Frost warning: Allotment post mortem

Frost hit my community garden plot over Thanksgiving weekend. And there is a frost warning in the city for tonight, about a week ahead of the statistical average for downtown Toronto – though right on target for the northern part of the city. Bring in those tender plants!

With such a clearly demarcated end-of-season, it’s an appropriate time for veg garden stocktaking. Some might recall that we got a late (mid-July) start with our veggies. But all was not for naught.

While the ‘Scarlet Runner’ pole beans and ‘Tendergreen’ and ‘Golden Wax’ bush beans were all nipped in the bud… or flash frozen… over the weekend, we did get about four pounds of beans out of our experience. Likewise in the bumper-crop category, relatively speaking, were the ‘Ruby Red’ and ‘Grand Rapids’ leaf lettuce – the latter was said to stand up particularly well to hot weather. (Not that we had much of that in 2009.) Our ‘Scarlet Globe’ radishes were also a joy. Next year, we should remember to re-sow both lettuce and radishes for a succession of harvest. We also did well with seed-grown dill… but probably should have planted less of it.

Before we left for Québec, I did harvest all our green tomatoes. We grew a lot of green tomatoes! And they are now gradually ripening on a north-facing windowsill in the kitchen.

All our tomatoes produced fruit, and had the season been sunnier we might even have been able to harvest more than three ripe ones off the vine. Given their super-short growing season, I was particularly impressed with the potential yields of the small, round ‘Gardener’s Delight’ (shown above) and the plum-style ‘Principe Borghese’. That one makes me feel regal just saying it.

The peppers, on t’other hand, were a total washout. Eight plants produced a harvest of two (that’s 2) peppers. Well, not quite a harvest, as one of them, a hot Thai chili, was peppernapped. A pox on them; may it burn their tongue.

Finally, today, I pulled the rest of our tiny row of Nantes carrots. In fact, I’m crunching on one now. These could probably have stayed in the ground longer, but I didn’t want to risk losing them to poachers.

This weekend is, I believe, garden clean-up time, when we can compare notes with other gardeners as we put in our volunteer hours.

All in all, a learning experience. That sound you hear is me rubbing my hands together, already thinking of next year.


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