When my husband and I are in our dotage, sitting on the porch in our rocking chairs, I’m sure I will turn to him and say, “Do you remember our new garden in the summer of 2009? Wasn’t that just the best garden we ever grew?” And of course he will snore gently in reply.
Well I hope it’s not the best garden I will ever grow, because it was only the first season in my new garden. Over time I will improve the soil tilth and fertility through regular applications of compost and other soil amendments. My blueberries, raspberries and other perennial fruiting or vegetable crops will come into maturity and bear more than they ever could have in their first year.
But what a stellar growing season we had here on the coast! After a horrendous winter of unrelenting snowstorms and below freezing temperatures, 2009 gave us a lovely sunny mild spring (although it arrived late) and a sunny HOT summer.
This lovely weather and a surge in vegetable gardening interest meant a really busy spring at the garden centre. We couldn’t restock edibles fast enough. Our suppliers couldn’t keep up with the demand for vegetable seeds, onion sets, seed potatoes, small fruits and other comestibles.
I was very pleased that all the newbie gardeners were handed such a great season to initiate them into the joys of gardening. I loved hearing about their successes and how they plan to continue growing food for their families!
Tomatoes – my sister grew too many seedlings and donated several to me. I filled my little greenhouse then planted the rest in the garden. Because of late blight I usually keep my tomatoes in the greenhouse but in this hot season the ones in the garden did better. Even with venting and shadecloth it’s hard to keep my small greenhouse from overheating.
Salad Greens – lettuces, spinach, and other greens like komatsuna, mizuna and giant red mustard grew quickly, tender and sweet until the weather turned hot. I almost drowned in salad!
Pumpkins – loved the hot summer (and the pile of horse manure where I planted them), and I found a fantastic recipe for pumpkin muffins that quickly became a family favorite.
Leeks – My sister passed on a recipe for leek soup that inspired me to try leeks for the first time. WOW, they were simple to grow! They grew huge and fat; we ate leeks til February 2010.
Potatoes – one of my favorite crops, just for the fun of digging them! There was so much space in my new garden and spuds are great for breaking up hard soil, so I planted them all over. My new favorite variety is one called Satina; large, smooth yellow spuds produced in abundance, they were excellent roasted.
Yes, we will remember 2009 as a banner growing season around here, we don’t get too many like that. And I apologize to my garden centre co-workers; I didn’t mean to be so cheerful about my heat pump and its cooling capacities (but it’s not my fault that none of you has one, or air conditioning in your homes). We don’t generally have much need for air conditioning here on the coast, but it’s sure nice when the temperature hits the upper 30’s several days in a row!