Garden update – January

Remember all the gardening we did last summer?

A few things have endured well:

  • We just finished the last of our tomatoes, wrapped in newspaper in my laundry grotto/root cellar to finish ripening. But Mr. Cheap points out that they don’t taste very good.
  • On the other hand, we still have quite a few quarts of delicious-tasting canned tomatoes in the freezer and a few jars canned on the shelves in the basement.
  • Mr. Cheap is crazy about the corn relish I made.
  • The butternut squash are delicious. They are still nice and firm in the chilly laundry grotto (where I estimate average temperatures are around 50 to 55 degrees — it’s markedly cooler than our 62-degree house).
  • We have saved our crop of … well, about six peanuts. I can’t wait to plant them in a better-ventilated spot and try for a REAL crop this year.
  • Our okra did surprisingly well. It, too, will be better spaced for next year.

Others, not so much:

  • The fermented dill pickles, once canned, have an odd texture. They’re not exactly smooshy. Kind of … rubbery. Like the texture of a sneaker insole, sort of. Mr. Cheap won’t eat them. I don’t like dill pickles very much in the first place; made them for him, so out they go. He does like the dill spears made from a Ball mix.
  • We have too many bread-and-butter pickles. But they sure are delicious!
  • We are afraid of the grape juice. It’s so cloudy and weird-colored. Maybe soon we’ll open a jar …
  • Our Brussels sprouts were so close! In fact, *too* close. Next year we will space them a cautious 18″ apart and cross our fingers that we make it through the season without aphids, again (I can’t explain the aphids, but a healthy herd of spiders and wasps kept most bugs at bay in our garden).
  • The watermelon was a bust. Two softball-sized melons never ripened all the way. I think they were outpaced by the irrational exuberance of our squash plants, with few nutrients left in the soil for the melons.

And we have a few bits of excitement to look forward to:

  • If the weather holds up (i.e., no late frost) we hope to have cherries and apricots this year on our two-year-old trees.
  • The strawberries should yield more than a handful this year.
  • And earlier still, we hope to see lots of flowers from the bulbs we bought half-off at Lowe’s clearance sale in October.

Lessons learned: Next year we need fewer cucumbers and more tomatoes — and most of all, a tomato mill. I think I’ll also follow the suggestions in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle with some roasted-and-frozen tomatoes next year.

What are your garden lessons and garden plans?

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2 thoughts on “Garden update – January

  1. frankschulteladbeck says:

    My one year old daughter and I planted the lettuce, garlic for the greens, mustard, and daikon. We are hoping that the asparagus holds out (not really a plant for Houston). The eggplant and peepers are doing well, as is the chard and green onions. The galanga and ginger are still going too.

    We are still planning for the spring and summer.

  2. L'an says:

    I feel your hesitance at the grape juice. I canned baba ganouj one year… and found I couldn’t actually eat any of it. By other’s reports, it tasted delicious, but the look of it was just so unappetizing I was afraid to try any. 😦

    I’ll be rooting for no frost to kill off your fruit. I’ve been fantasizing about planting apple trees, but unfortunately, the “ideal” location in our yard (given sun/shade requirements and my desire to have at least a bit of sunny grassy play area) is right where the sewer line runs to the street; not such a good option after all.

    On the other hand… and you may have mentioned this once upon a time… I’ve been completely captivated by the idea of making a neighborhood map of fruit trees so I (and the fruit tree owners) can share in the bounty that otherwise splatters all over sidewalks and yards. I figure the fruit-tree owners will also be down with this idea since they could exchange their too-numerous peaches for someone else’s too-numerous plums. My contribution? Processed peaches and plums… We’ll see how it works out! 🙂

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