I know. Cheese-y. I couldn’t help myself, although I think it aptly reflects the gleeful delight I feel each morning when I go out to collect the day’s garden offerings.
The top two squashes are Benning’s Green Tint Patty Pan from the Hudson Valley Seed Library. This is my first time growing it. The middle zucchini is ‘Nice de Rond’, a French heirloom that I have grown on and off for years. The pea pod is ‘Dwarf Grey Sugar’, a short-ish variety with pretty flowers. I tried that one in one of the raised beds this year, after years growing it in pots. To be honest I didn’t notice a difference. The sign of a truly good container plant.
The Hudson Valley Seed Library website describes ‘Benning’s Green Tint’ as a “compact bush”, but that hasn’t been my experience. Mine is absolutely mammoth — possibly the largest bushing zucchini I have ever grown both in size and productivity! I did not provide well for its aggressive expansion and it is beginning to take over the space that was meant to be shared with two other zucchini plants. It has also spilled well over into the walking path. The plant keeps growing and has taken on what is close to a trailing habit!
Meanwhile, the ‘Nice de Rond’ remains as compact in the ground as it has been in pots. I love this one in small spaces and the round, cue ball fruits are tender and unique.
Oh dear. I really have been remiss in providing updates and photos of the garden in its first year. The last photo I posted was on June 29. We were headed to Denver and I wanted a record of it before I left. Until that time June was still a bit wet and sometimes cold. A heatwave struck while we were gone and the garden really took off from there.
I visited the Foodcycles farm the other day and was most intrigued by this beautiful scalloped squash called ‘Flying Saucer’.
Lately, I have been receiving emails asking me to talk more about the community garden. I will admit that I am so horribly behind in writing about progress there that it’s been difficult to know where to begin. So this morning I browsed through a few folders of photos and decided to begin with the above photo showing some of my plot (to the right) and a few other garden member’s plots around it.
I took this photo on August 9. This was before The Worst Drought in Toronto in 50 Years kicked in followed by the Worst Drought Plus Massive Humidity but NO Rain. That was the week many curcubits (the family that includes cucumbers, squash, and melons) died. I lost most of my cucumbers and most of my zucchini plants that week. I am posting this picture so you can see what that side of the garden looked like before the gapping hole. I’m still trying to figure out what to put there because the soil is great and it would be a shame to let even a small portion of the space go without producing something before the season comes to an end!
I took the above photo on August 25. It was a wet Saturday morning, having finally rained after several days of intense humidity. It was a beautiful, quiet morning in the garden. I thoroughly enjoyed the solitude listening to the buzz of crickets and the soothing hum of the Beer Store refrigerators. By this time it is already too late for my zucchini plants. They have loads of fruit on them but the stems have rotted. You can see how yellow the leaves have turned — it was all within a matter of days! I picked all the fruit that morning and removed the plants a few days later once I’d had some time to come to terms with the loss. It was a good year and we harvested a lot of flowers and fruit earlier in the season but in past years I have managed to collect zucchinis into fall. I was wearing a winter jacket when I pulled out last year’s plants! The loss of all that potential harvest still bums me out a little.
Here it is, photographic proof that last year’s zucchini plants came out in October. Mind you those tiny little things in my other hand are the last of the “harvest.”
On a positive note, scroll back up to that last shot of the garden and check out all of the ripe tomatoes! With 16 plants, I have had my best harvest ever. Their size and numbers have dwindled but tomatoes are still coming and I am harvesting at least 2 handfuls every few days. Of course it doesn’t FEEL like enough. I actually had surplus this year between the harvest on the roof and the harvest in the community garden allowing me to can up jars of tomatoes in addition to the purchased 50 lbs that were made into sauce and salsa. We can’t eat enough tomato sandwiches and salads to keep on top of the fresh tomatoes from the gardens and yet I am still wanting more. Last year’s 5 jars felt… okay. This year’s 35 jars… My god how will we make it through the winter?!! I may have a slight hoarding tendency.
Here’s a photo of the first big cluster of ‘Zapotec Pink Pleated’ tomatoes. Aren’t they beautiful? I have a secret wish that tomatoes would just last a little longer. They are all so beautiful that I just love having bowls sitting around to look at and admire. Unfortunately the fruit flies also enjoy them but I do not enjoy the fruit flies. Of all the new varieties I tried this year, ‘Zapotec Pink Pleated’ has turned out to be a very prolific plant and a new favorite. This particular cluster held one additional tomato but I was impatient and plucked it off early for a taste.
The result of some interesting cross-pollination found at one of the farm stands at the Farmers Market this afternoon. I’ve seen some strange mixes in the past but let’s just say I don’t see anyone using this miracle of nature as the basis for a new-fangled variety.
I can just see the catalogue description now: “Long, striped green fruit with golden, disease-like pustules splashed across the surface.”
It’s actually kind of disturbing. In a fascinating way.