2016 Tomato Harvest

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This photo is all the tomatoes that I was able to harvest in 2016… with the exception of a few Tiny Tim’s that I ate straight off the plant.

There is a singular Black Cherry there. And I got one or two Yellow Pears. The rest in the photo are all Sub Arctic Plenty.

I sound like a broken record… but the damn squirrels stole all the rest.

If you remember, I had planned to grow a ton of the heirloom varieties I have seed for, to replenish my seed stash. I sowed 17 varieties, with at least 1 plant of each kind. For some varieties, I sowed up to 4. with at least 1 for me, the rest to share with friends. So to only get tomatoes from 4 of those I planted and tended was so disheartening.

Here is the list of tomatoes I grew last year:

  • Orange Wellington
  • Black Russian
  • Black Cherry
  • Beefsteak
  • Pink Brandywine
  • Rutgers
  • Cherokee Purple
  • Yellow Pear
  • Boxcar Willie
  • Golden Cherry
  • Chadwick’s Cherry
  • Principe Borghese
  • Sub-Arctic Plenty
  • Tumbler
  • Tiny Tim
  • Manitoba
  • Green Envy

Even though the squirrels were the main problem, I am also chalking the poor season up to to the weird weather, and the fact that 2016 was the worst year of my life thus far. I also didn’t bother saving any seed.

Thoughts for 2017: I have yet to decide on the varieties for this year. I’m trying to keep my seeds out of sight so I don’t start too many, and too early. I think the tomatoes this year in the yard are going to look far different than in previous years. “Tomato Island” doesn’t quite work. There isn’t as much sun there as in other areas of the yard. And since we finally have the patio started (and will hopefully finish in early spring), I can dot the tomato containers around in the warmer areas on the patio. Other people have had some success spraying with aspirin, so I may try that. It causes a reaction in the tomato that makes it think it is being attacked, so the plant becomes stronger thinking that it was attacked, when it is really fine. However, in my plan to simplify things, I may just cut down on the amount of tomatoes and just provide them with what they need rather than getting in over my head with all the extra things that don’t NEED to happen. Time will only tell what ends up happening in the garden this year

Do you have any suggestions on what tomatoes to try?

 

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Community Garden Plot- Update 5

I haven’t been having a great summer. Family members are having health problems; I’m fighting some health problems; I’ve begun to really hate my job; my very best friend and catcher of all of my tears and listener to all my problems died in my arms; and a thousand other little less significant things that just add up to bad times. It’s been rough.

And obviously, my community garden plot kind of fell out of care. I even got an email asking me to take care of the weeds on the path surrounding my plot. Extra disheartening but fair enough.

So I finally went and cleaned the thing up. And it honestly wasn’t that bad. The pathway was the only place there was really any weeds. None the less, I harvested all my remaining potatoes and carrots. I gave up on the beets and beans ever doing anything more than they were doing. Frosts are looming and I don’t have the energy to keep up with the backyard garden AND this plot on the other side of town.

I dug over all the soil, cleaned up the weeds in the paths and gave the empty ground a good drink so it doesn’t turn to dust and just blow away.

I will be going back once or twice before the garden closes for the winter to keep any weeds in check, but for now it is put to bed, awaiting next spring.

So now any possible updates on the plot will be about plans for the spring.


My crop of carrots was absolutely fantastic, and I think I will put at least 2 rows in next year.

The beets could have been better given more time and no decimating hail. Same with the beans and onions. The ‘Purple Caribe’ potatoes were fantastic as always. They have a tiny bit of scab, but nothing troubling.

So I have more plans for next year, and as always, plans to thwart the hail if at all possible. Do you have any ideas on what I should try and grow here next year? As this year, I want to keep it minimal care. Anything a little sensitive, I keep at home where I stand a chance at keeping it alive through some of the weather that Ma’ Nature throws at us here. Depending on how ambitious I get this winter, I may build some kind of brassica cage to keep the damn butterflies away and then I may stick some cabbage out there. So many Ideas… so many months ahead to ponder them.

Here are the this years updates on this garden: 1, 2, 3 & 4

Also, while I’m linking things… Don’t forget to check out my new Etsy shop Iceberg Empire. There is also a little sneaky page about the whole thing at the top menu bar. I’ll update that as exciting things happen over there.

First Harvest of 2016!

While I was back home visiting my parents yesterday, ripping apart their yard (post coming soon) and checking on my leaf mold piles, I made my first harvest of this year! In freaking April! Usually we are just breaking out of winters grasp at this time of year, so to be able to harvest something is a big deal.


Rhubarb! And not pidly little stalks either! Bright pink, and huge! After I took all the leaves off, I had 2 large freezer bags of “fruit”. One for me, and one for my rhubarb loving best friend.


I think I’ll be making rhubarb and apple crisp. And harvesting more rhubarb next time I go home. (Not to mention the 3 crowns I have in my own yard that should produce very well this year)

I also chopped up all the leaves and stem ends and brought them back home with me to put into my composter.

