Here in Northern Colorado, we are all feeling the gradual change of seasons as Summer gracefully wanes to let Autumn take charge. We welcome this change here on the plains after a hot, droughty summer. While the temperatures are still high, a cool breeze meanders through the Garden Spot, making ready for Autumn's anticipated arrival. We can say good-bye to the 90+ temperatures that we won't miss until the dead of winter. We are like that, aren't we?
It's an appreciated change for gardeners, for by summer's end gardening becomes a tedious chore with the demanding watering schedule and the tedious task of weeding. We are ready to put the garden to bed; thus, with bucket and bowl in hand, I set out to simply pick a few ripened tomatoes, but came back to kitchen with a bountiful harvest that did put an end to the vegetable garden for this season.
I began picking the abundant tomatoes. It was a rough year for them. With an unusually cold spring, the plants went in late. The Head Gardener planted both plants that he started from seed and commercial plants. We had Beef Steak, Better Boy, Romas that died, Sweet One Hundreds, Early Girl, Fourth of July, an heirloom variety Brandy Wine, Bush Steak, and Cherry tomatoes. It's an impressive list, but things didn't go well and from talking to others, tomatoes didn't do well this year. With the cold spring, the ground was still cold when the tomatoes finally were planted in June--at least that's what say--cold soil, cold feet.
Still we had a plentiful harvest of tomatoes. I've come to accept that the garden does not have to meet Better Homes and Gardens standards for beauty, style, and design; it just has to produce. I can't claim that we are organic gardeners either; instead, we are simple gardeners and maybe even lazy ones. Still we are cognizant and cautious using weed control around the food plants, so the food has to compete with bind weed and Canada thistle. Nor do we use pesticides or fertilizer, except when the plants go in. No heroic measures here.
When I gather from the garden, I like to use this large colander the I found at the thrift store. It's not the standard kitchen size, but it does fit nicely on the tomato cage. These are the Sweet One Hundreds that should be red, but are a bright orange and most certainly sweet as candy and abundant. I picked this vine clean and there will be more to come.
The green bell peppers, jalapeños, and Anaheim peppers didn't fair well either. Water? Who knows. The HG planted a combination of sets he started and one he purchased. Generally we have a great pepper production. This was not one. Not to worry; I have a good store in the freezer from years past.
So here it is, a bountiful harvest.