Okay, well, it’s not exactly my first garden…I grew a few little plants in containers last year, and we had a big garden back when I was ten or so. But now RC is mistress of her very ownty downty homestead, complete with garden space! *singsong*
I don’t own this picture
This year’s garden was (barely) contained in one 10×30 chickenwire-covered frame and one 8×10 greenhouse. Sandwiched between the freak freeze in May and the Thanksgiving ice storm, we had a long, lovely growing season. This was my first ‘real’ garden of my own. With the slick, sticky clay in our soil, and my relative lack of field experience (ahem…sorry…couldn’t resist that one), I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. But it exceeded my expectations greatly.
I know you’re just dying to read a list of all the yummy veggies I grew! So…here it is!
Persimmon: gorgeous huge yellow-gold fruit, tasty, meaty with few seeds. Slow to mature. Most seed packets say 80 days. Mine didn’t bear that heavily, but it was quite robust and cuttings sprouted very easily.
A bit blurry…but a luscious Persimmon ‘mater about to be chomped!
Chadwick Cherry: little red globes of forget-yourself deliciousness. The undisputed champion of this summer’s garden. This one was the first to bear (in early July), and kept chugging along, pumping out tomatoes through the worst of the summer heat. It slowed down when the weather cooled in October, but more than earned its keep.
Lovely cherry tomatoes
Principe Borghese: deep red, smoky-tasting cherry-sized fruit, with a lovely meaty texture. It didn’t bear as heavily as the Cherry, but was equal in the yum factor.
Hurry up and ripen!! The funny point on the end looks like a cute little nose.
Costoluto Fiorentino: this is an Italian heirloom variety that was good for the wow factor. The fruits had a funny ribbed, flattened look that was pretty cool. It produced quite a few over the season, although it declined in the fall. These tomatoes were best eaten fresh or the same day they were picked; while my Borghese and Cherries lasted over a week on the kitchen counter, Fiorentinos spoiled more quickly. They do have a thin skin and lots of juice and seeds. The flavor was standard tomato, with a slight exotic flair.
I don’t seem to be good at getting pictures of ripe tomatoes, but I am good at getting pictures of unripe, funky little spaceships
Scatalone: these were Roma-shaped and tasted pretty good, but this plant died from causes I was unable to sleuth out.
Red Pear: another Roma-shaped pale red tomato. I thought the taste was only moderately good, but then I like spicier cherry tomatoes. This one was never as strong as the others, but that could have been the fact that it didn’t receive as much afternoon shade because of where it was planted.
Ecuador: called a tree tomato. (?) I waited too long before transplanting, so it got very root bound and never thrived. I got a few pumpkin-shaped, 1- to 2-inch fruits off it, but then it gave up the ghost.
Black from Tula: this one grew in a container since I didn’t have the space right when it needed planting. It was much like the Chadwick Cherry, but with slightly larger fruit with a superb spicy but mellow flavor.
California Wonder Bell Pepper: mine were a little slow to bear, but probably because I don’t have the fertilizer knack quite down yet. The peppers were small, but absolutely delicious. They slowed down through the very hottest part of the summer, but came back again in October.
Ruffled Pimiento Sweet Pepper: a novel little plant. They were shaped like flattened pumpkins. The taste was sweet, but with just the faintest hint of spiciness. Definitely one to grow again.
Another spaceship, with a hailstone scar
Anaheim chile: the champion of my pepper patch. This one grew the fastest, bore fruit earliest, and was the healthiest. That plant was LOADED with peppers all season long, even during the hot weeks. I picked bowlfuls of 6-inch peppers that were mild tasting, without a hint of heat, but good night, what a flavor. Dark and smoky. Rather addictive really. I will have to be careful I don’t plant TOO many of these next year. But then again, I can always give them away to friends.
Best chile pepper I ever tasted.
Beans: Orient Wonder Yard Long: maybe mine didn’t grow quite that long, but they certainly grew as long as from my fingertip to my elbow. They were very tasty, excellent in stir fry mixes, but I didn’t water the plants properly and they died.
Baby beans before transplanting
Pumpkin: we grew a cheese pumpkin as well. We have eaten one before and it was delicious. The vine grew like crazy! However, something went wrong, and every time I would see a little marble-sized pumpkin, it would disappear after a few days. So we never got any. If anyone who reads this knows what I did wrong, let me know!
Pumpkin leaves make RC think of elephant ears
Cantaloupe: this was a Hale’s Best from the grocery garden center. It grew well once the weather got warm enough, but then got really hammered by a bad hailstorm, and never quite recovered. We only got one melon about the size of a large grapefruit, but oh my gracious stars, did it taste good.
Basil: I don’t know the variety, but grew it in a container all summer. It was quite happy. There are few things as good as freshly picked basil in a soup or olive oil dip. I let it go to seed right after Thanksgiving, and am collecting as many as possible. No, I am not addicted to fresh basil. Hush.
Very happy basil plant
So there you have it! The awesomely interesting recap of my gardening exploits for the summer. If any of you wonderful readers of mine are also gardeners, I would love to hear about your experiences! Now we’ll have to see how much trouble I can get into this winter with my cool-season veggies…