Goodbye Garden 2010

December 7th, 2010 - filed under: The Farm » Flora

This random zinnia popped up in an unused pot. Aww, little fighter!

It’s been months since my last “state of the garden” address, and a lot has changed since then! By now we’ve had our first frost, in fact, and the whole shebang is shut down for the winter. Only the kale lives on. (because kale has magical powers!)

Here’s how it went down:

By late summer the gourds were dominating the whole yard, while the rest of the garden was also going strong!

This guy was our Hallowe’en pumpkin! So cool to grow our own this year.

The Swiss chard was beautiful, but never got very big.

Ladybug larvae keeps my greenery safe from pests!

Basil, also beautiful but also not very big . . .

Kale heart <3

The tomatoes exploded with lots of foliage, but very little fruit. It was the same story all over Portland – a bad year for ‘matoes. I sure did shed a tear.

The haul. I got another handful like this, and that was it.

Beet bounty! Be still my heart and stain my fingers!

Meanwhile, up on the herb deck . . .

This huge parsley pot went into a big batch of soup stock right before the first frost.

I planted these jalapenos waaaay late in the season, on a whim. I didn’t even think they’d sprout!

Well they did sprout . . . and they grew up big . . . and then in some late autumn sun, they flowered! That presented a quandry . . .

With healthy herbs and peppers about to fruit, I was facing first frost. I decided to take a chance and transport parts of my garden into the house! Suddenly the sunny windowsills where I sprout my seeds took on a whole new purpose.

a few weeks later . . . SUCCESS! Muahaha

Oregano’s new home on the kitchen counter (spot my ferments in the background!

Thyme hangs out atop the fridge.

And finally, I dug up all my basil and transplanted it into pots. It worked! A month later and it’s actually survived!

I’m really loving the indoor gardening and plan to keep it up through winter – maybe even expand! Have you ever experimented with indoor/off-season growing? And how did your garden go this year?

  • Ginger Baker

    I’ve never tried to take in our herbs. Usually what I do instead is make a TON of pesto, and freeze it, but this year our basil was not so huzzah. It’s all good tho – our rosemary continues to take over the front yard, and THAT is quite fine alllll through the winter :-) (I’ve been known to dig through to snow to pluck some off!)

  • Monika {windycityvegan}

    I think my favorite thing about living in the South is that my herb garden survives the winter months! We definitely let the ground rest during this season, cover crops are going strong and I’m frantically drawing up plans for 2011 gardens in time to order seeds. My bok choy bloomed last weekend, the night before we got snow! I need to get some pictures up on my site.

  • Nahui

    Oh! that picture of the squash blossom got me salivating, they are delicious in a quesadilla. Sadly, the apartment I just moved to has no room for a garden, plus it’s already getting really cold, so I only have a small basil plant and two bean sprouts. Oh, I just remembered you can also make whistles out of squash blossom.

  • Mia

    We had sad tomatoes, but our salad greens were amazing! Also, lots of pumpkins, and tigger melons, and beets. onward to next summer!

  • Mia

    oops, almost forgot – - we are starting our alfalfa bale beds now, so that they cook and compost during the winter, ready to plant in spring.

  • erosan

    I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I suck at gardening. All that seems to be left from my garden is yerba buena (kind of like spearmint) and the basil…

    I’ve got cilantro, radishes (again) and tomatoes (again) on the plans for this year. And if the composting goes well, it’ll help keep everything alive…

    I want to try and transplant some yerba buena to a little pot so I can have it on my office’s desk too… other than that, I don’t do indoors gardening, no harsh winters in Merida. Actually, I worry more about the summers (I almost lost the yerba buena and the basil to the massive heat)…

  • Rawnie

    I’m just below Santa Barbara and I had a bad tomato year too. Very bad. The year before that, our jalapenos and anaheim chilis were bad (never got spicy.) A tomato expert told me that the trick with tomatoes is trimming them back at a certain point in their growth because they will start focusing on growing lots and lots of leaves instead of fruiting like they are supposed to. I promised myself I would look into this but never did. Next year… :D

  • Tenise Rae

    We had a really rough season with tomatoes down here in southern Oregon too. I thought it was just me and planting late but a lot of folks had very small tomato yields. *shrug. Weird.

