Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Hits and Misses

At about this time of year, we begin to take stock of our garden, and decide which crops were hits and which were misses. Every year we plant some old favorites and try some new ideas. Not everything works out.The weather plays a big role in how the plants prosper, as does location and style. For urban gardeners like us, we need to plant crops that grow well in pots. Tomatoes and peppers make sense. Corn, potatoes, and say, beets, are less sensible choices considering the space constraints.
As in years past, our tomatoes are the stars of the garden. Once again, our Brandywine has produced big, juicy tomatoes with a rich flavor. Our Cherokee Purple is loaded with tomatoes that are on the cusp of ripening. And we've had great luck with our German green. It's produced a bumper crop of fruit that is sizable and hearty, but not acidic.
We've had mixed results from the two heirloom cherry varieties we tried this summer. The yellow cherry plant has been very productive, but I find the fruit a bit too mild. The black cherries are full of flavor, but they are quite large, which means there are fewer of them. Next year, I think we'll go back to the Angora super sweets. They were bountiful and delicious. 
By far our biggest disappointment has been the Chocolate Stripe. It was a quick starter, but then quit producing. So far, we've harvested only three or four tomatoes and there are just a couple on the vine. I can only hope it becomes a late bloomer. Despite its superior smokey flavor and attractive appearance I would not try it again.
The cucumbers disappointed as well. I had high hopes for the little picklers, but so far, despite my best efforts to pollinate with an electric toothbrush, and the intervention of the bumble bees, I've gotten only three cucumbers from 5 or 6 plants. Compare that with dozens of Japanese eggplants and countless bell peppers growing on our four strong plants. I'm not entirely ready to call it quits on the cukes, however. Next year, I may try another variety. Our first effort at eggplant, the big black variety, was a bust too.
The biggest surprise was how easy it has been to grow lettuce! Though the early crop has finally been done in by the heat, I had a two month constant supply of salad greens from a $5 investment in starter plants. Now that they've all gone to seed, I have planted arugula and radicchio. So, gardening friends, what are your hits and misses? I'd love to know what worked for you...

1 comment:

Kim said...

I sure wish I could be there for a tomato tasting -- it sounds yummy! We've also had an interesting growing season here in Austin. Because my garden gets part shade, the tomatoes are just ripening now and we're getting a million cherries and Austin red pear tomatoes -- both very flavorful. But our squash crop was completely destroyed by burrowing worms and the flea beetles at every bit of our arugula. I don't think I'll try those crops again.

Thanks for the update and let us know if your cucumbers develop after all.