Baby eyeing today's harvest.
I have a confession to make: I haven't stepped foot in my vegetable garden in weeks except to pick veggies. The weeds are persistent (as shown in every picture below!) but they don't seem to be crowding the good guys out yet. I've had some successes and some failures this year. Since we live at such high altitude, I thought I'd share what's happening in my vegetable garden for those gardeners in my region that want to compare notes. If you don't care, you may want to get out now...this is a long post :)
1. Lettuce: SUCCESS!
We had much more lettuce and mesclun that we were able to eat this year. Yay! From my understanding, lettuce is a spring crop that starts to bolt and go to seed during the hottest summer days. I planted it in a shady corner of the garden and thanks to our moderate weather at high altitude, we were still eating salads through late July. Now, some of it has gone to seed and I haven't made a salad in a while, but it may still be good -- I'll have to try a salad for lunch tomorrow.
2. Tomatoes: FAILURE!
"Uh, mom? Are you sure this is how a tomato plant is supposed to look?"
No, dear. Sure, there are a fair number of tomatoes (these ones are mini yellow pear tomatoes). They're tasty. It's just that there are no leaves for some reason. I wanted LOTS of tomatoes this year, so I planted 8 seedlings this spring. Maybe I didn't water them enough. I only applied fertilizer twice. Does anyone have any ideas why they turned out so sad?
3. Banana Peppers: SUCCESS!
All of my pepper plants are producing perfect-looking banana peppers. The above picture doesn't do them justice; many peppers are clustered in groups and hiding behind leaves.
4. Purple Pole Beans: FAILURE!
My first few bean seeds sprouted and grew to be about 4 inches tall before stopping. They were located near the ant colony and were riddled with bite holes, so I assumed that was the problem (ants or aphids). In July, I replanted them on the opposite end of the garden, in the same spot where the garlic grew. The same thing happened! Weird.
5. Zucchini: SUCCESS!
Now I understand where zucchini gets its reputation. Every time I visit the garden, there is at least one huge, shiny zucchini waiting for me; they seem to appear overnight! I think they taste best when harvested small, but sometimes they're practically the size of baseball bats by the time I notice them.
6. Basil: SUCCESS!
I'll admit, I didn't have much faith in my little basil plants. Only 9 seeds out of the dozens sowed became sprouts, and they were pretty puny for a while. In the last few weeks, every one of them has really blossomed into a decent sized plant. I desperately need to harvest it so they will grow even bigger!
7. Carrots: SUCCESS!
I've been cooking with carrots for most of the summer. It's nice to just head out to the backyard whenever a recipe calls for a carrot or two. It's my understanding that you can just leave these in the ground until you need them (instead of needing to harvest them soon after they reach maturity like most other veggies). The only problem I've had is that the dirt is so clay-like (too dry? too wet? not sure) that it's nearly impossible to pull those suckers out of the ground without a trowel.
8. Cucumbers: ????????
I've been excitedly watching the cucumber plants sprawl this summer, expecting a bumper crop. The strange thing is, today I harvested my first cucumber. It seems that the leaves and plants are doing OK, but for some reason it's not producing much. Maybe it's just a bit behind schedule and I'll be making greek salads all September and October.
9. Miscellaneous: some good, some just OK
Sugar snap peas: These finished producing in late spring, and I only harvested a couple bowls full. They were OK, not too exciting.
Cherries: Our poor little cherry tree just is not thriving. It produced a couple dozen cherries this year, enough to give the birds a tasty little snack. We planted it 3 years ago and it should be much more than just a little twig by now. We suspect that the clay soil is the culprit. It was nearly impossible to dig the hole, and our baby apple tree died the first winter.
Rhubarb and raspberries: I just planted the rhubarb this year, but the raspberries have been going for 3 years. This summer was AWESOME for raspberries! Baby and I went outside every other day or so and she sat on the ground, arms outstretched as I tried to pick berries fast enough for her. I didn't keep track of how many we ate this year, but every time we went out back for a month or so I picked 20-40 berries. Baby LOVED them!
Chives and Cilantro: FAILURE. Do chives ever get white flowers? I thought they were supposed to be purple. I sunk a plastic pot underground to contain the cilantro, but there were only a few small plants and I missed harvest time.