Our End of Season Garden Recap: What Worked For Use This Year

By Julie Sews - 9:44:00 PM

Oct 1 2014 Garden A; Big or better tomatoes (I thought they were Roma when I bought it)
While starting to take down our garden, I always reflect on the season and what I would do differently next year.  I started to take down some of our garden this week, despite our beautiful weather (it was almost 70 a couple days ago).  I took down our beans which are not growing any new beans any more, some tomato plants (only the ones with no tomatoes on them), and cucumbers.  I think it's possible the cucumbers might even still grow, but I really just wanted to have all our trellises put away for the season.  I did leave one cucumber plant undisturbed as a test just to know. 

Our Gardening Goals This Year

This year for gardening my plan was to have our garden be as carefree as possible, while still providing us with our fav veggies for the summer and early fall.  So I'm judging this season on how well our garden accomplished these goals and how I think we could have our garden be even more low maintenance, while still providing us with the amount of fresh veggies we desire. 

How We Preserve Our Veggies The Lazy Way
We mostly eat our fruit and veggies that we grow fresh, but we do preserve some extra. For fruit I like to freeze some fruit for smoothies and make preserves, in early summer.  In the fall I use our extra tomatoes to make sun dried tomatoes, and I also dehydrate basil and parsley.  I use to make marinera sauce, but that was so much work, that last year I decide I'd just rather make sun dried tomatoes, then the only work I had was slicing.  I also decided to grow almost only Roma tomatoes because they're easier to cut and dry out faster due to their low moisture content.  For cucumbers I actually like to juice them to make cucumber limeade. I've learned I'm not a big fan of canning (too much work for me and takes up to much space), so I try to avoid preserving with canning.  I use to freeze beans but I've learned I don't like the texture so I never use it.  It ends up taking up space in my freezer for months only to throw it away!  I do however like to freeze our broccoli.  How do you preserve your extra harvest?

What Worked With Our Garden This Season

Roma tomatoes (12 plants), better tomatoes (6 plants), Cherry tomatoes (4 plants) after planting way too many tomatoes last year I think we finally planted the right amount to eat some fresh, and have plenty to make sundried tomatoes for the year.
Cherry tomato plants, I enjoyed snacking on them dipped in  ranch dressing Garden B: Oct 1 2014

Purple Pole Beans
We planted half of what we did last year because we planted way to much last year (I couldn't give enough away last year), we still had a lot extra at it's height but I think if I just get use to making a MN classic green bean casserole in the summer it'll be perfect. 
Garden B: Our Purple Pole Beans all Dried Out and ready for next season Oct 1 2014
As long as I make sure basil has plenty of sun they always seem to do well.  This year we grew sweet Italian basil and Thai basil (mostly because I had lots of seeds from last year), in Garden B, a pot, and my huge wooden planter I made in the backyard.  All did great.
Garden B: Oct 1 2014 sweet Italian basil, Thai basil, helper early girl tomato, Red Russian Kale
While not all turnips did great, due to lack of space or light, the ones on the edges grew to be huge.  While flavour wise I prefer rutabaga, I planted turnips cause I had a ton of seeds to use.  I love how I can harvest turnips any time from summer to late fall that I need one, and it stores well for the winter.  Laid back gardening indeed. 

Oct 1 2014 Garden B: turnip
Poblano Peppers
This was our first year growing poblano peppers, and they did so great I'm growing more next year.  They grew surprisingly tall, towering over our huge Red Russian kale plant.  I'm so happy because I love poblano peppers because they have a little heat, but not too much.  They run around 1-4,000 on the scoville scale.
Oct 1 2014 Garden A Poblano peppers Red Russian Kale, Asparagus, Bell Pepper
Oct 1 2014: Look how the Poblano pepper (right) towers over the HUGE Red Russian Kale
What worked for your garden this year?  I'd love to hear about it.

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