Thursday, September 6, 2012

My thoughts on my garden this year - very boring to everyone but me

As harvest time is nearing an end, I am exhausted and somewhat thankful that it is almost done. And all I have is a large backyard garden and some fruit trees. This week we hope to finish picking the corn and green beans, and start eating the winter squash. I also need to pick some more tomatoes, as they are ripening more every day. I already picked a few bushels and made salsa. I also picked 50 lbs of tomatillos and made salsa verde last weekend. I made 15 loaves of zucchini bread, and shredded the rest of the zucchini and froze it in quart sized bags. There are a few more that will be ready to pick in the next few days.

And it goes on and on. I didn't even mention my cucumbers or peppers, or swiss chard, or radishes. Or my cabbage, which will be done soon, as well!

These are all firsts for me. I never have "put up" (that is the lingo here for canning and freezing) items that I have grown before. But this year, I made dozens and dozens of jam and jelly and preserves. I ate tons of fresh fruit and veggies, salad after salad, until I was sick of all the vegetables. How do vegetarians do it? I need variety, and lots of cheese :)

But one thing I will do differently next year in my garden is planting the corn and beans separate. This year I did the three sisters gardening, which is where you plant the corn, then the beans to grow up the corn, and then the squash is the "ground cover" in between the stalks. Well, it got a little out of hand, the beans and the squash both grew up my beautiful corn stalks, and bent them over, so it was all one tangled mess.

Another thing I will do next year is to space things out more. I didn't realize my tomato bushes would get as tall as me, or that my squash will climb up anything that gets in their growing path. I didn't realize my onions would get so big, either! There is no room to really pick anything without squeezing in between bushes and plants and stepping on vines.

One last thing I will do next year is to plan better in spacing the planting of the lettuces, carrots, radishes and cilantro out. I need to plant in stages, so that every two weeks I will plant new row, and that way I will have all those delicious veggies and herbs at all times during the summer.

Did you have a garden this year? what are some tips you learned?

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