The Garden Review

Apparently last weekend was National Canning Weekend. Here it was too hot to even think about cooking, let alone canning. A few weeks ago I did put up tomatoes and chili sauce along with a bit of strawberry-rhubarb jam. My tomatoes have not done that well this year; the weather has been too variable for them. We’ve had many night temps cold enough to retard setting fruit, but then we’ve had occasional really hot days that have made it hard to keep up with the watering. As it turns out I haven’t minded much, since I set out 4 plants – one yellow slicer and one red slicer in the ground, a red plum in a hanging tomato grower, and one yellow cherry in a container – which, even with two of them growing smaller fruit, is plenty of tomatoes for one and a half people (my hubby is not a huge fan of tomatoes; he’ll eat them in recipes but doesn’t like them in salads or on sandwiches). Next year I think I’ll just plant one yellow slicer (yellow tomatoes are my favorite eating tomatoes and the heirloom yellow ones in the stores are ridiculously pricey), one plum for canning and cooking, and maybe one grape something. The hanging tomato dealie was a miserable failure, at least where I had it hung – it was too exposed to the sun and weather, and it was impossible for me to keep it sufficiently watered. If I try using it again I would use soil mixed with a lot more moisture-retaining granules than I used this year.

My cucumbers haven’t done that well this year, although I think some of that is my fault; I let some of the fruits grow too big before picking them. Most of the problem was that I usually eat cucumbers in a greek salad with peppers, and my bell peppers were a near-complete failure this year. I can only assume the kind I planted really didn’t like growing in a container, or maybe it was the weather, since they prefer heat too. I’m tempted to go back to growing zucchini next year instead, since I’ve never had problems with them.

I don’t know if I’ll try to do anything this fall – I might try again to grow lettuce and spinach once it cools down, but usually the snails get to most of mine quickly. It looks like our apple tree will have another good harvest this year. Last year I didn’t can any applesauce or apple butter at all, and my apple-ish reserves are almost gone.


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