October Comparisons

The oddly behind year seems to have continued. October was when we are usually buttoning up the garden and feeling the pressure to get it cleaned out. This year, we kept putting it off because we had such a warm month that the garden was continuing to produce. On top of that, our evening temperatures were also quite warm so we weren’t as worried about the tomatoes and peppers like we usually are in October. On top of that, the temps worked out for us to finish up the walls…well almost finish the walls. They are built, we just need to fill them with rocks. I digress, that will be a separate post.

As you can see, we had a lot less rain and a lot more sun this October as compared to 2021. Plus a 5*C difference in average temperatures. I’m not complaining about the extended season, especially with the late start we got this year, it has just thrown off our annual schedule a bit. Anyways, here are our last harvests.

The Zucchini we pulled out in early October. Had we not, I expect we would have ended up with a lot more to harvest. I had already frozen 6 bags with 2 cups of shredded zucchini, so I wanted to pull that plant before we got too much more. There were so many flowers and a few small zucchini just starting. I’m certainly happy we only did one plant this year. We got plenty of zucchini but I don’t feel that we got completely overwhelmed with vegetables. I was also able to stay on top of it and pick them at the smaller sizes which taste so much better. Only a couple were hidden away and got to gargantuan size. I’m sure we will continue growing zucchini, but I definitely want to add more variety to our squash options next year.

Our peppers did pretty well this year and definitely gave us a last burst of vegetables late in the season. The plants started well in the house but because of the late start they got a little burst of cold when first planted, which seemed to delay flowering by a few weeks. A little disappointing considering I was anticipating another growth season like last year. It was close, but slightly lower numbers this year. Though we did manage to get a few to go red, which was a first. These will always be a staple plant in our garden.

It’s actually surprising that we had any sort of decent harvest of the strawberries. They were severely neglected, overgrown with creeping Jenny (bindweed) and the tower gave out in a few areas, collapsing one of the levels. Plus, they became so infested with spiders at one point that I gave up even looking for strawberries in the overgrown mess, so I’m sure I missed some of the harvest. We have already started planning a new home for the strawberries and will get all new plants in the spring. Start fresh.

So many scallions! Too many really. I’m definitely going to cut back for next year. I’ll do more shallots and onions. I did however dehydrate a lot of the green onion for use in soups and scones this winter. I also still have a large Tupperware container with chopped green onion that I will try to use up in the next week. I love having them in the garden, but we definitely went overboard this year with them.

Our romas overall were on par with last year. We had plenty to enjoy and plenty to can for winter soups and sauces. I even had an opportunity to use some of the green ones with a mincemeat recipe that a friend shared with me. Our house smelled sooooo good. I’ll likely share that recipe, though I don’t think I took any photos. As usual, I modified a few recipes to create the batch that I went with.

It was a satisfying year growing our onions from seed. I originally had no hope of the onions working out when I saw how tiny the seeds were. No way were we going to get decent onions in time. But, they turned out great. Perhaps a little smaller than when we start it from bulbs, but so worth the effort. Next year we will start them a little earlier and a lot more of the sweet onion and shallots. For now, we have a small harvest that will likely see us through the next month, but certainly not through the winter.

Our herbs were fantastic. Though, I am going to cut way back on the amount of basil I how and focus a little more effort on some other herbs. I love fresh basil during the summer, but I had far too much. In fact, when I pulled the plants, I actually pulled some tasty basil that I couldn’t bring myself to find a need for. I have 3 large ziplock bags of dried basil, more pesto than we are likely going to use this winter and plenty thrown into every meal I could justify putting it in. I hope the tarragon comes back next year. So tasty in so many dishes. I am also going to start the oregano and rosemary a lot earlier so that they are a lot bigger when planted outside.

We are so happy with our cucumber harvest this year. The patio smackers were a good replacement for the lemon cucumbers. I would still like to find a proper long English cucumber. The patio snacked is definitely closer but we always seem to end up with fatter cucumbers. They will be moved to a new location in the spring since we have planted garlic where the cucumbers were located. We are thinking in the warm corner as cucumber plants seem to like the heat.

Little sweetie pies…mmmm…these little cherry tomatoes are now my favourite variety. They are crisp with lots of flavour. They don’t go soft and soggy very quickly. We will definitely be growing more of these next year. Though, I do think that we ended up with less overall, it was still plenty for our needs.

Soooo much celery. I love having celery in the garden, but again, we grew it from seed this year, which is awesome, but when pulling them out of the garden, we realized we had soooo many plants. I forgot that Kurt had 3 plants to a large planter, so for every planter I put into the ground, there were 3 plants. I put 5 into the ground, so we ended up with 15 plants. Whoops. That is probably why we didn’t end up with thicker stalks this year. Still worth it though and we have plenty frozen for soups and stir fries this winter.

The cayennes were muy caliente! And growing really well. I might do one less plant next year because I definitely haven’t used all the peepers. Though, I may try to find a Tabasco or hot sauce recipe to try out with the remaining peppers. I love cayennes but we just have so many this time of year.

We are so happy with the broccoli! I’m pretty sure I have gushed about how happy I am with this vegetable every month, but it was such a pleasant surprise about how long they continue growing. In fact, I probably could have left them in for another couple weeks for additional harvests. Hopefully we can get the cauliflower going this next year because that with broccoli would make for some great veggies and dip lunches.

The best decision we made was going back to a large tomato. I was a little sceptical because I don’t love super juicy tomatoes. I prefer meaty tomatoes like romas, but Kurt wanted tot RG some large tomatoes again this year. The big beef did not disappoint. They definitely have more juice than the romas, but less than other large tomatoes we’ve grown in the past. I am sure there will be more of these in the spring. They made for tasty salsa and I got a lot of cans of tomatoes thanks to them.

The banana peppers grew well again this year. I am however reconsidering them. I tend to use the like a sweet pepper, and would rather put the effort into actual sweet peppers. I may try jalapeños again next year in replacement of the banana peppers. Though, it was nice throwing these in with other veggies for a cool crisp lunch. I guess we will see what we are feeling in the spring.

This is a little exciting. I didn’t think these would work out again this year but I did manage one small squash! I’m still going to move the plant elsewhere this year since I had mostly male flowers all summer again. I just don’t think they are overly happy where they are. So we will try a new spot and see how they do. I hope they do well since I really like roasted butternut squash on the bbq, in salads and as soup.

Overall it was another great month of growing. Now it is time to tally how much we grew this summer to see how it compares to last year. With food coats what they are, I’m sure happy we had the yummy vegetables all summer.

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