Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Not So Victorious Gardens

*A garden summary, by TMOTH

Mary, Mary quite contrary. How does your garden grow?

As of last week we are officially done with this year's gardens so it is time to assess how we did. I wish I could say better. Should I start with the excuses now or save those for later?

Sorry, it’s not like me to be so negative but I judge myself more harshly than others and the gardens were one area of the rationing project where more responsibility rested with me. I can’t think of any reason not to say that the amount of produce was disappointing. We knew going in that even with the additional garden space shared by friends (thanks again everyone) we were far short on space recommendations for successful Victory Gardens.

Even considering our space limitations we had high hopes. Especially for tomatoes, which took up the largest share of space. While I have to admit that I could/should have been more diligent with weeding and watering, I take some solace in the number of other gardeners I heard lamenting this year's tomatoes. I’m no master gardener to explain all of the variables but I also heard some say their tomatoes were great. In fact, one of our borrowed plots had plants that just wouldn’t give up. After suffering with the rest through brutal heat and a long dry spell what thick skinned fruit was on the vine split when the rains finally came. With the help of the late summer rain those plants started growing like crazy and loaded up with fruit all over again. Most of it never got to ripen on the vine. Last week I took what I thought were mature enough to finish on the shelf and pulled out the plants. Even when I finally uprooted the plants last week they were green bushy and still producing flowers and fruit in all stages of maturity.

It was a tough decision to take down those enthusiastic die-hards but I was afraid that we were just robbing nutrients from the soil for tomatoes that would never have a chance to ripen with the shorter days and cooler nights. (Can I really be thinking of frost already?).

Sorry that I don’t have an accurate tally of what we DID get but in general the gardens gave the occasional fresh produce for meals including a variety of greens and broccoli in the spring, eggplant, tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers and a small variety of squashes later with basil on demand throughout (still growing). Unfortunately we didn’t get the amount needed to save massive amounts for later.

I won’t go too deep into the excuses I promised earlier but I will leave you with this one insight. Trying to keep up with in four different small gardens in four different locations does not mix well with trying to limit your mileage.


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