Do you have any suggestions of what to do with the glut of rhubarb I think I will be blessed with this year?

Grow Your Own – Italian Seasoning (Completed)


You may have thought I forgot all about my project last year of growing my own Italian Seasoning… But I didn’t. At least not completely. I did get all the herbs dried and put away in individual bags. I just never got around to adding them all together into a seasoning mix. Or writing a post about drying the herbs here. So here we are, finally, with a wrap up on the Italian Seasoning I grew all by myself! (everything in the photo above came out of my garden!)

Continue reading “Grow Your Own – Italian Seasoning (Completed)”

What I learned in 2015 (Gardening)

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I have taken away so many things from my first real year of trying to grow enough vegetables  to have more than just a nibble in our yard. In 2014 and 2013 I grew everything away from home, which meant that I left it all until it was ready, and I had my best friend to garden with, so It was more of a divide and conquer and have fun chucking seeds in the ground and seeing what we get. So in 2015, with my first JUST MINE garden, here is what I have discovered

  • It is easy to get lazy when Pinterest/YouTube/Netflix/My nice cozy bed are just steps away. By the middle of summer, I was a little gardened out, and still had a lot of time left to wait for anything harvest-able.
  • Where the shade actually is. Areas that I had thought were really sunny, actually got more shade than I thought. And vise-versa.
    • This is something I never would have noticed if I hadn’t grown things in 2 different spots in the yard!
  • It is easy to have grandiose plans in the dead of winter with pinterest and YouTube showing you all these beautiful things, Its an other to make yourself get out and grow them and be realistic about where you live and climate you are in. Especially with work and home stress creeping in, and the 18 other projects you started.
  • Ironically, the amount of tomatoes I grew, was just right! I learned a few things in their placement, but It was nice and refreshing to have a bunch of different kinds of tomatoes. In a few years time If I ever have my own real greenhouse I will scale up my tomato growing again because they really are so much fun to watch grow and take over everything.
  • I wont waste my time with dry-beans or Broad Beans this year. But I will use their space on more Green Beans. I also will just stick with climbing beans to save space. The slug population really liked my bush beans and got to most of them before I could.
  • I will stagger my Peas better in 2016. It was hard to keep up with them before they got too mature. We definitely prefer baby snow-peas, and the sugar snaps. So I will probably just stick to that kind… And the Alaska peas, because they grow so well in the cold here.
  • As much as I want I huge carrot harvest, It doesn’t seem like a possibility here. I have tried every year to grow carrots in my yard, and every year they are sad and tiny and pitiful. So I may just throw in the towel and just grow a few tiny patches of them and use the space for something that I know grows well here… If I can find the seed from a local garden centre again I will get those little round Paris Market carrots and grow them in a container. They are awesome and so much fun.

 

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So In 2016, I have plans to:

  • Have things that harvest quickly, and give a good push to keep going.
    • I won’t skip growing Potatoes, they are so easy and so satisfying to grow, and we definitely missed them this year.
  • I will be more realistic about what we will actually eat.
    • I love beets, but I don’t need 6 rows of them!
    • I will grow more lettuce and stagger plantings better, because I now know that I can grow heads of lettuce!
  • More Zucchini! and Cucumbers!
  • I’m going to scale back a bit and not over-challenge myself. When I go too hard into gardening, all my other projects start to fall by the wayside, and I get into an extreme rocking between the two. So I will be more realistic about my life and time management in 2016.
  • Tomato-wise in 2016, I want to legit-start saving my own seed. I have dabbled here and there, but I would like to actually perpetuate my own stash of heirloom seeds.
  • I still want to give Brussels Sprouts a go again… They grew tiny little sprouts, but nothing worth writing home about. I just need to put them somewhere sunnier I think. I plunked them in the shadiest spots, and they were pretty late going in the ground.
  • My herbs will be a go again, But I am going to be realistic and just buy them. I think I have their ideal location nailed down here, and I have a better way of drying them quickly now. I’m slowly learning what works for me. Also, cooking with your own home-grown herbs is so much more delicious, I don’t really want store bought again.
  • I want to grow more flowers this year. They definitely give a push to go out into the garden. They are pretty, and Its fun to watch the bees and butterflies enjoying them. Also, once I’m out there smelling the flowers, I usually get to work on the vegetables, so it’s a win-win.
  • I will be skipping Cauliflower in 2016. I grew 2 heads of it, but we weren’t ready to eat it, and then it went to flower so I missed out. So I’ll save it for a year when I have more time to keep up with time-sensitive stuff like that. I will have another go with the Broccoli though! They were fantastic.
  • I want to grow a few things with  the full intention of pickling them. I haven’t done much pickling, and I think that I will make that my kitchen-garden goal of 2016.
  • My major seed-to-mature-vegetable project this year is going to be Onions. I will be starting them from seed today! (Maybe some more strawberries too)

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Here is to a wonderful 2016 for everyone and their gardens!