Friday, November 28, 2014

Last of the Chores - Done, Done & Done!

I have FINALLY finished my end of season chores & put the garden to rest for the winter.  Each year I say that I will get all of this done in a timely fashion….and each year I am rushing through the last of the cleanup while braving freezing temps.

First off, I topped the garlic bed with straw.  To keep the overflowing pile of straw in place, I lay the plastic trellis that I had used for the cucumbers on top of the straw & pinned it down along the edges.
Garlic Bed - Straw Covered & Netted

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

End of Season Review - Tomatoes - Part 3

In Part 1 & Part 2 of my end of season tomato review, I presented the harvest totals for each variety I grew, together with my opinion on their taste & whether I planned to grow that variety again next year.

In this last Part (whew!), I'll summarize the total harvest, compare this years harvest with prior years, and give my overall impressions & plans for next year.  I've also peppered this post with a few of my favourite tomato photos from this past season.

Total Tomato Harvest

For ease of comparison, I’ve detailed the 2014 harvest in summary table form:

Sunday, November 23, 2014

End of Season Review - Tomatoes - Part 2

In Part 1, I discussed the performance of the cherry & paste tomato varieties that I grew this year.  Now on to how the salad & slicing tomatoes performed.

Tomato Varieties & Harvest

Salad Tomatoes

Total # of plants – 12; Total harvested (ripe) – 33 kg (72 lbs)

·         Siberian


o   2 plants
o   5,891 grams (12.99 lbs) – 148 tomatoes
o   2,946 grams per plant (6.49 lbs)
o   Taste – Good flavour, quite acidic, thicker skin
o   Overall – These are supposed to be early producers, but they don’t seem to bear that much earlier than other salad varieties and Bloody Butcher has it beat by a mile.  Production was ok, but it went downhill very quickly once hit by late blight.  I’ve grown these two years in a row & am not attached enough to try them again, so I will not be growing these next year.

Friday, November 21, 2014

End of Season Review - Tomatoes - Part 1

I’ve finished all of my garden cleanup now and the only thing left to do is get some straw to mulch the beds with overwintering veg.  But one of my favourite gardening tasks is actually done in the comfort of my warm and toasty house as the snow flies outside – and that is the end of season review.

All summer I take lots of notes (or at least try to) on what is going on in the garden – although usually my notes are much better in the beginning of the season than at the end.  I think that November (when the current season is still somewhat fresh in your mind) is a great time for a review.  What worked?  What didn’t?  What changes should I make next year?  It’s also at this point that I make a note of varieties that I want to keep/replace as well as draw up a preliminary plan for next year’s garden.

I’ll be doing several summary posts for all of the crops I grew over the next couple of weeks.  For the most part, I will focus on one or two veg families per post.  Tomatoes, however, are an entirely different animal.  There always seems to be so much to say when it comes to tomatoes, so I am splitting this summary into three posts.

The 2014 Tomato Season

Salad, Slicing & Paste Tomatoes Grown This Year

Monday, November 17, 2014

Harvest Monday - November 17, 2014

This is it....and by IT I mean my harvests are officially at an end for the 2014 season.

I messed up this past week…and instead of a harvest, it was more of a salvage operation.

When temperatures first went down earlier in the week, I didn’t realize that they would go quite so low or be as sustained.  I went out to the garden the other day and all of the brassicas that were left in the beds – Russian kale, pak choi & some tiny broccoli heads - had a decidedly droopy appearance.

Temperatures have been a lot colder than average.  Last year was pretty bad, but prior to that, I’m pretty sure the ground wasn’t even frozen yet by the end of November.  Our average temperatures at this time of year should be around 6°C (43°F) with lows around -1 (30°F).  In the past few days, I don’t think we got past 2°C (36°F) with lows of -4°C (25°C).

In fact, I see that we are expecting lows of -8°to -9°C (17°F) for 5 days in a row this coming week….yikes.  We don’t normally get that cold until the end of December.  I guess when they said it was going to be a bad winter this year, they also meant that it was going to be an early winter.

So I went out to the garden and harvested what I could of my droopy, frost bitten veg.
Frozen Harvest on a Snowy Deck
Yup....winter is officially here

Monday, November 10, 2014

Harvest Monday - November 10, 2014

This week I harvested the last of the Mei Qing Choi.
Last of the Mei Qing Choi
Instead of harvesting the outer leaves, this time I cut the entire head.   Chinese cabbage would never survive our winter - although I should really never say never especially when it comes to the garden ;)

Monday, November 3, 2014

Harvest Monday - November 3, 2014

Guess what we woke up to on Saturday?
Snow Covered Kale
Yup – the first dusting of snow.  It didn’t last long, nor did it stick around but it is nonetheless a sure sign that fall is basically done and we are swiftly heading into winter.