It is the autumnal equinox, and fittingly, our weather today has started out pure summer heat, and is predicted to turn to wintery wind and rain later on. I can see the clouds piling up to the south as the front approaches.
There are still plenty of summer crops coming out of the garden, but the equinox is a good time to evaluate what worked and what didn’t this past summer.
It was an extreme summer, so there’s no saying this year’s performance will hold in future years, but new varieties that did well include:
Tomato Indigo Apple—I blogged about this beauty when it first began to ripen. It has proven itself over the season, producing plentiful, delicious and attractive fruits that ripened early and continue to ripen as other varieties are giving up for the year.
Tomato Oxheart—This variety was also new to me this year, and it did well enough to deserve another go. The almost disturbingly heart-shaped (as in ox heart, not love heart) fruits were flavourful and plentiful.
Onion Pearl Drop—Cute and fast-growing. I’ll plant these again.
Watermelon Sweet Red—It might have simply been the weather this summer, but Sweet red matured more quickly and produced more fruit than Rapid Red, which I’ve planted in past years. I’ll be curious to see how it does in a cooler summer.
Varieties that didn’t grow so well:
Eggplant Container Pick—I was excited by this smaller variety of eggplant, as mine always end up pressed against the top of the low tunnel I grow them in, but these seeds didn’t even germinate.
Tomato Russian Red—This isn’t a new variety for me. Usually Russian Red, bred for its ability to withstand and produce well in cool temperatures, is my best producer. This year, the plants spent most of their energy on vegetative production, growing to massive leafy plants without actually producing much fruit. And the fruit they did produce was so hidden in all the greenery that I missed half of it. It won’t stop me from planting Russian Red in the future, but it emphasises to me the need to plant a mix of varieties, as year-to-year differences in weather can make a big difference in production.
Pole Bean Jackson Wonder—The jury is still out on this bean, but poor germination and slow growth mean I still haven’t harvested any of these lima beans. There are plenty of pods on the plants, but whether they will fill out properly before frost kills them is debatable. My guess is that in a normal summer here, they wouldn’t have a chance—they appear to need too long a growing season.