Sunday, October 10, 2010

Harvest Lessons

 This year I planted about five varieties of tomatoes, most of them seen here: Yellow pear, red pear, grape, and these little orange sweeties that are as tasty as candy. I planted a beefsteak variety and a roma managed to sneak in there somehow, but they were too close to the fence, so I only managed to produce green tomatoes from that batch. I like green tomatoes, so I guess this isn't a bad thing, but tomatoes need lots of sun, and I gave them partial shade. Lesson #1: More sun.
Our farm-savvy neighbors mentioned that their broccoli had caterpillars in them, but our broccoli was pristine and produced quite well this year. Unfortunately, I didn't really know what to expect with broccoli, having never grown it even as a child. I didn't know if I would just get one stalk and then it would be over? Well, it keeps on giving, and at the end of the season you just break off the individual florets rather than getting the whole stalk, otherwise it flowers, and once it flowers, it stinks. By stinks, I mean, you search for the smelly item in your fridge and pass by the fresh lovely broccoli each time without thinking it could be the culprit.

I have made a practice of steaming it right away and reheating it for this purpose. Lesson #2: Broccoli can get stinky. Lesson #3: Broccoli grows like a beanstalk with huge leaves that overshadow anything nearby, so give it plenty of room to grow!
 I hate my new macro setting on this new camera. Close-ups are NOT going well so far... but strawberries are also in need of more sun. They remained reasonably small and slug-infested this year, but then I didn't put my usual slug bait out. Lesson #4: Death to all slugs!
 I wasn't sure if those tiny little onions would really amount to much, but let me say that I have not had to hunt for Walla Wallas all summer long, and is there anything better than a Walla Walla onion, fresh from the garden? Behold, I say NAY! Lesson #5: You are insane if you don't plant Walla Wallas again next year!
 There were at least two plants that suffered from the broccoli monopoly of sunshine. The first is the eggplant. Behold my lone eggplant, sun-deprived, but so adorable! Lesson #6: If you want to EAT the eggplant, more sun, and keep it away from the broccoli.
A week ago my neighbor brought by some of the green peppers from her garden. Shown here after spending a week in the fridge, her peppers were more gorgeous than store peppers and tasted better! Oh, and that shriveled little runt below it? My lone green pepper. Alas, the second casualty of the broccoli monopoly. Lesson #7: Give us-us SUN!

No photos, but the pears and apples (which I have discussed in the past), were gorgeous and tasty as usual. I did get a couple of plums off of our new tree, a handful of gorgeous raspberries, and a few cherries. Who knows, we might actually get a peach or two! Next year is our healthy-tree year, the time when I will apply all of the great knowledge from our arborist, since I didn't have time this year. Lesson #8: Prune the apples less aggressively, and wait until March to help give them a healthy start...

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