Sunday, November 13, 2011

Garden fight!

I don't know why I love the concept of my gardens fighting one another, but as I sat down to compare this year's garden and its final tallies to last year's I could only imagine pretty green tomato leaves curling into little garden fists of fury.

"My tomatoes are bigger than yours!"

"Yeah jerk? Well, my tomatoes are more numerous than yours!"

OK, so fighting tomatoes are kind of stupid. Let's move away from this bizarre concept.

What I meant to say was, the garden is done for the season. Including the volunteer potatoes and peppers, which held out way longer than I thought they would, but mostly because I finally tore the overgrown tomatoes out of their way so that they could see the sun again.

Someone get me some fucking sunscreen!

And then what happened? Well, the spindly little peppers which had produced all of an ounce of fruit for me, finally started doing some growing. In October, when it was basically too late for anything impressive to happen.

At least we're still wearing our blossom hula skirts.

I could be a pepperoncini. Put me in coach!

I double dare you to fry me up.

But still - we got some more peppers and AT LONG FUCKING LAST we got two NuMex Jalamundo peppers.


With which I *could* have made two very overwrought jalapeno poppers and thus fulfilled my fantasy of fried foods, but I did not.

I opted for some end of season salsa verde because of the abundance of the volunteer tomatillo plants and because the thought of firing up a pot of hot oil to fry two measly jalapenos seemed like a greasy waste of time.

Maybe next year! When I just sow them direct in the soil and back away from this delusion of mine that tells me that, despite many years of failure, I can actually start seedlings indoors and successfully harden them off to grow in the garden.

Look. I just can't do this. I suck so impressively at it, in fact, that it could be a new defining characteristic of mine. Seedling Killer. That's me.

Anyway, I did sow them directly in the garden *eventually* and, after a summer of growing in the shade beneath the aggressive tomatillo and cherry tomatoes, I harvested a big two jalapenos.  That particular failure is all my fault and we'll try again next year when I'll endeavor to make more sense in my gardening. Like, I'll sow them in the spring somewhere where they'll see the sun. Maybe! But I'll also probably do something stupid somewhere else in the garden, so don't worry - we'll still be able to have this little end-of-season heart to heart about my stupidity in 2012.

Hooray for that.

In Finny-Doesn't-Suck news, however, this was a banner BLOW THE DAMN DOORS OFF year for the tomatoes.

Seriously, now.

I planted four plants - two standard (Better Boys), one beefsteak (Brandywine) and one cherry (Sun Gold) - and if you remember from my previous year's predictions, one tomato plant = 50 lbs of tomatoes.


That would mean, if you're following my predictions anyway (which, why wouldn't you? Do I steer you wrong? OK. Sometimes.), that I should have gotten 200 lbs of tomatoes this year.

But what of the cherry tomato? Certainly THOSE can't produce 50 lbs of fruit.

Or can they...
Did they do this, like, 35 times?

OK. No they can't. I mean, *maybe* in someone else's garden they can, but in mine they put out about 15 lbs of tomatoes. Which, frankly, was a bit much. I feel like I spent the better part of my summer sitting under that plant picking until my fingers and nails turned green.

And they never looked bare.

It was terrifying.

Anyway - the tomatoes did well and I owe it mostly to the Better Boys who, in collaboration with the Brandywine who was NOT as impressive as last year, put out 199 lbs of fruit.

Still though, prettiest fruits.

199 lbs of tomatoes. 15 lbs of cherry tomatoes. 214 lbs of tomatoes in total.

That's a lot of fucking tomatoes, people, especially if you only put in four plants.

It was a good year.

What of the rest of the place? Well, let's go through the fun exercise of comparing final numbers:

2010 vs 2011
Gardening costs: $56.26 vs $60.30 = -$4.04 : 2010 wins!
Total produce value: $1,059.45  vs $1,781.39 = $721.94 2011 wins!
Cost per pound to produce: $0.21 vs $0.23= -$0.01: 2010 wins!
Total pounds: 264.31 vs 263.62 = 0.69: 2010 wins!
Total pounds of tomatoes: 147.44 vs 214.04 = 66.60 : 2011 wins!

What the hell have I learned from this? Er...well, the 50# of tomatoes per plant rule works, but not in the way I imagined (the healthy producers make up the difference and cherry tomatoes are growers not showers - ha!) and pound for pound, tomatoes are more valuable than melons.

On an unrelated note, I've also decided that I'm cutting my green bean crop in half next year. We just don't need to go through the rampant bean frenzy that we do every year unless all my tomato taking friends develop a strong desire for green beans. Which I sort of doubt they will. So, unless someone will commit to taking 20 pounds of beans off my hands next summer, I'm cutting that situation in half. Maybe we'll grow cucumbers on the other half of the teepee.

Appreciate your enthusiasm.

But...sick of you.

Or maybe nothing. Or maybe sweet peas. Whatever - it just won't be all beans.

So, next year's plan, which is obviously already being formed in my mind even though I *just* took the garden down and planted the fava beans, will start with a half-sized bean crop, at least three tomato plants but NO cherry varieties and the peppers (both NuMex and Golden Greek) being planted in full sun starting in spring. And, not to spoil the experiment story, but I think I already saw the stupid cherry tomatoes germinating in their volunteer pot, so that may have been a bad idea since there's no way they'll make it through the winter with that behavior.

We misbehave.

Good thing I don't want to plant them again anyway! Take that, jerks.

So, now I'm waiting patiently for the seed catalogs to come out so that I can start my winter fantasizing about what I might plant next year while hopefully picking a lot of kumquats off the suddenly productive plant and staring the new Clementine tree orange because those big green orbs are the biggest teases.

I should be orange soon.

Me too!
 Which I guess means it's time for winter, skiing, making abominations and behaving lewdly in my kitchen.



  1. I had a great tomato year as well--but I had around 8 plants of varying types. I had planned on 6 and 2 of the home-sowed-and-transplanted versions actually survived the late freeze we had!

    As for peppers, I hear ya! I made the mistake of planting three plants in amongst the tomatoes. Oops. They got eaten. After I loosed then from the grips of the tomatoes I got 6. Yup 6 Big Jim Peppers at the end of October when the frost decided to come around.

    I wish we could have citrus here, but it just gets too cold for them.

    I am still trying to figure out whether to freeze, can, or make sauce then freeze the remaining 50 lbs of tomatoes that I plucked before the plants died (they are ripening well indoors).

  2. Wholly Tomatoes Batman! :)

  3. YAY for Finny's tomatoes! Which of course totally kicked the shit out of MY tomatoes this year. I think you got more from your four plants than I did from my 24. But I can still be happy for you, despite my raging jealousy.

    I suppose I did have an excess of jalapenos. Although, since I had no dreams of deep-frying them, they didn't do me a whole lot of good.

  4. Castal - You know, I ended up making tomato juice our last crop of 13# or so. I use it so much when making soups, that I gave it to the sadness of juicing them (instead of eating them raw) and I think it'll be worth it.

    Vic - Totally! I am pleased.

    Kris - I'm totally jealous of your pepper crop. Mine barely came out to a pound total. We should really live closer so that we could swap. But then, yeah, we'd have the same crop issues so that wouldn't work. Damn the space/time continuum! Wow. That was dorky.


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

Anyway, to remedy this, I usually come back to my posts and post replies in the comment field with you.

But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.