snacking. One plant is PLENTY for us with some to share. Next year I think I will just put the one Sunsugar and basil plants in this bed.

In the long bed I planted 3 Early Girl, 1 Mountain Fresh and 1 Supersonic tomato. The Early Girl closest to the garage didn't produce much and has already died off. I don't think it got enough sun there. That is where we usually plant onions so may have to think of a more shade tolerant plant to go there. The other 2 Early Girls are still producing abundantly. The Mountain Fresh produced nice, flavorful tomatoes, just not many. It has already died off. The Supersonic is a new one to me. It produces fabulous beefsteak tomatoes. The biggest problem I'm having is the weight of the tomatoes breaking the stalks. Otherwise, loving this one and will look for it again.

The big bed had a zucchini and a yellow squash which produced adequately but not as abundant as some years. We didn't even get one monster zucchini this year!

I planted 2 rows of kohlrabi. I haven't planted kohlrabi in years and it is a pleasant addition that I intend to keep going forward. I need to thin the plants better next year since these seem crowded. I thinned them a week or two ago and the bulbs are finally starting to get bigger.

4 jalapeno peppers for C's hot tooth.

4 San Marzano tomatoes. These were a happy find that I had never seen before. While I should have only planted 3 (4 is too crowded and has effected production) the tomatoes I've gotten are wonder. Nice meaty plum tomatoes, perfect for drying. I'm sure they would also make fantastic sauce. Will look for these again next year.

I had to go with Black Beauty eggplant as we could not find my favorite Dusky's anywhere. They are not producing well, we've only gotten 3 or 4 so far. The round, deeply lobed eggplants they yield are difficult to peel and loaded with seeds. I may order Dusky seeds and start my own next year just to be sure we can get them!

And finally bell peppers. I couldn't find my favorite Red Knight and King Arthur peppers so we went with Flavorburst and Bell Boy. The Flavorburst are a medium sized, thin walled pepper that matures to yellow. They are pretty good, but nothing to write home about. The Bell Boys are just starting to come in. These are a nice, large size pepper, medium walled and that mature to red. The plants are quite full and loaded with blooms so I'm hoping for a decent crop yet.

The size and variety of plants in our downsized garden worked well. I was able to keep up with weeding (love my hula hoe!) and, except for the plum tomatoes, everything had the space it needs. And we still have plenty of veggies for us. Hopefully next year we'll be able to start earlier again.

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