Labor Day Garden Roundup

It’s that time of year again — the time to ask “so how did the vegetable garden do?”

Bigger Plot

I moved the garden out of its cute but useless 3×3 “one foot gardening” plot and into a real 4×8 plot along the side of the house.  I was a little worried it wouldn’t get enough sun in that spot but it turns out the fears were unfounded.  The soil drains pretty well and as long as the plants are in raised beds with well fertilized soil, they grow well.  Too well.  Jungle-level well.  

The Plants

2 grape tomatoes — No more cherry or grape tomatoes.  The smallest tomato I will ever grow again is a roma because otherwise the fruit has all kinds of problems at this scale.  First, the plants with plenty of room and plenty of support go absolutely berzerk.  I started cutting them back gently, then cutting them back aggressively, and then hacking at them and they still created an insane mound of tomatoes.  Second, once they start growing they grow so fast they explode.  I was losing half my harvests to overgrowth.  Third, no one eats the grape tomatoes, at least not at the rate they were growing.  I ended up ceasing harvest halfway through the season due to madness.  They are being replaced by two pole bean plants next year.

Grade: D

2 cucumbers — On the other hand, once the cucumbers had running room and plenty of sun, they produced about 70 pickling cucumbers between two vines.  This is an amazing amount of fruit.  We pickled them!  They have come out uniformly delicious.  Next year, they get special fertilizer and their own special trellis to make them even more productive.  The trick is to pick them before they get too huge and seedy.  I was very happy with these plants once they got going.

Grade: A

2 Cherry Bombs — They had plenty of sunlight so they produced and produced and produced and produced.  In fact, they survived the Labor Day takedown of the garden and they are still flowering.  3 straight months of hot peppers.  The only problem — the heat from a cherry bomb requires concentrated cherry bomb action.  One pepper is not enough.  It takes a village.  Eric did make a hot sauce out of them, though.  They’ll be aside the Jalapeños (with a third joining — enough room for 3) next year and kept going from May until first fall freeze.  I know jalapenos grow pretty well and fresh ones right off the plant have a good bite so we’ll have a variety of heat.

Grade: B+

1 Zucchini — The zucchini experiment was a disappointment.  One must grow a minimum of 2 zucchini plants because they do not self-pollinate!  At all!  Who knew, except for the entire Internet?  Will add a second zucchini because I greatly desire pickled zucchini relish.  The plants get pretty big and the number of flowers on the plant tells me if it could have pollinated it would have produced so many zucchinis I would have been breaking into people’s cars and leaving them baskets.  This is a state I greatly desire — overenthusiastic zucchinis.

Grade: B

1 Medium Yellow Sweet Pepper — An experiment.  Didn’t produce until late August and then was uprooted by the hurricane.  The few peppers we got off it were uninspired.  Will not repeat.

Grade: F

1 Small Red Pepper — See above.  Will be replaced by hot pepper plants.

Grade: F

1 Asparagus — Who knows?  It’s ENORMOUS.  HOWEVER, one cannot harvest the shoots until the second year of growth so it’s just been sitting out there merrily growing.  I had no idea an asparagus gets so huge.  Doesn’t look like it needs a mate or anything.  The plan right now is to carefully move it out of its corner to the original 3×3 box so it can just sort of grow and replace its spot with 2 zucchinis.  I hope to know what home grown Asparagus tastes like.

Grade: I (for incomplete)

Next year, the tomatoes and miscellaneous peppers get replaced by pole beans and more hot peppers.  The pole beans and the cucumbers will have dedicated climbing trellises.  And we might plant hops (!) in a new box!  

So, way better than last year, and will be much better next year.