Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Summing up the Gardening Year 2016 in Boulder, Colorado

This post is about our personal home garden.

The good news was it was a great tomato year, not always a given here on the front range. The bad news was the Japanese Beetles have descended upon our region and they are nasty.

It has also been quite dry here. In July we only received .61 inches of rain. But, we didn't receive any hail like other areas nearby, so we fared pretty well overall.

I'll let these photos that I took today tell you some of the rest of the story.

We grew many varieties of tomatoes, but this was a favorite. The plant was purchased at our local farmers market from Aspen Moon Farm. They were supermarket-perfect size and shape and tasted great, too.

This is the second year that I've grown this yellow-orange tomato which I start from seed. I think it is perfect for Colorado in our cooler climate because it is small or mid-sized, so it ripens sooner at about 65 days and is very productive late into the season. It is also a good tomato to grow in pots.

I'm a huge rhubarb fan, and this is a picture of one of my rhubarb plants after attacked by Japanese Beetles. Cry with me.

The Japanese Beetles also love roses, the petals, that is. I have seen as many as a dozen on one mini-rose bloom and they will eat the entire flower. We can grow pretty decent roses here, so this is very disappointing.

Another problem noted this summer is an infestation of the root weevil on the peony. It looks as if someone took a pinking shears (scissor) to the leaf edges. You never see a critter during the day, which means it is a night-time pest.

We have two small "Miss Kim" lilacs near the peony and the root weevils also like lilacs as you can see.

Our millennial son has been living with us this summer and he loves to garden. He is a connoisseur of peppers, and grows many varieties of them. This is his Thai chili.

This was one of my experiments this year and it was unsuccessful. I dined with a friend from India in June and she told me about the methi dish that we had. Methi is a delicious dish that resembles Saag in appearance and the green used to make it is Fenugreek. My friend is also a gardener and told me the fenugreek plant is easy to grow and the dish is easy to make. I quickly ordered some seeds and planted them in mid-June, but it was too late in the season, so they are still too small to harvest enough to make the dish. I will try again next summer.

I love it when people pass down plants within families. This is a winter onion that my grandmother used to grow, and then my mother. I will try to keep it going for our boys.

I also like edibles in flower gardens. I planted this flat leaf chive in my white garden (from seed) and it has done well, is nice to cook with, and looks great.

Rather late in the season I got a whim to add a white sunflower to the white garden. I did a quick search online for seeds, ordered a packet, and this is what I got. It is small, about 4 feet tall, and quite cute.

It was the best year for peaches in 40 years on the West slope of Colorado and our crop, too, was impressive on our young tree. This photo was taken about a month ago, whereas all of the rest in this post were taken today.

We freeze a lot of produce, especially green beans, and this year, peaches. In other years we've had bumper crops of cauliflower and broccoli but this year wasn't great for them. Besides freezing, we make jams and pickles, and cook daily from the garden, allowing very little to go to waste. My husband is a huge gardener and helps put away and cook, too. Two of his specialties are growing garlic and using a winter hoop garden to grow spinach and early lettuce.

That is the good, the bad, and the ugly from our garden this year. If you have anything interesting to report about the trials and tribulations of your 2016 gardening season, please leave a comment.