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?