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How Does My Garden Grow

Now that we’re in early Fall, my garden is starting to look unkempt and overrun. After months of carefully weeding every little weed and daily watering, the garden is looking like a rotten pile of weeds and disarray.

My tomatoes decided they wanted to grow anywhere BUT inside the tomato cage. It’s almost impossible to pick them when they are all over the place and so many are laying on the ground inviting bugs to come and nibble on them.

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Another problem is that the seeds of the rotten tomatoes seem to pop back up all throughout my garden the next year. In the past I’ve tried to be strategic about the ones I remove and the ones I leave… but I’m realizing that I just have too many tomatoes. I love nothing more than a sweet cherry tomato right off the vine but Ben has to be coaxed to eat a few sliced up in a salad.

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Next year I’m going to try growing my cherry tomato in a pot on my porch. My mother does this each year and has a lot of success so I thought it would be something to try. It will remove all the rogue tomato growth and give me room to try growing something new.

Here’s one of my “walking paths” that has been overrun with rogue tomato plants. I’m stepping over them and often squishing them. It isn’t pretty.

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My other rogue plant is my cilantro. I started a plant two years ago from seeds and it grew into a LARGE and lovely plant that returned year after year. Last year I must have let it grow too much and it went to seed, so I found dozens of mini cilantro plants popping up – in my other walking path!! It got tedious to keep picking the tiny sprouts so I decided to let them grow a bit and pull them when they were a bit bigger – and then they got huge with established roots that are difficult to yank up.

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Where do you even walk? This is even more of a problem than the tomatoes! I definitely use the cilantro and like having it for recipes but it’s becoming a mini garden nightmare as well. I think I’m going to try porch growing for this herb next year as well.

It’s a frustrating time in the garden because you’re trying to pick, keep things hydrated, avoid the ginormous weeds that seem to pop up and fester in between your plants – plus we have just way too much produce. Since you never know what will do well in a given year, it’s hard to predict – but I think next year I’m going to move more towards things that can be sliced and frozen for later use.

We’ve always had a lot of luck growing peppers which is great because we blow through dozens every year and a 3-pack of organics run almost $6 in the store. Last year I was slicing and freezer-bagging well over a dozen bags and ended up giving many away but it was a great problem to have and I loved the colorful spread of peppers we had.

Last year…

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This year I bought the usual yellow and red but also picked up some orange peppers hoping for even more color variety and nutrient depth… but something wasn’t quite right…

I’m not sure how but it looks like the plants we bought were some kind of bell pepper / Anaheim pepper hybrid. They have the top of a bell but are long and taper like an Anaheim. Oh, and they aren’t normal pepper size – I call these my Fukushima peppers because they look like they suffered from some nuclear radiation fall-out.

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That’s a bit bigger than a “normal” bell pepper size on the far left – and the mutants right next to it.

I mean, really?

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My plan had been to make several batches of stuffed peppers and freeze them for easy Winter meals. However, because these peppers taper quite a bit at the bottom, they don’t stuff as well as a regular bell. They also don’t seem to be turning red or yellow at all – and I like the sweetness that red/yellow peppers bring.

My one plant of yellow “bell” peppers are weird too. They turned out yellow but they have a weird shape that isn’t quite a normal bell either. I have no idea what happened this year – it’s bizarre!

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We already gave a dozen of my mutants to my family for their salsa-making. I have plenty still hanging on the vines that I’m trying to leave on a bit longer to see if they will turn color – but it’s a fine line because I don’t want them to rot and have to check often.

So there you have it! Tons of peppers, too many tomatoes, and a large pile of zucchini and yellow squash occupying the kitchen table. Nothing didn’t grow so it was a successful year of gardening! Next year I’ll switch it up a little bit and try my hand at some new things… plus I need to do some Winter research to find a better way to combat the bugs (they really like my soil – and my fruits too!).

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3 Responses

  1. I want all of the tomatoes! 🙂

  2. Wow, look at all your veggies! Do you can tomatoes or make salsa? Good luck with the end of the season gardening.

  3. Gardening is so different from year to year – veggies and flowers! Nature sure has a mind of its own.

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