Friday, November 11, 2016

Putting the garden to bed

Over the years, I have prided myself on how long I can keep the tomatoes growing in the garden. Before we moved here in 2013, I used to take sheets outside and cover the tomatoes any time it looked like the weather would be cold enough to freeze. I haven't done that since we've lived here. Part of the reason is that with our daughter, her husband, and their four children living in our basement, I have no place to store the greenish tomatoes for later ripening. One thing a lot of people don't know is that if you have tomatoes that even have a little bit of color on them indicating that they are turning from green to red, you can pick them, store them, and they will eventually turn red. They don't taste the same as vine ripened tomatoes, but it gives a little more life to your garden.
This year I had mixed results with my garden. Early on, the peas and lettuce did well, but I had less success with my onions. Later on, the beets grew like champs, and the chard just keeps on coming, but the biggest Atlantic Giant pumpkin I grew was about the size of a bowling ball, and the tomatoes, which last year I had coming out of my ears, were sporadic and small.
Pea vines, weeds, and the forks that were supposed to keep the cat out
and didn't work.

Picked beets sitting in a basket for later use.

The picked Atlantic Giants, along with the tomatoes and chard.

My lens cap adds a bit of comparison as to the size of the tomatoes.

Chard was the biggest success of the season. Anyone want some?
About a month ago I began removing things out of my raised beds, until now, all that's left to be removed is the tomato plants (they still haven't died of frost, but they are no longer producing much at all), and the chard, which is growing like a weed. I am off today for Veteran's Day, but planning on hiking, so on my next day off (not counting Sunday) I will rip up the tomatoes and chard and put the garden to bed for the winter.
There were several bright spots in my garden this year, but the best surprise I had was that when I inspected my grape vines, which to all appearances were hardly growing, I found three unexpected grapes. I had planted them in the spring and expected nothing. They are Concord grapes and they were just past their prime, but hadn't started to wrinkle, so I ate them. So sweet! I can't wait for next year!

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