September 3, 2020
The end of my garden journal-year 2 is here. We did it, the summer of 2020 seems to have slipped through our fingertips. I look at the garden each day and it just tells me fall is here and this crazy year marches on. The garden has hit the point of the year where it looks quite terrible, but still is full of a lot of food.
We had a lot of successful vegetables this summer and we’ve been eating well! All coming in at their own times, we’ve eaten broccoli and cauliflower, peas, kale for Kale Chips, Swiss chard and lettuces, kohlrabi and some beautiful purple cabbage, lots of great carrots, cucumbers for days, tons of green beans, basil, zucchini and yellow crook-neck summer squash, a few peppers and so many tomatoes.
The tomatoes came, the plants looked ugly with blight from the beginning, but the fruit did mostly well. We loaded them onto pizza nights, Creamy Tomato Basil Fettuccini, and Garden BLT’s. They were needing to be used, and I threw a bunch into a Marinara Sauce with a bunch of our extra herbs for the freezer, portioned in different sized jars for flatbread pizzas for the kids for lunch and as an easy pasta sauce. I was mostly happy with the tomatoes, but seeing some gardener’s amazing photos has made me think our varieties are a little dull. The plants I got at the local garden store are fine and I’ll do some again next year (mortgage lifters, super sweet 100’s and pineapple something, the big yellow ones, were our favorites), but I’d also like to add some more unique heirloom varieties, which I will have to order seeds and start indoors.
The zucchini are winding down, and a lot of Healthy Zucchini Cookies are stocked in the freezer. We got a lot of cucumbers, the weight broke the twine strings on the trellis, and I made a couple batches of refrigerator pickles. I planted 8 broccoli plants this year, a lot, and yes we got a lot of broccoli which is still coming in and I’ve chopped a bunch for the freezer; kale, zucchini and green beans are in the freezer too.
Our winter squash was unsuccessful this year, we had some squash vine borers completely wipe out the butternuts and other varieties. There are a couple pumpkin vines that are still growing but don’t really seem to be thriving. The summer squash had the same issue, but hung on and did pretty well anyway. The cantaloupe that was so much fun last year completely died, it was in the same area as the winter squash so I think had the same problem, I’m not sure. I’ll try that again next year. The watermelon again failed to grow a single fruit so I think I’ll probably give up on it.
The bell peppers were a disappointment. Last year I bought several large plants for cheap at the first farmer’s market and grew a ton of peppers, most didn’t make it past green but still it was a lot, plenty to slice for the freezer. This summer I bought plants at the garden store as I didn’t go to the farmer’s market much in June (because of covid). The plants look very healthy but have only grown 4 or 5 total peppers…total, not much.
Overall, it was a successful second year, it felt good to grow our own food, lessen our need for grocery store produce, and have our freezer stocked for winter.