Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 262 of 365

At the end of every gardening season we take stock of what occurred during the year. Since we hadn't grown a vegetable garden for a while, the past several years have focused on the lawn. This year is different.

As we looked back on this year's vegetable-growing season, we knew some things needed to change for next year. And some things needed to continue.

Our keepers:
  • Using the high school greenhouse to get a jump start on our vegetables. We would never have had big, beautiful beefsteak tomatoes so early - on July 18 (Day 138) - this year.
  • Keep the kale. My husband loves it and is still picking it now. It sure looked pretty all picked and washed back on Day 218. His favorite way of eating it - in a peanut butter and kale sandwich - isn't nearly as pretty.
  • Plant jalapenos again, but we'll also add in another variety of hot peppers.
  • With the red potatoes we might consider doing a couple different plantings so we have them throughout the summer instead of a bunch all at once like we had on Day 145. Same with radishes, arugula, and spinach - several plantings throughout the season will keep us in the salad-making business for the entire summer.
  • Having our daughter help with the planting. If it wasn't for her we wouldn't have had a garden. And if it wasn't for the garden, she wouldn't have gotten fresh produce to take back to her place, either.

Things to change:
  • No more russet potatoes. This is Idaho after all, and potatoes are easy and cheap to find around here. Might as well save that garden space for something else.
  • Probably no corn on the cob. It took up a lot of space, and there were people all along the roads selling it out of the back of pickups during corn season.
  • No more watermelon. Although the greenhouse jump start was beneficial, we had late frosts here and had to replant them. They came on, but much too late. My daughter and I wound up doing watermelon bowling with the smallest ones on October 27 (Day 239), but even the biggest ones weren't edible.
  • I want garden beds. This year we planted in rows and sections, but the organized part of me would like actual beds laid out. We have some old landscape timbers that line our rose garden that we've considered replacing so we may move those old ones into the veggie garden to give us true "beds". Although raised beds would be my preference, the old landscape timber idea would certainly be much cheaper.
  • No more pumpkins. Between them, the attempt at cantaloupe, and the late watermelon, the vines were just too much. Neither of us is great with our balance and we were always tripping over the vines in the garden. Yet...

After yesterday and today, I think I've changed my mind on one of those items we were planning on changing. Pumpkins. As much as the vines were a pain in the you-know-what, the beauty of the pumpkin puree compensates. I'm sure my husband isn't complaining about the pumpkin seeds we did up, either.

I still have several pumpkins to work up, but some of  yesterday's puree became very tasty, gorgeous (in my opinion) pumpkin bread. You can even see the pumpkin in there.