Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Garden Bounty

My best laid plans went awry again this year. Perhaps it was that I did not really plan, I was just hopeful. And who could have predicted such a bountiful garden year. You see, my goal was to schedule my work during the year to avoid the peak garden times. But alas, my work and the garden have collided. Too much work and too many fruits and vegetables all at the same time. I suppose there are worse things.

We expanded our garden this year, and most everything had a good year. Tomatoes outperformed. After year upon year of blight and pests and too much rain, this year was perfect. The tomato plants are sagging under the weight of all their fruits. As the days grow shorter and a bit cooler, the plants are just starting to whither. Two dozen quarts of canned tomatoes sit on our basement shelf. We could do more, but work is taking up too much time. Now, gardening is work too, that is why I need to free up my time come August and September. I did not plan for a superior tomato year.

The young peach tree -- a Red Haven -- bore many fruits back in early August; tasty but not super sweet. We canned more than a dozen pints. We planted the old peach in 1996. In recent years it has dropped a few big limbs. Each year we consider chopping it down. A month ago its fruits were small and hard and green. The old peach ripens late. It is a hardy peach, a Reliance, its fruit sweet and juicy. For a week now we've been harvesting basketfuls of peaches from this tree. Yesterday Srini and his mother canned a dozen pints. We're done with canning peaches for the year, the old peach may live on.
Eggplants and peppers, okra and cabbages, onions and potatoes all had a good year. Perhaps our best crop this year are the cantaloupes. We never had much luck with them and they take up a lot of room. This year I raised my own seedlings -- Hannah's Choice from Johnny's Seeds. The fruits take awhile to ripen--90 days according to the packet. A week ago I was wondering whether the large, oval-shaped fruits would ripen. Since then we've harvested 8 cantaloupes, all are sweet with firm, dark orange flesh. That is the thing with gardening, it often comes all at once. This week we are eating peaches and cantaloupes morning, noon, and night.

The only crop that has suffered this year are the green beans. A deer mowed down the bush beans a couple times. It eventually recovered to yield a handful of beans every few days. My pole beans neglected to climb the poles until late, by which time the Japanese beetles found them.

I'm already planning for next year. Thinking about how to outwit the deer and how to schedule my work to leave open time for the garden harvest. Or maybe I am just hopeful.

3 comments:

  1. Do you do a lot of work to your peach trees? I am considering one but have learned they take a lot of work and I don't know if I am committed enough for that!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Misti,

    We planted the trees without much effort, then prune them each spring. The pruning is easy, more an art than a science. We don't spray or fertilize or do anything else. They are quite easy actually. The fruits are not perfect but they are delicious. I'd go for it. Reliance and Red Haven are both good choices. I find peaches much easier than apples or pears.

    Ellen

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for this blog!!
    your blog is very informative.
    Fruit Log

    ReplyDelete