Monday, October 04, 2010

How does (my) garden grow?

The gardening season has officially ended for me. I say that in writing, but in reality I haven't yet had a chance to pull the plants out of the ground. Knowing how busy the next few weeks are going to be -- they'll probably sit for a least two or three (or four) more weeks.

In all, I have to say it was a pretty good growing season and, unlike last year, my little garden didn't turn into a jungle. (Although I did forget to take pictures of it in its glory so you'll just have to take my word for it.) But as I went on and on about in previous posts, my zucchinni plant really tried to take over.

It was big. It was plentiful and it tried to choke out everything in its path. Throughout much of July and August, I was begging and pleading with people to take a monster-sized zuchinni off my hands. And when I couldn't get rid of any more, I cooked and baked with it. And when I got tired of that, I shredded up what was left and tossed it in my freezer (all 24 cups of it). So we'll still be eating zuchinni for months to come; meaning my family should be wary because you never know where some zuchinni will crop up.

After being a big, plentiful plant for almost two months, I opened the curtains one morning, looked out the window and discovered that the entire plant had collapsed. There it was, lying dead in the garden -- with zuchinnis still growing on it and everything. I have no idea how it happened, but I wasn't overly sad to see it go.

It's demise meant my tomatoes had a fighting chance. Until that time, my four tomato plants (1 of which was a grape tomato plant) weren't doing badly, but they weren't doing great. They had produced enough tomatoes for one small batch of tomato sauce and one batch of salsa. The grape tomato plant hadn't done much, which is the one that surprised me the most because last year it grew like a weed and produced more little tomatoes than one family could possibly eat.

So in hopes of a warm September, I pulled the now-dead zucchini plant out of the ground and gave my tomato plants as much space as I could. The bottom half of each plant had seen better days but suddenly they started growing up and sprouting new tomotoes. In the end, I got a few more tomatoes out of each one -- although they're rather small and some had to be picked while still green to save them from this week's cold weather. But they'll do -- I'll toss them in with the basket of tomatoes I bought at the market to make more salsa.

And now that's it all done, the lessons I've learned this year are not to plant zucchini unless I really, really want it; raspberry bushes try to take over, even though they produce an incredible amount of fruit and when all else fails, buy tomatoes for salsa and sauce at the market.

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