Thursday, December 30, 2010

Best and Worst of my 2010 Garden

Reflecting back on the year, my first year of blogging about my garden...

Best - growing things we hadn't tried/had success with before, like chianti sunflowers, pink tomatoes, purple pole beans, and loofah.

The pink tomatoes grew nicely and were very juicy. I definitely want to try them again next summer. I wasn't crazy about the beans, however. They didn't have the same flavor as a regular old green bean, and sadly, they lost their purple coloring once cooked. As for the loofah, they're pretty cool but a pain in the neck to peel and de-seed. Still undecided if we'll do loofahs again, but experimenting is the whole fun of gardening, no?
Worst - the extreme weather this year. We had record setting blizzards/snowfall in the winter and sizzling hot temperatures in the summer. They said the DC area set a record with over 60 days that had temperatures in excess of 90°F. It was brutal. Those temperatures made conditions ideal for certain garden pests like spider mites, and we lost a lot of plants. We also found new bugs in the garden, namely a moth that totally destroyed all our squash. That was discouraging. :(

Best - Getting to eat and cook with fresh veggies and herbs!

Life got in the way of my blog towards the end of the summer, so I lost track of exactly how much we harvested those last few weeks. Next year I want to be more organized and I want to try to calculate how much we're saving by growing our own stuff instead of buying it.

Worst - Garden pests of the non-insect variety
above: the remains of my poor strawberries after the squirrels feasted on them
I used to wonder why so many of my friends' parents and grandparents hated squirrels so much. Now that I have my own backyard and garden, I understand completely.

Best - my new garden helper
We adopted this little guy in February. Isn't he cute? Oh--and add cat grass to things I've never grown before!

Best Overall - My bouquet!

I got married this past October. This isn't really related to my backyard garden, so I thought I'd post my bouquet to make the connection. It was definitely a highlight this year. ;)


Friday, December 17, 2010

Same Time, Last Year...

I think the peppers make it look like a little Christmas plant, no?

Bitterly cold temperatures, strong winds, grey skies, and our first snow fall last night! Winter has made its appearance. I actually wasn't able to get any good pictures of the snow yesterday because it was dark by the time I got home, and today the snow is mostly melted and everything is dirty and slushy. It's great, though. A little bit of snow does get me into the holiday spirit!

This very same weekend last year is when we had the first of 3 blizzards to hit the DC area, and the pictures above are from that weekend in 2009. I am crossing my fingers that we don't have the same kind of winter this season.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Final Harvest

Drumroll.....this is our final harvest of the year, collected last weekend. The tomatoes are green and I'm hoping they'll ripen inside the warm house. The peppers look and smell good and will taste delicious in a soup or sauce. The temperatures have now plummeted below freezing at night, so we brought some of our hot pepper plants inside. I'm not sure if they'll survive inside through the winter. We may have waited too long to bring them in, and the spider mites were HORRIBLE this summer. I wonder if any are dormant in the soil like they were last winter. Our cat swatted at a jalapeno pepper plant and it seemed to stress the plant out enough to activate the spider mites that were hidden inside, which then took over the plant. It's a little sad to bring these plants in. I guess winter's here now, though it's not officially winter yet. Until next spring...