2014 will definitely go down as one of the strangest years when it comes to vegetable gardening in this area. Even my flowers were strange. I attribute most of the issues I had with water-too much or two little at the wrong times. I should have known from my hydrangea putting up blooms in an entirely different color at the beginning of the season that something was up! I suspected it might have been from too much water from all the snow melt off and I think I was right. As the season progressed the colors were back to normal so I guess mineral levels were starting to get back to what they usually are. It definitely surprised me when my normally blue/purple blooms showed up as lavender!
The biggest let down for me this season was the lettuce. I really think the roots just rotted off. Whenever I would pick it, instead of tearing nicely like it usually does, it would just pull out of the soil, roots (what little there was) and all. I mentioned in a previous post that I thought about replanting and I even bought seeds to give it a try, but I held off and I was glad that I did. I finally gave up a couple of weeks ago and told my husband to get rid of it. I don't think a rabbit would have even wanted to eat what I had. Argh!
My onions were also a bit of a failure, but for a totally different reason. I only planted half as many and replanted a couple of slightly mature ones left from last year to see how they did. The mature ones did okay, I just pulled a couple this morning. The new plants sprouted, but what I didn't think about was the tomato plant that I put in right next to them. We have since named it "The Monster"--in all my years of growing things, I have NEVER seen a tomato plant grow as big as this one did. It takes up a ton of space and shaded my onions to the point that they never got very far.
The peppers did okay, definitely not as well as last year. Partially to blame was the fact that they were planted a whole month later than last year due to cold weather lasting well in to May/beginning of June. But they also didn't thrive like last year. I'm not sure if it was because I used different planting soil with them than I usually do, but I didn't get nearly as many nice large banana peppers as I did last season. I did get enough for us to have sausage stuffed peppers several times and I just picked off a bunch to use in salsa and freeze for other cooking. There are a few still maturing, but I think we are getting very close to the end of them, I don't see many new starts or blooms/buds.
Without a doubt, the tomatoes did the best of everything. The cherry tomatoes are still going strong, I see some little ones forming and some buds too, so we will have those a little bit longer and the plant is in a pot, so even if we should get some frost, I can bring them in and extend the season. The Roma tomatoes (my favorite!) have also done very well, but I think we are in the last days of harvesting those. And then there's the Beefsteak...that's The Monster. It took a while, but once we started getting tomatoes off it, we had a steady supply. This week it is going great guns, enough that we gave away tomatoes to the neighbors and may have to again before the week is out. The only issue I've had with our tomatoes is that they have been splitting. A friend told me that it is caused by inconsistent watering. Imagine that, around here we don't get just steady rains anymore, it's either nothing or torrential downpour. It didn't seem to affect how many we got though, our neighbor commented that we got more tomatoes off the one plant than a friend of his got out of his whole garden. We must have done something right.
This morning I picked everything that was ready so I could assess where we were at and figure out what I'm going to do next:
I had some tomatoes in the refrigerator that I picked a couple of days ago so I used the two onions, a pepper and several tomatoes to make a batch of fresh salsa-yum!! One nice thing about having these out of my own garden is knowing that they were just picked, I can use the peppers over the next couple of weeks in my cooking. Everything has tasted fabulous, particularly the tomatoes. I will miss them when the season comes to an end.
Now I have to start thinking about next year as I get everything ready to clean up for the season. I don't think I will bother with onions next year, it hasn't been one of my better "crops". We are also kind of tired of the peppers, so I may just skip those for a year, I can always buy those somewhere if we decide we need them. I will try lettuce again since I have the seeds and I will definitely do some tomato plants again. My husband agreed with me that perhaps we need to give the two permanent beds a rest anyhow, so we will be restricted to our smaller planters. I am thinking next year we will plant Roma and Heirloom, those seem to do the best here and I love the flavor of both.
Autumn is only a couple of days away...where did the summer go?