Thursday, January 5, 2012


    This past summer was year two of garden experimentation. I knew *slightly* more than I did for the summer of 2010. One of those was that squash and zukes need so much space, so this year I gave it to them. They returned the favor by producing a gazillion spaghetti squash (which store so nicely in our pantry over the winter), and more zucchini than we could bear to look at.

    I think we won't be doing zucchini next summer.

    The creeping thyme finally took off, filling in a couple of nice spots between pavers, and elsewhere our trees and grasses started to look like they belonged in the place. I got some onions and shallots for the first time, which was also fun:

    We still have no idea what to do with tomato plants, though; ours grew up then out then fell over and killed the grass. I planted a currant variety, a cherry roma variety and a Cherokee purple. The currant produced the least but was my favorite. Tomato candy:

    Not sure if/where we'll put tomatoes next summer. They are a bit too robust for our garden boxes and we haven't really cultivated the other parts of the yard. Whatever.

    And I'll be planting the carrots in a deeper box this spring.

    The real fun, as usual, was out front in the two long skinny spaces that frame the walk to our front door. Last year, I had a sugar pie pumpkin and a Cinderella pumpkin on either side. This year I planted a melon variety (and can't remember the specific name) and a moon-and-stars watermelon. As much as growing plants can be entertaining, these two certainly were.

    The melon produced the sweetest, most fragrant fruit we've ever had. We shared it with work friends, relatives and neighbors before we finally got tired of it and lost out on harvesting a few melons in time. (At a certain point that heady-sweet smell starts to get a bit cloying and a little less appetizing.)

    But the watermelon was so, so awesome. We got four edible fruits out of it, ranging from about 20 pounds up to 41 pounds each. And it tasted a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Here's the watermelon in the works in late August:

    And here it is a few weeks later on its way to a family party:

    The watermelon butcher of Lincoln Street:

    Our only complaint here is that we didn't get as many individual fruits as we would have liked. I think I'll try for a smaller variety next year in the same spot so that we get more fruits (easier to share with people) and sooner in the season -- I was still waiting for watermelon to ripen at Halloween.

    Landscaping-wise, the scrub oak trees in the front yard appear to be dying off one by one. We had to pull one this summer and another one looked dead at the end of the fall. We figure that we'll have to replace those with something else this spring -- I'm really liking blue atlas cedar trees, but I'm worried they'll get too big for the space. I also want to add a few more feather reed grasses in the front parking strips for symmetry, and I'd love to see whether I can get a pumpkin vine to grow in the space under our street tree (which just got hacked, ahem -- severely trimmed, by a municipal arborist crew).


    Side of Jeffrey said...

    I loved the carrot. Awesome. We always had tomato plants growing up and they were always a disaster to care for. Did you get any of those green long worms that hang ou on the tomato plants and click at you?

    Kersten said...

    Ew! No!

    Our problem with tomatoes is that we just don't eat a ton of them raw, and I don't can or otherwise preserve them. So we're sort of limited to consuming what we can in pasta sauces and salads over the summer. I would grow more if I canned, but I don't know how I feel about that idea...

    Side of Jeffrey said...

    Yeah, canning tomatoes doesn't sound as awesome as canning cherries or fruit preserves. I love me some raw tomatoes, but they are just a pain. Also a pain? Rasberries.