Wednesday, September 29, 2010

2010 Vegetable Garden Review

Vegetable gardens are different from flower beds in that most of the plants are annuals and every year we get a chance at a fresh start.  We learn from the mistakes of the previous season and find out what works.  This year I started a brand new raised bed vegetable garden and these are the things that I liked.

I planted 4 Scotia tomatoes and 1 Sweet Millions cherry tomato and I've had tomatoes coming out my ears in the last month.  Tomato soup, tomato sauce, tomato sandwiches.  I think I've had tomatoes in every meal since August.  It was a rough start at first and the plants looked a bit wilty and yellow but I added a shot of fertilizer and away they went.  Now we're at the end of September and the plants are all but dead.  But hang on, there's STILL tomatoes out there!  I'm not even sure how that's possible but I'm liking it.  And how about this. (my apologies for the slightly fuzzy photo)
I went out to my veggie garden tonight and discovered that under my cherry tomato was a small plant with bright yellow blooms and the beginnings of, a TOMATO.  Life is obviously pretty darn good in my tomato patch.

Another crop that went particularly well for me this year was carrots.  I planted 3/4 of a 4 foot square bed with Chantenay Red Cored carrots.  I picked this variety because they are short and stocky.  I wanted my carrots to stay within the raised beds rather than dipping into the soil below.  It was a good choice because the carrots have emerged healthy and large.  I've been eating them raw for some time now but will start making soup and cake in the coming week.
That's a BIG carrot!
My other favourite plant of the year was cilantro.  Too often I find the cilantro in grocery stores to be old, wilted and lacking in smell and flavour.  Not the cilantro in my garden.  The scent was incredible and the leaves so fresh.  Absolutely mouth watering.  And it only got better as the season went on.  The plants began to flower and the insects couldn't resist the smell either.  At any given time I could find large crowds of bees, wasps, moths, stink bugs and earwigs all crowded in and enjoying themselves.
Hover fly in the cilantro flowers
Overall the square foot gardening adventure has been a success.  I had some great fresh vegetables, my freezer is quite full and I've enjoyed going out to my little patch of paradise and seeing all the insect action going on in that world.  I even managed to cram in a few flowers to appease my penchant for pretty things while the flower beds undergo their renovations.  
Despite my small garden I still managed to make room for the blossoms of chamomile
Next up, the things I didn't like about my vegetable garden....


8 comments:

  1. I planted cilantro from seed 3 weeks ago. Kind of an experiment. We love it!

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  2. I planted cilantro in my garden in Kingston, love it, and it loved me as well. A million seddlings the following year.

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  3. Isn't it nice to have a productive garden and a freezer full of food from it at this time of year? I grow cilantro for the leaves.I cut them off all summer and it sprouts new ones.

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  4. AllysGrandma - Welcome! This is only my second time planting cilantro and previously I used starts from a nursery. I was thrilled at how my little seeds grew.

    Deborah - I actually just pulled the cilantro before the seeds fully formed. I was thinking they would end up everywhere. Of course now they're in my compost so they may germinate in there!

    Melanie - I should have cut my cilantro back but it got away from me and then I thought the flowers were so pretty. Next year I think I'll leave some to flower and cut others back. A full freezer is a pleasant sight indeed!

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  5. Suddenly I have an overwhelming urge for a toasted bacon and tomato sandwich with a generous dollop of mayo.
    I'll be right over!

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  6. Jane -that does sound good. I'm heading off to the kitchen now....

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  7. Vegetable Lady - Thank you! I'm pretty happy about it too. Carrots are tasy and plentiful.

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