I just finished my garden clean-up, and even though it’s late October, I still can’t believe the summer is over and I'm writing a wrap-up post for the year. Where does the time go?
First of all, I want to thank the team at Scotts Miracle-Gro for inviting me to join their Gro Crew and supporting my container gardening adventure this growing season - it was just the nudge I needed to get back into growing my own veggies, and it brought me so much joy every day to watch my garden grow. And a big thank you to all of you, too, for sharing your gardening tips, triumphs and challenges with me! I can't wait to share our garden adventures next year.
I only planted summer veggies, so the moment recently arrived to pluck the last few tomatoes and cucumbers from their vines and tug the plants out of their pots full of Miracle-Gro Potting Mix.
It was no longer warm enough for the lovely tomatoes pictured above to ripen on the vine, so I brought them inside and popped them in a paper bag along with an apple (the ethylene it releases accelerates ripening of other fruit). Most of them turned crimson and delicious within a week - and my mother-in-law used the few that didn't ripen in a delicious South-Indian dish called sambhar, which we enjoyed for breakfast this morning.
I picked my jalapeño peppers and popped them in the freezer (they freeze really well). I'll let my basil stay outdoors a while longer, but as it gets cooler, I'll eventually cut it all back and pop that in the freezer too (it doesn't work for fresh dishes, but still tastes great stirred into a sauce).
My first goal for next year is to organize myself better - to keep track of when things were planted, when I last gave plant food (this year I used Miracle-Gro Shake 'n Feed Tomato, Fruits & Vegetables, and I do really think it helped my plants produce more), and most importantly, to plan for succession planting. I only planted one crop of lettuce, and kicked myself that I hadn't used several pots and staggered the planting dates. Same goes for quick-to-bolt herbs like parsley and cilantro. I'm going to buy a calendar just for gardening and hang it in the garden itself so that I can easily stay on top of things.
This was my first year in a new space, so I have a better idea of what grows well and what doesn't in my conditions. I learned (sadly) that my patio gets far less direct sun in the middle of summer than it does in spring and fall; when the sun is higher in the sky, it gets blocked by nearby high-rises. So I'll focus more on shade-welcoming plants (I gave a link in this post to what you can grow in partial shade).
I created a Pinterest board with gardening tips and inspiration for next year - come follow along! Lots of great ideas for growing in small spaces, including containers and hanging gardens, as well as general veggie gardening tips.
How are your gardens shaping up for the fall/winter? Any favourite late-harvest vegetables you're welcoming into your kitchen? If you'd like to share pictures of your fall garden bounty, I'd love to see them and retweet! Just hashtag them #igrewit and tag me on Twitter.