Farewell to Summer

So the rain has begun and it’s cold and gloomy; it’s just the sort of weather that makes me want to cook up an autumnal supper (tonight I’m making pork chops, sauteed rainbow chard with onions and garlic, and homemade mac-n-cheese).  But first, while all of the highs and lows of the summer garden are still fresh in my mind, and one last platter of homegrown tomatoes still adorns my kitchen table, I want to go back and add up the total yield from our garden.  Throughout the summer, I took quick photographs of each harvest.

July 21, 2012

August 9, 2012

August 18, 2012

August 28, 2012

August 31, 2012

September 8, 2012

September 21, 2012

September 27, 2012

September 29, 2012

Tromboncino Squash – large and small

October 1, 2012

October 3, 2012

October 8, 2012

October 13, 2012

October 19, 2012

On the occasions when I was in too much of a hurry to grab a camera, I wrote quick notes on my calendar.  By combining these two sources of information, I was able to tally up our total yield.  Feast your eyes on this.

And that’s not all, I ran out of room on my chart for our sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, herbs and artichokes.  We planted a dozen seedlings of white sweet corn on Memorial Day and harvested 19 ears of delicious corn; our last harvest was on August 30th.  We planted one “mystery” cherry tomato plant and we were regularly harvesting two to four cups at a time during the summer; even in October, we’re still harvesting some each day.  All of our herbs, except the dill, are still going strong.  In hindsight, I didn’t need to plant eight basil seedlings as we have more than we can ever possibly use, but I love it nonetheless.  Besides using it fresh nearly every day on salads, sandwiches and homemade pizza, I’ve frozen five batches of pesto, each using a different nut: pine nuts, sunflower seeds, pistachios, walnuts and almonds!  And finally, our one year old artichoke plant produced two large, plus three small artichokes in June.

June 13, 2012

Each time I photographed one of our harvests, I was amazed, but until I added everything up, I didn’t fully realize just how prolific our garden had been.  And I didn’t even include our losses due to the squirrels! The totals truly surprised us, but what’s even more amazing is that those totals were produced by single plants (except for the bell peppers – oddly, our most disappointing crop came from two plants).  Our lone Green Zebra plant produced over 137 tomatoes, our towering, six foot tall Yellow Brandywine monster plant produced over 40 tomatoes and our Cherokee Chocolate plant produced 24 tomatoes!  We were gobsmacked!  We were even told that heirloom tomatoes wouldn’t do well!  Seriously.  It looks like all of those soil amendments (organic compost containing chicken droppings, mushroom compost, kelp and worm castings along with crushed egg shells, fish heads, bone meal and a bit of organic 4-6-3 fertilizer) did the trick.

Our summer garden was a huge success.  It provided us with healthy food and free entertainment.  It was a source of pride as we shared our bounty with neighbors and friends and became a way of strengthening ties with those who shared our passion.  All summer long we enjoyed the fruits of our labor and will continue to do so throughout autumn and winter, thanks to the dozens of containers in our freezer!  I can’t wait to do it all over again next year!
What about you?  Did you have a vegetable garden and if so, did you enjoy it?  Will you do it again next year?  What was your favorite or most productive plant?