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The Urban Gardener: After the Vegetables of Summer Are Gone

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Tomatoes ripening on our kitchen window sill, looking out at the garden in the back yard.

We’ve had a good harvest, J and I.

Back in May, we started two weeks later than last year.  We harvested most of our onions by the end of June. Next came the cucumbers, and more cucumbers, and more, and more. The same with the peppers. We enjoyed many a summer salad with our homegrown crop.  And did lots of canning so we can enjoy it the rest of the year. Our pantry is full.

We were hoping for tomatoes by early July, but the summer just didn’t get hot enough this year. We only reached triple digits for one or two days so it took longer for the tomatoes to ripen. Most of what you see pictured above were picked just this month.  And we still have green ones on the vine.

This was our first year we tried zucchini. With just two plants, we had plenty enough for zucchini fritters, zucchini bread, zucchini relish, zucchini for the neighbors and coworkers,

Here’s a snapshot of our backyard today with the garden in the foreground:

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Here are a few things that we learned this year:

  • Planting cucumbers on a trellis (on the left in the picture) saves space and keeps them off the ground.
  • Zucchini plants get big and produce a lot. One plant will do in a small garden like ours.
  • Tie up those tomato plants sooner. The summer winds will blow them over.
  • Pepper plants get lost. Plant them closer to the outside.
  • No matter what kind of fence you have, rabbits will find a way.

We also learned we want to expand! Yep, we’re going to add another 4′ x 8′ of space to the garden for next year.  In fact, we’ve already cleared the space.  Here’s a pic:

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And I’m afraid that’s it for us as our gardening year quickly draws to a close. With the cool nights and dew on the ground each morning, I’m sure we’ll have an early fall and one frosty night will bite the plants and that will be it.

How did your garden grow this year?  What did you learn from it?  What are you planning for next year?  Did you can any of your crop?

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