Fall Harvest

We all know it wasn’t a very good year in the Northwest for heat-loving fruits and vegetables, particularly the tomato. I made my way over to my community garden plot with my adorable gold retriever, Barney, last night after work to harvest my bean crop. Lo and behold, I found some ripe tomatoes! While Barney raced off with some of the fallen tomatoes to play with, I harvested ripe grafted Black Krim tomatoes. This variety seemed to offer the most bounty, but Big Boy had the most beautiful—and less fragile—fruit (both were provided by Alice Doyle, Log House Plants. I intend to harvest lots of green tomatoes in the next few days and use them in the yummy sounding recipes offered by Ann Lovejoy on her new gardening blog.

Two varieties of beans were prolific: Scarlet Emperor and Purple Pod. The bush beans I planted didn’t perform. Scarlet Emperor offered decorative bright red-orange blossoms, which I imagine tempted our hummingbirds. Turns out they are beans that need to be shelled and are the loveliest color of pink/lavender! I doubt the Purple Pods snap beans will keep their lovely deep, dusky purple color when blanched or cooked, but they are tasty right off the vine and could add color to a salad or relish plate.

I also harvested four small squash, one per plant. I’m pleased I got any at all but I’m disappointed that I didn’t get more off the vine (there were more flowers but for some reason they didn’t produce fruit).

Now it’s time to try planting carrots and parsnips, arugula, spinach, collards, lettuce, Swiss chard, mustard, kale, beets, cabbage, and fava beans for a winter crop. I’m also going to try row covers to manage pests and I might even try building a cold frame for the leaf crops to extend their season.

I’m thankful I don’t have to rely on my beginner efforts at food production to feed myself. Viva les farmers!

What performed well for you in your garden this year?