Garden good, bad and ugly

Now that we’re coming to the end of the growing season and everything is starting to get brown and crinkly, I feel like I can evaluate everything we decided to grow this year. Overall it went really well, I think.

Successes:
• Both cherry tomato plants grew well beyond anything we could have imagined. They got so big they actually flopped over and have nearly collapsed their cages. We had so many that we got sick of them a long time ago.


These have grown way up into the orange tree, well above my head. And they’re still covered in green tomatoes!

Mom and I started taking cherry tomatoes to our neighborhood crop swap (such a great idea, btw!) and I think even our neighbors are sick of them. Next year I think one plant would be plenty. The orange variety tasted better, in my opinion.
• Cucumbers grew and produced like crazy. If I had to do it over I might choose a variety that is a little less bitter. Ours were nice pickled but not so great plain.
• The San Marzano tomato plant has also grown like mad. It’s overflowed into the surrounding plants.

We’ve picked buckets of tomatoes from that plant, but the good thing about those is that when you peel and cook them down for sauce they make a much smaller amount. So you can’t really have too many.

• The “Michael Pollan” tomato plant took a while to mature, but now it has what I would call a sane amount of tomatoes on it and they are really tasty. Just like a tiny Green Zebra.

• The standard looking tomato we planted has been producing a lot of tomatoes without going too crazy. They’re good, but nowhere near as tasty as Purple Cherokees. Next year, heirlooms!

• Mint just needed a little compost in order to go nuts like normal mint.

Getting there:
• Strawberries did pretty well, but we need more!
• The blueberries and raspberry plants produced a few berries, but I think these plants need time to really grow to maturity.
• I had just about given up on our pepper plants when one of them perked up. It now has a nice looking pepper on it. Maybe more compost next time?

• I’m still holding onto hope that our little mandarin tree will produce edible fruit. Most of the oranges that survived to a bigger size are still there and some of them are turning yellow!

Failures:
• I think we grew about 3 edible green beans before all the plants died. We may have started them too late or put them in not-great soil.
• The purple tomatillos grew tons of flowers and little casings, but they are all empty inside. Not sure why since they appear healthy.

We don’t have a ton of room to add more plants but I think next year it would be nice to have some sort of zucchini or squash. It just doesn’t feel like a summer garden without them. So funny that at our crop swap no one had any! But there were all sorts of interesting things like lemon cucumbers, Thai papayas and Meyer lemons.

We’d love to have rhubarb, too. And maybe some beets. We’ve grown carrots and lettuces in the past, but I’m not sure we liked them enough to do it again.