My Lousy Vegetables

by Josh on October 25, 2007 · 7 comments

in garden,Projects

I have got to figure out what I’m doing wrong with my vegetable gardening. I enriched the soil with manure and compost, planted at an appropriate time and kept the garden watered reasonably well.

Despite that work, I really got squat for yields. The plants seem to be at their most productive now when the daylight is too short and the temperatures too cold for them to ripen any further.P1040400

So today I called it quits on the 2007 veggie garden and picked a bowlful of tomatoes as green and firm as the Hulk’s fists, if also considerably smaller. Add to that a few dozen cuke nuts just barely ready, and a big bunch of mint– the only thing that appears to have thrived this past summer. Now I need to dry the mint, toss the cuke nuts in a salad, and find some good recipes for green tomatoes.

Ms. Bungalow and I are going to have to put some gardening books on our winter reading lists. Clearly we have a lot to learn.

For now I’m just at a loss about why the garden performed so poorly this year. Even the yellow pear tomato that has buried us in fruit in past years barely yielded anything this year (obviously different plants each year). I suppose the weather was a bit weird, so that could be part of the explanation. I’m also concerned that our garden plot may be poorly sited, though a bad location wouldn’t explain why plants produced well one year and poorly another.

Ugh. It’s so disappointing. Thank goodness my livelihood doesn’t depend on this sad little crop.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

stuccohouse October 26, 2007 at 1:08 pm

I think this was just a really bad year for gardens. My gardens usually have more tomatoes than I can handle (frozen, canned and fresh)…strawberries…a ton of herbs….cucumbers and beans. This year, I hardly got enough to make a salad. I had to buy basil to make pesto. The only things that did ok for me where rhubarb & asperagus.

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Josh October 28, 2007 at 1:22 pm

Sorry your garden didn’t grow to expectations, either, Stucco. At least now we know it wasn’t our fault. 😉

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Anne Alt October 30, 2007 at 2:35 pm

I hope it’s a better veggie year for you next year. We had an excellent veggie year here in Chicago, but friends in other parts of the country had a lousy year.

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Josh October 30, 2007 at 4:20 pm

Glad your garden grew well, Anne. I ended up with a pretty big load of green tomatoes, many of which I just made into relish and canned. It turned out quite tasty and I’ll probably put up a post about it, since I don’t can very often.

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Anne Alt November 2, 2007 at 7:01 pm

I don’t know if you’ve ever tried this, but green tomatoes can often be ripened successfully after frost has killed the plants. When I was growing up (here in Chicago), we always had a lot of tomatoes left on the plants that weren’t yet ripe when we got killing frost in the fall. We’d go out on the last day before a killing frost was fairly certain, pick all the tomatoes that are of decent size, wrap each in a piece of newspaper, and put them all in a paper bag or cardboard box, with the greenest ones at the bottom. Store them in a cool, dry place (like your basement) and check them regularly for ripeness, say once or twice per week. They don’t have quite as full a flavor as tomatoes ripened on the vine, but they’ll still taste a lot better than the cardboard supermarket tomatoes.

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Jennifer November 28, 2007 at 8:08 am

That is always so disappointing! I’m hoping to have a vegetable garden in by next spring… crossing fingers!

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Josh November 28, 2007 at 12:00 pm

@Anne: I have now ripened some of the tomatoes successfully and others I used to make a yummy green tomato relish, which I canned. I took pictures and intend to post about the canning.

@Jennifer: Even on a “bad” year, we got some nice food from our garden. It feels great to walk into the back yard and supplement a meal with food you grew yourself. Good luck!

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