Saturday, November 3, 2012

It's A Learning Experience

I had A LOT of garden fails this year. I recently posted about how my Mortgage Lifter tomatoes never grew, my corn stalks were either yanked out by garden pests as small shoots or gnawed down when they were almost ready to harvest, and I was only able to grow one sunflower.  We had so many issues with squash too. We ha a combination of cucumber beetles, squash bugs, and squash vine borers. Gross! This is another fail--watermelon. I love watermelon and would love to grow my own. We tried a couple of years ago, but with our crappy clay soil, the watermelon didn't grow well. So this year, with the raised bed, we thought with the deeper, better quality soil, the watermelon might do better. Nope. We harvested two tiny melons, and they tasted and smelled gross. Boo.

two bean plants

bean flowers ferry morse 6-30
I also tried an experiment with two different varieties of bush beans in containers, Ferry Morse Bush Contender and Burpee Bush Lake. Sadly, they didn't do well either. When I first posted this in July, the Bush Contender plant had produced some beans already; the other one had not. I liked that plant better, too, because of the pretty light purple flowers. By the end of September the Bush Contender had caught up in terms of bean production, but the beans that both plants produced were small and hard. And total bean production was so small that I don't even think I recorded it. Another fail. I'm not sure if it was the small container, the weather, or other issues, but beans just didn't grow for us. Every time something goes wrong, one of my friends says "Chalk it up to experience!" She says it in an affected voice, and it's a bit of a running joke between us (not just about the garden, but general life stuff too, because that's what your parents always tell you when something goes wrong), but it's true. Now I know--don't grow bush beans in containers.

 Here's something positive. Our pepper plants seem invincible. We weren't able to grow corn, beans, melon, certain tomatoes, or squash, but we have plenty of garden-fresh peppers! Here's the most recent harvest of some Golden Bells. They're small--all 3 can fit in one hand, but we get a nice harvest every week and can add peppers to sauces and soups. I'm not even that big of a pepper fan, but I'll take what I can get at this point. Despite the cold temperatures, the pepper plants are still producing, and we're slicing up and freezing peppers to use throughout the winter.

How's your edible garden doing? What are you harvesting?

Friday, November 2, 2012

Stormy Thoughts

I started this blog to keep track of my garden (and now, my attempts to eat locally and with the seasons). But I feel a little odd posting about plants and food right now when so many people in New York and New Jersey are still without power, without hot water, without a hot meal. I've heard from all my friends up there, and some have gotten power back, but many haven't. Many of my friends have small kids, and they're going stir-crazy! They're stressed about their empty gas tanks and the long lines to fill up. One friend's parents are in Staten Island. They're OK, but their business is destroyed, and I'm not sure about their home. That poor borough is a mess. I used to live in NYC, and I worked in lower Manhattan in a building whose lobby is now totally flooded. I'm grateful that the storm did not negatively affect me at all, and I feel guilty too. I'm frustrated that I can't help my friends, I can't invite them to my house for a hot shower, to wash laundry, to have a hot meal. Similarly, I always feel bad when the Gulf Coast gets hit with hurricanes. I used to live in New Orleans also, and I was fortunate enough to move away before Katrina. But I have many friends who still live there and I still go back often to visit. Some parts of that city have recovered, but it took a long time. I think the NY metro area will recover faster. Those are some resilient people! We're heading to NY the week of Thanksgiving. The trip was planned a long time ago, but it will be more meaningful now as I will, hopefully, be able to see most of my friends in person. As we begin November and approach Thanksgiving, I want to remember to be grateful for things I often take for granted: electricity, the ability to take a hot shower with the lights on, clean hair, clean clothes, hot food, hot coffee, hot tea, no line at the gas station, a fully-charged cell phone, a warm house, my family and friends.

(sigh) Well this is getting heavy. I've got to lighten the mood, so here's a picture of my cute little cat.

Here's another happy Autumn thing: pumpkin butter....

 (click the pic or here for the recipe link)

Have a wonderful weekend, wherever you are!