|Veggie garden this September|
1. No one needs three full raised beds of Tomatillos. Not even me.
|Harvest on 9/18/15 - Green beans, Ground Cherries, 2 Cucumbers, and tons of Tomatillos|
So what to do with bushels of Tomatillos? Let's just say that, even though I gave several bags of Tomatillos away, I could supply the whole neighborhood with Salsa Verde for the entire winter. And maybe next.
2. Bees don't visit greenhouses.
I grew most of my tomatoes in containers in my greenhouse this year. During the first half of the summer, the plants grew lush and full, with lots of flowers - but no tomatoes. I was puzzled why I wasn't getting any tomatoes, and I can't believe it took me as long as it did to have my 'duh' moment: tomatoes are pollinated by bees or wind, neither of which I have in my greenhouse.
Apparently one must hand-pollinate plants in greenhouses by either using a cotton swab/small brush to pollinate individual flowers or by tapping on the plant supports to 'shake down' the pollen. After realizing this, I finally started getting some tomatoes.
|That's more like it.|
I love to grow flowers in my vegetable garden to 'pretty it up', and I justify it to myself by planting flowers that are edible, usually Nasturtiums. This year, however, I was intrigued by the Gem Marigolds (Tagetes tenuifolia), which were reported to be the 'best tasting' marigolds, so I bought and planted seeds for 'Lemon Gem' and 'Tangerine Gem'. The taste is described as 'floral with hints of citrus and spice, and slightly bitter'. Curious, I popped one in my mouth one day.
I described the taste as more like 'pungently awful'.
After the fact, I learned that one is supposed to just eat the petals, not the entire flower, as the base is 'quite bitter'. After getting up my courage to try them again, I found that the petals were much more pleasant and mild tasting. I don't know if I'll start adding them to my salads, but at least it's doing it's job of looking very pretty in the veggie garden!
4. 'Gardening for food' and 'gardening for wildlife' are not mutually exclusive.
This year, in particular, I noticed just how much wildlife was enjoying my vegetable garden. Possibly even too much, as there were the Potato Beetles that enjoyed my tomatillo leaves and the Squash Vine Borers that wiped out my zucchini plants. But the garden was also a big hit with the beneficial wildlife. In fact, the parts of my garden that attracted the most bumblebees were (1) my catmint patch and (2) my vegetable garden.
I was also surprised how many birds were constantly in the garden. They do love to eat my Ground Cherries, and thankfully the plants are prolific enough that there are plenty for the birds and for us. But they also help me out by eating unwanted bugs, and, in at least one case, by helping out the bees with pollination:
|the little hummingbird that loved my veggie garden|
When you take a closer look, even the vegetable garden is teeming with life.
And I think that's how it should be.