If I were to describe the summer of 2016, one word comes to mind – HOT. Actually make that two words – VERY HOT. All...the...time. Think I'm exaggerating? This is what a senior climatologist at Environment Canada had to say: "May, June, July, August and September, five months in a row, it was the warmest such period in Toronto's history, in 78 years of records...we also had 38 days when the temperature reached above 30 degrees, more than the three previous summers all together". See - I'm being completely objective here :)
So what did the hot weather mean for the vegetable garden? Well, crops that love heat were in heaven – it was a great pepper year and the number of butternut squash that I harvested from the same number of plants more than doubled from 5 to 12! Crops that are partial to more moderate temps, however, didn’t do nearly as well – turnips and kohlrabi come to mind. Even though I harvested a bumper crop, in terms of yield, both of these developed a stronger, less sweet taste than in the previous year. In other words, we harvested more of them, but they weren't nearly as delectable. I would have rather had it the other way around.
Hot temperatures resulted in kohlrabi that lacked the mild, sweet taste
they had in 2015 and every bulb was a bit fibrous to boot
Another factor that contributed to the lackluster performance of some crops was the fact that my drip system was not completed until mid-July. The snap peas were dismal this year and a good chunk of onion seedlings died off early on, with those that survived only reaching half their potential size at maturity.
The onion harvest was particularly disappointing this year
The straw bales were also a success...finally! After two unsuccessful attempts, I found a method of conditioning the bales organically that didn’t break the bank, but still gave beautiful results.
|Straw bales in early August|
|Baby choi in spring brassica bed|
Peggy's Delight zinnia
So those are the main highlights of the 2016 growing season, both good and bad.
Up next: What you are all anxiously waiting for - well, if you're like me, anyhow ;) - the numbers.