This summer’s garden was pretty successful, I’d say! All summer long, I had grand intentions of posting photos of my harvests and how the garden was growing… but that didn’t happen. As autumn sets in and the gardening season ends, I thought I’d do a post “reminiscing” about the garden this year and all the lovely things we collected from our plants.
For a good portion of the summer, I actually kept up with my goal to prune the tomatoes and keep them tied up.
Early in June, I went out and did all of my tending, but ran out of ties. When I stepped back into the garden, I noticed this little beastie buried in the mulch!
I’d almost stepped on it, which shook me up a bit. I guess it was there the whole time I’d been working before! Husband came out and using gloves, got it into a bucket…
…and released it into the brush behind our house. I think it was a bunny?
I’d say we had a pretty good year with our tomatoes. I did keep track of how much I harvested in my planner, but I didn’t make a spreadsheet like previous years! I kept thinking that I would, and then I never did… oh well.
We had the most success with our grape tomatoes and the Golden Jubilee tomatoes. The grape tomatoes were everything I’d hoped– sweet, firm and prolific. Yum. I’m going to miss them!
I can’t believe it, but I didn’t take a single photo of my lovely Golden Jubilees! They were the perfect shade of golden yellow, large and meaty, and really, really delicious. I definitely could see myself having these in my garden again in the future.
Our first tomato harvest was the Beefsteak tomatoes. I should have watered more consistently, as evidenced by the bad blossom-end rot on two of the three Beefsteak tomatoes I harvested. I must admit, even though I knew it was a problem, I still didn’t make it a priority to get out and actually water my plants. I would use the excuse of “oh, it’s going to rain tonight…” and then it wouldn’t! While the other tomatoes didn’t seem to suffer at all (though perhaps they would have been even more successful if I’d watered them more), these Beefsteak plants just went downhill all summer long.
V enjoyed having her tomato plant on the deck again this year. I hadn’t realized that it was more of a slicing-tomato-size variety, so I don’t think she enjoyed eating them nearly as much as the tiny cherry tomatoes from last year. But she was always excited to pick the next red one!
The big disappointment this year was the cucumbers! They look lovely and healthy in this photo, from early in the summer, but this was as far as they went. They died so quickly, I didn’t even have time to figure out what was going on! Since cucumbers are basically my favorite thing from the garden, I was pretty sad.
But if the cucumbers were a disappointment, the zucchini made up for it in spades! (I’m not sure if I should intend that pun or not ;-))
Our very first harvest (before any tomatoes) was these two lovely zucchini…
…and they just didn’t stop after that!
I obviously am not going to show photos of them all (I didn’t even take that many harvest photos this year, in general), but I would get multiple fruits every time I went out to check. And not infrequently, one would grow stealthily under one of those big leaves until it was a 4 or 5 lb whopper!
I made a LOT of zucchini bread. These big ones aren’t very good for much else… and each one would make at least 4 batches of the recipe I have. I honestly lost count of how much zucchini bread came out of my oven this summer… I made it in loaves and in muffin tins… I substituted part or all of the oil with applesauce… I shared it and gave it away, and I froze a bunch, too! (I think we have at least 1 dozen muffins and four loaves in our freezer right now). The muffins are great, because you can freeze them and take out individual servings to thaw in the microwave for occasional breakfasts…with cream cheese…yum… I even froze some plain shredded zucchini so that I can make some more this winter, haha! It’s a good thing Husband reminded me that our food processor has a fine grater attachment, because the first time I shredded one of these monstrous zucchinis, it took me about an hour! haha.
Even with all of the zucchini bread, we still had zucchini to eat, and I tried to find some new recipes. Along with our standby favorite of zucchini fritters, we made
- Zucchini Parmesan
- Zucchini Bread Pancakes
- Zucchini Boats (halve a zucchini lengthwise and remove seeds; fill with ground-beef-and-marinara-mixture; top with mozzarella and bake. There are gazillions of variations on this idea; I dare you to search Pinterest. We really liked this simple version, and we definitely made it again.)
- Zucchini Stir Fry
- Shrimp Scampi with “Zoodles” (well, ours were just shredded zucchini since we don’t have a spiralizer)– thanks, Christine, for the recipe idea!
The garden is nearly done for the year, and I have some more thoughts to share, but I’ll save them for a future post. As we move into fall and winter, I’m certainly going to miss my fresh tomatoes and my seemingly-never-ending-supply of zucchini!