Its been a wonderful summer for growing vegetables here on the west coast of BC. I started harvesting tomatoes in the greenhouse back in June and my plants are just about finished. I am at the point of being almost tomatoed out if you know what I mean. I want to make room for some winter vegetables. I am not complaining but when I realize that they have been growing tomatoes since early March and I only get three months worth of fresh tomatoes. I long to bring them in the house to continue growing them over the winter. I know I won’t have enough light for that so I will focus on planning next year’s garden. I started the growing season by starting 16 different heirloom tomatoes. Out of all of those I have decided on my final favourite four. They are Wapsipinicon Peach, Peace Vine, Snow White and Calabicito Rojo. The yellow flesh of Wapsipinicon Peach not only looked great in a salad it was the sweetest tomato I have had. I will definitely be growing these next year.
I also grew Ambassador Zucchini this year and expected a nice tiny compact plant. I don’t know what I was thinking. It still needed five feet of room in my tiny raised bed but boy did it produce! I am embracing zucchini this month and using it in all sorts of things. I have made zucchini pancakes, zucchini cake and zucchini fries and they all tasted delicious. At first I was overwhelmed by the amount just one zucchini plant can produce but I decided to freeze some for use during the winter months. To freeze it I grated it and measured it in one cup amounts and placed the one cup mounds on a cookie sheet to freeze. Once they were frozen, I labelled and bagged them for longer storage.
This year I also grew some yellow crookneck squash which upon cooking it for the first time I wasn’t too impressed. It didn’t have much flesh after I had scooped the seeds out. Then I realized how pretty it becomes when left a bit longer on the vine. Check out this one I picked this morning. I can’t help getting all touchy and feely with this one. Its warty texture is amazing. I may have to save this one for a fall display by my front door. I haven’t the heart to eat such a pretty squash. I know, I am being silly. I just need some better recipes for it as it is a new vegetable for me to prepare. On the left is a mystery zucchini from the community garden, the yellow crookneck squash in the center and the Ambassador zucchini on the right.
Yesterday I harvested some carrots for the food bank. I will send them the loving carrots as a surprised along with some squash and zucchini. I hope they like the multi-coloured carrots that the grade 3 class grew for them.
So what was my favourite vegetable of the season? It has to be my tomatoes. We have had endless Greek salads for what seems like ages. What excites me is thinking about what new seeds I will try next spring. I also had a good crop of Marketmore and lemon cucumbers to add to my Greek salads. I successfully grew cucumbers in a large container. I have vegetables in containers everywhere I can find room in preparation for a talk I am giving next year. After all I need photos for my presentation. What worked best in a large container were the cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce and watermelons. I tried pumpkins in containers but I will be lucky to get just one pumpkin. That’s okay as I will have enough for a batch of pumpkin soup.
So what would I do differently next year? I will not grow quite as many tomatoes as I did this year. Mind you, I always say that and then get carried away in the spring ordering seeds. If I can I would like to build more raised beds and grow more vegetables. There is nothing better than bringing your fresh harvest to the table for dinner.