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In my garden

September 15, 2011

Yesterday, in anticipation of a (very) early frost, the boys and I stripped the tomatoes plants of their last fruits. As you can see, the green outweighs the red by a sad margin. (So Havilah, about that green-tomato relish you recommended…)

It been so fun to watch our garden grow this year. In a new climate, with new soil and an incredibly short growing season, I had no idea what to expect. Here’s what I want to remember for next year:

1. More tomatoes. They’re the grand dame of the garden, and you just can’t have too many. And way more varieties. This year I did mostly cherry and roma, and I missed those big, fat, juicy ones.

2. More of what we eat, and less of the fancy stuff. Fava beans sounded like a great idea, but I think we’ll stick with the standard green bean for now.

3. In that vein, one melon plant would be a good idea. Twelve (of six different varieties) took up precious space, and I don’t have a single melon to show for it.

4. Corn (Preston’s choice) was pure fun. Double that next year.

5. Ditto with the snap peas. Yum.

6. Did I mention more tomatoes?

7. Loved the potatoes. More next year. And wait longer to harvest.

8. Don’t let the kids pull up all the carrots in July.

9. I’m on the fence about heirloom seeds. I love the idea behind heirlooms, and thumbing my nose at Monsanto, but the yield was hugely disappointing, and with a smaller gardening space, I want to use every last inch for good production. So I’m not sure what I’m going to do about that.

10. Sunflowers (also Preston’s–he had all the showy plants this year) were another garden beauty. I think I’ll plant an entire forest next year. Anyone know how to harvest the seeds?

The best part, of course, was not the harvest, but watching my kids discover the miracle of dropping a seed in the ground and watching it turn into a 10-foot sunflower. Or hearing them say, “I’m going to get a snack,” and head out to the garden to eat basil and carrots, with the dirt still clinging to the roots. I will miss sneaking out to the garden to hunt for dinner’s garnish, but I have some good stuff stored up in my freezer and my basement to keep me remembering until next year.

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14 Comments
  1. Alice-Anne permalink
    September 15, 2011 2:07 pm

    what a beautiful garden! Way to go in working with a shorter growing season. I hear that tomatoes sometimes ripen even when taken off the vine green. who knows!

  2. Lindsay permalink
    September 15, 2011 2:13 pm

    Amazing! Love all the color.
    Lindsay Lewis

  3. Christa permalink
    September 15, 2011 2:39 pm

    Beautiful pictures, Tiffany!!! I bet your boys would love a sunflower house next year. 🙂 To harvest sunflower seeds, you just cut off the heads and let them dry, then you can pop the seeds out.

  4. momof8 permalink
    September 15, 2011 2:47 pm

    Mine were mostly still green too! We covered them in blankets–I’ll let you know how that worked out!

    • September 15, 2011 9:24 pm

      Yes, do! I heard differing opinions, and just went with picking, but maybe I should have done half and half. Oh well!

  5. Vivienne Lewis permalink
    September 15, 2011 2:53 pm

    Congratulations on a wonderful garden! Loved the pictures!

  6. Colette permalink
    September 15, 2011 3:33 pm

    Jealous!! It was such a hot summer in Texas our garden just shriveled and died despite our watering. Still no rain here, ugh! Have fun gardening and enjoy those Fall colors in MN!

    • September 15, 2011 9:24 pm

      Thanks Colette! I know, you poor Texans, what a tough summer. Which I could send some (green!) tomato love your way.

  7. Meredith permalink
    September 15, 2011 5:15 pm

    That is one incredible garden! The prophet would be proud!

  8. September 16, 2011 3:18 pm

    Beautiful garden! I love your photos! I have loved watching my garden grow and harvesting! I love the different colors! I had pink/purplish potatoes this year from Seed Savers Exchange and they produced really well. I want more potatoes next year! I’m hoping my tomatoes will finish ripening before it gets too cold. Great job on a wonderful garden!

  9. Vivienne Lewis permalink
    September 16, 2011 8:43 pm

    One year we harvested a lot of green tomatoes at the end of the season. I can’t remember what we did for sure, but we put them in our basement and some ripened on their own after months of time.

  10. Crismon Lewis permalink
    September 19, 2011 7:06 am

    Wonderful photos and details about your garden. Thank you for sharing. Just wish we could have enjoyed the harvest with you. Sounds delicious! Congratulations, we’re so gald your first try at a garden in a new land and new climate was a huge success.

  11. Lenee permalink
    September 20, 2011 9:17 am

    Here is what we do with extra green tomatoes when we harvest before the frost in Watertown NY. I have been doing this for the past 3 years with my green ones … they some times last till thanksgiving or even longer depending how many there are. You can skip the bananas if you want them to last a longer period of time.

    1 Prepare a cardboard box. If possible, add some foam or fruit cardboard in the base; or simply line with newspaper.
    2 Place a layer of tomatoes in the box, each one next to the other. If you have a lot of tomatoes, a second layer on top is okay but be gentle. Do not make any more than two layers in case you bruise the fruit at the base. You may add multiple layers of tomatoes by using about 6 pages of black and white newspaper in between each layer. You must check more frequently for ripening fruit. Do not add bananas to this box, unless you plan on using a large quantity of tomatoes at one time.
    3 Add some ripening bananas if you’d like. The tomatoes are likely to ripen anyway, as they release their own ethylene and influence each other. However, using bananas will help to speed up the process.
    4 Place the box in a cool, slightly humid room away from light. A pantry shelf is ideal if you have one.

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