  • Annie

    I live in Australia and my last crop of tomatoes also went a little odd. Most of them just refused to turn red. So my best female friends and I had a ‘southern belles’ party and ate a lot of fried green tomatoes, made green tomato relish, drank mint juleps and laughed at each others ridiculous (Australian) attempts of southern accents.
    When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. When life hands you green tomatoes, have a southern belle party!

    If your herbs don’t survive in the windows, you can always pick them and store them in ziplock bags the freezer. It’s still not a good as just picked, but the defrost pretty nicely and you can add them cooking foods still frozen and they defrost in seconds.

  • Amy

    My husband and I are finally renting a house, so I’m looking forward to starting a garden in 2011. I’ve tried indoor gardening, but we have cats; cats and plants don’t seem to mix. Maybe I need to install shelves in a sunny place?

  • Callie

    Our tomatoes over here on the East coast were also sad. My plants were big and healthy and came up pretty quick, but I didn’t get any ripe ones until very late, and they were extremely thick skinned and slightly unpleasant to eat. I got maybe two handfuls and some stragglers. We only did tomatoes and herbs this year, so that was a bit disappointing, but the herbs were very nice!

  • Jade @ No Longer 25

    Next year I’m going to try and grow my own pumpkins, we had our first garden this summer and managed potatoes, onions, strawberries and herbs. Next year we’re adding pumpkins, cucumbers, rhubarb and whatever else I can get in the ground.

  • Meredith

    The best thing that happened in our garden was an accident! We have a community garden behind our house, so in addition to planting our backyard garden, I planted a few things in the community garden too. I used my compost to spread over the dirt and much to my amusement, I got these tiny orange tomatoes that I’d never even seen before, and I also got this enormous squash plant that no one could identify, even when it fruited, we couldn’t figure out what it was! It was good though! That’s what I get for not separating out my seeds from the compost!

  • Vicki

    I’m in Wyoming, and our whole planting season was basically ruined by rainy and very cold weather. Many people gave up on a garden, including us, which was sad as we had been composting. This summer hopefully! we have such a short growing season anyway. :(

  • Sayward

    It’s so interesting to me hearing from people all over the country (and the world!), and it seems like we all had really similar experiences . . . with bummer gardens and crappy hauls, ha! Oh well, it just inspires me to double my efforts to do better next year, right? =D

    @ Annie – I always love your stories and the Southern Belle party sounds SO awesome. Way to spin it positive!

    @ Meredith – I love the surprise plants! Sometimes I compost whole seeds on purpose just to see what might come out. =)

  • Elizabeth

    This was my third year gardening, and by far my most successful. Not so much because of the fruit I harvested, but because I managed to keep most of the plants alive all summer! My rosemary and basil both danced at the brink of death several times but were still going strong when I closed up shop a few weeks ago. I grew all my herbs in pots this year so I brought them inside before the first frost.

    My tomatoes were OK; I accidently bought 8 plants (instead of only 3 like I thought) so I wound up with more than enough. Considering how many plants I had the amount of fruit wasn’t too spectacular, but they tasted amazing though.

    I can’t wait until next year, I’ve got even bigger plans!

  • Melissa

    i love the chicken in the photo!

  • Bananabug

    I agree that it’s great to have herbs available every season! But in case you don’t feel up to hauling them in next year I know for a fact that your oregano will be just fine over winter and will come back in full force in the spring. Parsley will also come back bigger and better and often Thyme stays green all winter (mine is still good even under the snow!) Basil gets a little weedy inside and if you hauled your rosemary in be sure to spray it with a spray bottle to keep the leaves nice and plump.

    What a clever idea to haul your pepper plants in! I wish I had thought to do that. Ours didn’t really start to produce till the end of fall, by then it was too late!