Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Bounty of 2015

My first love in the garden is flowers, but over the past few years I've found myself adding more and more edibles to the garden.  Nothing can beat the taste of fruit and veggies just picked from the garden; I actually never liked tomatoes until I grew my first tomato vine a few years ago.  When I tasted that first sun-warmed cherry tomato I knew my mother had been right.  It's true, the store-bought ones don't quite taste the same.


Two years ago we built a nice, big 20x20 fenced veggie garden, and, after some lackluster success, this year we added raised beds.  It took us quite a while to build and fill all those beds, carting free compost from our local dump, so we didn't get most of the veggies in the ground until June, but it was still a great harvest this year.  Raised beds are definitely the way to go in New England!


The final totals (for future posterity and so I have a shot at remembering what all I planted this year)?  Well, between the veggie garden and the Tomato and Pepper plants that were in the greenhouse, we ended up with:

18 pints Tomatillo Salsa (salsa verde)
6 half pints Tomatillo Salsa
several large grocery bags full of Tomatillos to give to friends
Tomatillos coming out of my ears
Tomatillos thrown in the compost because we just couldn't look at another...well, I think you get my drift.

Needless to say, no one should plant three large beds of tomatillos.  Ever.  Unless one wants to go into the Salsa Verde business.

Tomatillos and more tomatillos.  And a couple cucumbers.
The rest of the bounty included:
8 pints Tomato and Ground Cherry Salsa
6 pints Tomato Salsa
4 quarts Arrabbiata pasta sauce

and for random consumption/cooking (and including the most scientific way of measuring for future reference):
Snow peas (oodles)
Ground Cherries (bushels)
Green Beans (lots)
Cucumbers (maybe a dozen, which was too many for us)
Jalapeño peppers (a few handfuls - not totally sure, since Mr. Red House was constantly picking them whenever he could)
Carrots (a good amount)
Horseradish (awaiting processing still)

Ground Cherries and Green Beans from the garden
I like to choose different Tomatoes to grow each year and try.
The Tomatoes of 2015 were:

Amish Paste - a nice Roma type paste tomato

Chocolate Cherry - small dark cherry tomatoes.  Flavor was superb - I don't think hardly any made it into the house, as we just ate them all straight off the vine.

Green Moldovan - a bright, citrusy-tasting green beefsteak tomato

Minibel - small cherry tomatoes that grew on foot high bushes, great for containers.  These plants were incredibly productive and hardy! They just wouldn't die.  Even when I wanted them to.  Because the tomatoes tasted that bad.

variety of tomatoes from the 2015 garden
Of course, there were challenges.  We had a Zucchini crop fail, as my plants were decimated by Squash Vine Borers, Cabbage Worms turned my Bok Choy into Swiss Cheese, and Potato Beetles started into the Tomatillos.  But still, not too bad of a year!  I also started planning for some future fruit harvests, planting patches of Rhubarb, Raspberries, and Strawberries, and several little Blueberry bushes this past summer.


It's been a bountiful 2015, and I hope that this coming year will be just as blessed.
I wish everyone a happy and healthy New Year!  
And, as always, happy gardening!


p.s. It is my unfortunate duty to inform you of the demise of the Red House Garden computer.  It finally groaned to a stop at the end of the year, weighed down by the excessive amount of plant photos.  A new computer has been installed, but connected to an old monitor, and of course with totally different photo editing software.  Thus I can make no promises as to the quality of photos or to my sanity for the immediate future...


22 comments:

  1. Wonderful bounty.... Love your raised beds.... Setting up a new computer and using new software is a tedious process.... Michelle

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    1. Computers don't like me, and I usually get errors that nobody else does, so using anything new is usually a struggle! It will be my New Year's challenge :)

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  2. Love, love your raised bed garden! I feel your pain with the computer situation. My laptop is on its last leg and I have been stalling getting a new one because of the learning curve and time. I know I need to do it soon before it completely goes out on me. Best of luck with the new photo software. I'm sure your shots will look fantastic. Happy New Year and best wishes for a healthy growing season!

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    1. Thanks! Yeah, my old computer had been getting slower and slower and crashing more and more, so it was definitely time. And of course they don't support the photo software I used anymore. Good luck with your computer! And a wonderful New Year to you and your family!

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  3. You're right, your vegetables, tomatoes are the best.
    Tomatoes planted for several years. I always have a great harvest.
    Greetings:)*

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    1. Tomatoes are a must in the veggie garden! So great fresh!

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  4. Happy New Year to you and yours Indie! Your vegetables look very tasteful, especially those beautiful tomatoes. I hope your harvest in 2016 will be abundant.

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    1. Thank you, Denise! A happy New Year to you as well!

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  5. Your garden did well this year, lots and lots. I always found even my tiny vegetable plot produced more than we could use and I was always giving stuff away. I never grew tomatillos though. I would bet you were swimming in those.

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    1. My veggie garden in North Carolina was tiny, yet I was amazed at how much we could grow in it. I grew lots of tomatillos as I wanted to can a bunch - and boy did I can! I also thought I had planted two varieties of tomatillos, one which I really liked snacking on. Whatever seed I got must have been slightly different or it was the weather or something, but they weren't nice and sweet for snacking on this past year. So more for canning!

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  6. Sorry about the computer, but your photos look great! Love the red fencing around your garden! Your second sentence couldn't be more true! Cheers to a fabulous gardening year ahead!

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    1. Thanks! I love color in a veggie garden - makes it nice and pretty! I always have to plant some flowers in it too. I wish you a fabulous gardening year to come too!

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  7. Sorry to hear about the technology woes...I hate when it just causes more angst than help. But hopefully the new computer will help you more than hinder. I love seeing how great your edibles turned out. I agree raised beds are the way to go in the NE. Happy New Year!

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    1. I'm sure when I figure everything out it will go well. Always a learning curve! With technology and gardening!

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  8. It's a good harvest for a new and not very big garden! I am impressed with the volume of goodness you got from it (we usually eat everything raw)! Good luck in 2016, and you can send extra cucumbers my way!

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    1. My husband wanted the cucumbers, so I planted them, but he couldn't quite keep up! I told him no more cucumbers in the garden if he couldn't eat them all :)

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  9. What a bountiful year you have had, nothing to beat the taste of home grown cherry tomatoes.
    I had the same problem with the computer in the Autumn and coming to terms with Windows 10 has been challenging for an old geezer. Have a great year ahead.

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    1. I hope you have been able to figure out your new computer! I really need to find time to sit down and figure out my new software. It was a little overwhelming when I first tried to use it - I had to watch a youtube video just to figure out how to crop a photo. Ah, new year, new challenges!

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  10. I used to have a nice large vegetable garden but those flowers are so sneaky. About half is filled with non edible plantings now and the grocery store is seeing more business again :)
    Thanks for giving me a good laugh this morning, your minibel review topped it all off!
    Frank

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    1. It's hard to resist squeezing in more flowers - but then they slowly take over! I could't believe how tenacious those Minibel plants were. If only my good tasting tomato plants were as indestructible as those things!

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  11. I grew ground cherries once and thought they tasted like the love child of a tomato and pineapple. Interesting but I never grew them again, although they did reseed. I love home grown tomatoes but was tired of all their drama so I just buy them at the farmers market. Your raised beds/fenced off garden is a great idea! What are you growing this year?

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    1. I realized that I buy a ton of broccoli and cauliflower, as my kids love it, so I'm going to grow a lot of those this year. I'm actually a little nervous about growing them, as I've never grown them before. Hopefully they'll do well!

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