Monday, October 13, 2008

"Welcome Red Autumn"

This was the last day for the garden. There's a chance of snow tonight, with a winter storm warning in effect. The lemon-grass plant has long been in, and today the rest of the herbs joined it in the long southern window. We pulled all the green tomatoes using headlamps in the dark. They are all crowded in a cardboard wine-box, with the basil plants I cut thrown on top.

It turned out to be a better year for the garden than I was expecting, especially considering my modest goals for the season. The basil did fairly well, well enough to make and freeze several batches of pesto. I would have liked more tomatoes, but we got enough to enjoy a consistent diet of fresh ripe tomatoes for the last couple months.

The problem with gardening this year was that it simply wasn't hot enough for things like tomatoes, eggplants and peppers to be really happy. Growing up in Texas, "not hot enough" is a new challenge. It has never occurred to me before this year when I tried to grow something that having a cool summer could possibly pose a problem. This summer was one of the most enjoyable I've spent in Santa Fe. We only had a few weeks of consistent 90+ weather, and the heat broke extremely early -- sometime in the middle of July I believe. And this was after one of the slowest-coming springs and summers I have ever seen here. Our last freeze was in June!

A cold spell in mid-July really set everything back. It did warm up again in August and September, but by then the plants simply didn't have enough time to get going again before it started falling into the 40s at night. I've been covering the tomatoes at night for the last month or so.

I tried three kinds this year: Striped Romans, a salad sized "white" tomato, and a large pink "Tajik" tomato whose seeds I got last year from a vendor at the Santa Fe Farmers Market. The white tomatoes were really a very pale yellow, but tasted simultaneously more mellow and more interesting than most standard yellow tomatoes. We grew the striped ones last year on the farm, and they are a fun, delicious tomato. The Tajik tomatoes were good and sweet but very slow to develop, so we didn't get as many of them. Here's a picture of all three kinds:

I've already requested the Baker Creek Catalogue for 2009. Dangerous, I know, especially when I'm not sure where I'll be next year, or how much room I'll have to grow things. Well, seeds don't take up that much room, right? And they keep for a looong time. . .

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Anonymous juliana said...

Gorgeous! Which reminds me...I have some plants on the balcony...oops!

8:43 AM  

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