I know the growing season isn’t entirely over yet, but here in southern Ontario, the nights are getting cool and we’re preparing for the onset of winter. So I thought I would give an update on how my gardening efforts, the first time I seriously attempted growing anything, progressed from the beginning of the season.
The stars of my garden were the seeds I harvested from grocery store vegetables—tomatoes and bell peppers. The latter had a slower start, but has borne a lot of very healthy-looking fruit in the past month. The jalapeño seeds took even longer to grow much, but finally yielded its first pepper in the past couple weeks, and since we brought it inside, it has bloomed another couple flowers.
Mostly, the vegetables haven’t been ready to harvest yet. However, I did eat my first tomato yesterday, which was very tasty.
I had an exaggerated sense of how temperature-tolerant the plants were, which may have stunted the ripening process for many of the tomatoes. With a frost warning tonight, I decided to go ahead and harvest the rest and let them ripen indoors (hopefully, or else I’ll see how fried green tomatoes actually taste).
I’m quite interested to try a home grown bell pepper, though the only colour they have exhibited so far aside from green is some purple striping when it got a bit chilly for them overnight earlier this week. They have been living inside since and the peppers have gone back to green, and continued growing, if slowly.
The lettuce was a big surprise. After a couple of false starts trying to start the seeds indoors, I gave up and planted the rest of the seeds in their final home, and they proliferated so much that I was able to harvest a few salads’ worth, until the squirrels dug them up so much that they stopped growing back.
Having never grown or known much about growing anything that did not produce food as some sort of separate fruit, however, I was blown away by the idea that I could just rip the leaves off and they would just keep growing.
Alas, after their initial burst, my pumpkins didn’t do so well, and I finally gave up on them a week or two ago. I don’t know what it was I did wrong. I thought, after seeing a family member’s progress on a similar squash that had required a lot more water than I had been giving my pumpkins, that they were just thirsty, but either that wasn’t the solution or it was already too late by then.
Now that we’re at the end of the growing season, we’re looking ahead to next year. After reading that in warm enough conditions, bell peppers plants will continue growing and producing for a few years, we’ve decided to keep tending to them now that they’re inside. Same with the jalapeños. Both have now attained a semi-permanent home in a south-facing room upstairs with a full-spectrum light on a timer set nearby.
I enjoyed raising my garden enough this year that I’ve decided I want to create a proper one next year, though I need to start preparing a plot for that now to be ready for it. More tomatoes are a given, and I want to try pumpkins again. I will definitely be planting more lettuce next year. Other options I’m considering include green onions, celery, green beans, and zucchini.
In all, I’d call this experiment a success.