July 19, 2017

An Epic Year in the Vegetable Garden

Apologies for not posting, but we have been having the best year in the garden ever. I have been gardening for over twenty years, and I have never seen anything like this. Yesterday I gave away 90 pounds of tomatoes between family, neighbors, and coworkers. And yet, there are still tomatoes on the counter. So far we have canned 44 quarts of salsa and 14 quarts of tomato juice.

I have even started picking green tomatoes for people to fry up, which I never do. The plan is to pressure can the rest of the tomatoes in juice and make some green tomato pickles. A friend of mine says she has canned so far, 130 quarts of snap beans and last year they had only canned 50 quarts. And it's not even the end of the season yet. People in our area are abandoning their gardens and telling neighbors to come pick what they want because they're done canning for the year.

Months ago I scheduled to be off the last week of July for canning because that's usually when tomatoes start coming in strong. Instead I'll be pulling out the bush beans since rust is moving quickly through the patch and rabbits are nesting there. And I'll be clearing out most of the zucchini and summer squashes, and the greenhouse.

So here's a few pictures of what we've been harvesting.
I ordered a Victorio food strainer to help with making juices and sauces, and found it much more efficient than a food mill.
The winter squash beds are inaccessible but a few are growing along the fence. I'm hoping there's lots of them hiding in their patch.
This year we're growing Queensland Blue winter squash, Black Futsu pumpkin, Thai Rai Kaw Tok pumpkin, and Yokohama winter squash,
We won't be having any melons this year, since they're all overshadowed by the massive tomato plants. And the leeks were squished by the rampaging zucchini plants, but maybe they'll recover once the zucchini gets pulled.

18 comments:

Sue Garrett said...

That's a massive amount of tomatoes to deal with.

Phuong said...

We probably have enough salsa at this point to last us a few years, so next year it won't be necessary to plant so many tomato and hot chili pepper plants. Your potatoes and brassicas look incredible. That's interesting that you're sowing peas already, I might go ahead and plant some as well.

Sue Garrett said...

That 's our last sowing of peas for the year. We start sowing them at the beginning of April.

Margaret said...

Congrats on your best year ever!! It always feels so good when most things go very right in the garden :)

Phuong said...

Hi Sue,
That's interesting you continuously stagger plantings of peas. It sounds like a great way of getting fresh peas all the time, something that's almost never available at the grocery store.

Phuong said...

Hi Margaret,
It's actually been a happy surprise for us, after a couple years that were duds. I'm going to try pressure canning some raw packed tomatoes and green beans this week.

Sue Garrett said...

Not all the time - we have now sown our last lot until spring. We freeze some for winter though.

Dave @ OurHappyAcres said...

That is an amazing amount of tomatoes! They are beautiful too. I have one of those Victorio strainers, and I used a lot when I made juice. Now I just put the tomatoes in the blender seeds and all for sauce.

gardenvariety-hoosier said...

This is shaping up to be a very good year for tomatoes but so far I've picked about a pound. You are probably about 200 miles south of me (SW Indiana) but way way ahead on tomatoes. That's just an incredible harvest of tomatoes, and that's a lot of salsa to can.

Lexa said...

Wow! What an amazing bounty you have! Your photos are just a joy to see. I am especially interested to read in a month or two when you harvest your Winter Squash. It looks like you are growing some interesting ones. Keep on harvesting and canning. You will be glad this Winter!

norma chang said...

Very impressive harvest. Leeks are hardy and I am sure will bounce back.

Phuong said...

Hi Sue,
Your last planting of peas, do they fruit into time for fall? I've never been able to get the right timing down for planting cool weather peas.

Phuong said...

Hi Dave,
I really like the Victorio food strainer, it's a bit leaky and messy but so much better than a food mill. I'm actually starting to make pickles using green tomatoes, it's been a lot of fun making vinegary syrups and different flavorings.

Phuong said...

Hi Mike,
Your tomato plants look loaded down with fruit. It's been a good year weather wise for tomatoes. We probably have enough salsa to last a couple years, so the plan next year is to grow fun stuff like melons and the like.

Phuong said...

Hi Lexa,
Some of the squash vines have started dying back, probably from the pressure of vine borers and squash bugs. Hopefully the fruit will ripen before the plants totally die out.

Sue Garrett said...

They did last year. We have just sown some so it will be interesting to see if hey do the same In what has been a dry year.

Phuong said...

Hi Norma,
The trench method for planting the leeks seemed to work really well for us. We have such incredibly heavy soil they definitely struggle when planted in deep holes.

Phuong said...

Hi Sue,
I'll go ahead and start planting peas now, maybe my problem was due to not planting early enough.