September 1, 2009

Putting the Canning Equipment Away

...without using it even once! It has been a very disappointing gardening season for me. In addition to our high altitude and short growing season, Mother Nature played nasty tricks on us this year with huge fluctuations in temperatures and lots and lots of rain....some days even hail! Not the ideal situation for any gardener, but especially a novice like me.

Throughout it all, I managed to harvest a handful of pickling cucumbers, but not enough to pickle...

Three summer squash with hopes of a few more in progress...

And a few nice-sized banana peppers...The biggest disappointment of all has been my tomatoes. I was so excited about the possibilities of eating and preserving an abundance of tomatoes. But sadly, that was not to be. I almost had a heart attack a couple of weeks ago when I noticed a trend on several of my plants...blossom end rot! I found out that can be caused by a lack of calcium in the soil, so I added some powdered lime and mixed it in, hoping to salvage some of the green fruits that were finally starting to proliferate.


Who knows if it was the lime addition or what, but pretty soon I was greeted with this sight...
There are still lots of green tomatoes on my plants and more are starting to ripen each day, but nowhere near the amount I had hoped for...especially with over 20 plants! Since we are harvesting so few, they get eaten right away, straight off the vine, in salads and on homemade pizza. I am in love with this new Camp Chef cast iron pizza pan that my buddy Penny told me about. Thanks, Penny!

I was also able to harvest some basil and cilantro that turned out well, but they were ready ahead of the tomatoes, so no homemade salsa for us. Sigh. I'm thinking maybe a greenhouse is going to become more of a necessity than a luxury!

7 comments:

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

Gardens depend on so many factors beyond our control. We just have to be thankful for what we get. My tomatoes got late blight and the plants started dying before the tomatoes got any size to them. We had pretty tomatoes, but they were all small. Oh well, maybe next year.

LiveWorkDream said...

Oh dang! Well, chalk it up to a learning experience I suppose. Still doesn't make it any less frustrating!

I'm watching your progress and taking notes so next year we can see what gardening at 8400' is like! Should be very interesting, especially as a former coastal gardener who got really, really spoil with the rich dark soil in northern CA.

Hey, you got any good high elevation gardening books you'd recommend?

basicliving@backtobasicliving.com said...

Aw. I know how disappointing that is.
I had to pull a couple of tomato plants up due to spotted wilt - and while we did and are getting some tomatoes off the rest, the plants just don't look good this year. It's been an odd summer here weather-wise too. But your pizza looks utterly awesome!

Robbyn said...

We've been smacked down each year with our own learning curve and set of quasi-disasters. We've concluded that if you get anything at all that can be eaten, it means SUCCESS and all the things you know to do differently next time around? SUCCESS :) Hey, your pizza looks amazing!

jasperlilith said...

gardening does have a pretty steep learning curve, especially when the weather doesn't cooperate!

we had a pretty good gardening year but we definitely had some disappointments, too.

we are about to start our fall garden so we will see how that one goes :)

jasperlilith said...

and that pizza looks delicious!!

Lilla said...

Although this gardening season has been a disappointment, I have learned quite a bit and will definitely try again next year. I may not start with 40+ tomato seedlings, but I will try again!
A lot of gardening is trial and error, especially in this climate.

Rene, no high altitude gardening books to recommend, but maybe that's what I need. Let me know if you come across a good one! The Colorado Extension Office website has a lot of good tips for this climate, including a monthly planting chart.

Thanks for the pizza compliments. So far, each pizza we have made with our new pan has been delish. I love cast iron!