I have the best of intentions for my garden each year. Each year, I tell myself that I will make mental notes of which tomato plant went where, and how productive it was (or wasn't). I buy twine to string up pumpkins and squash so that I can make better use of vertical space. I buy stakes at end-of-season sales so I'll have them the following year when all my tomatoes are starting to sag under the weight of their fruit. And I always think "I'm going to do a winter garden this year."
I was slightly more organized this year than last. At least I kept the tomato tags near each plant, even if they were almost immediately buried in piles of branches, soil, and strawberry trailers. And some of the tomatoes are a cinch to identify: Lemon Boy (big and yellow), Yellow Pear (pear shaped and yellow), Sungold Cherry Tomato (cherry tomato shaped and yellow), Roma (cylinder shaped paste tomato), Tigerella (gorgeous yellow and red stripes). Notice a theme? The rest are red and strangely alliterative: Bonne's Best, Big Boy, Better Boy.
The Tigerellas are such heavy producers it'd be hard not to notice them. Each branch holds between six to twelve tomatoes, all of similar size and shape. Each plant holds about ten to twelve branches. And the plant itself grows straight up with little malformation. They stop everyone who walks by them, particularly since I stripped their leaves off (to hasten ripening) and almost to a person the same comment is made "Wow, look at those tomatoes!" The fruit is juicy without being drippy, and holds up well in terms of taste and meal potential: good for stuffing (we favour pesto or tarragoned goat cheese), sandwiches (sliced with cheddar and mint leaves), or roasted pasta sauces.
The Sungold is our favourite in the cherry tomato department: sweet and tangy and each bite a perfect golden pop. We might change our minds when the Yellow Pear ripens, but it seems determined to come in on its own
damn sweet time. I have a few heritage standard tomatoes but I'm not impressed with them, either in yield or taste. One (Old Tyme Tasty) has done nothing but produce twisted mutant lumps with bands of rough brown striping while the other (Russian Heritage) has struggled to produce anything at all. I always hold out most hope for these weird heritage varieties, and the Tigerellas were the eye-wideningest surprise of all.
I grew a number of hot chilies this year, because we like them, but they aren't easy to grow in this seacoast climate. They need a hot place out of the wind or they won't fruit well. This year I put them in my cold frame, in pots of compost, although next year they'll need larger pots, I think. I tried Mucho Natcho Jalapeno (not very hot, chintzy fruiter), Super Chili (hot and productive), and Long Red Slim (easily the best, heavy fruiter but really really hot). I cut up a Long Red Slim for dinner tonight, popped a small chunk in my mouth, and eventually had to resort to an ice cube to stop the burning on my lips - and I am no novice in the Eating Hot Food department. Afterwards I washed and washed and washed my hands, but as I was checking FDPG's mouth at bedtime for mysterious bleeding feelings (don't ask) she suddenly squawked "You didn't wash your hands very well, I have a burning sensation on my mouth - RIGHT HERE!" Then she favoured me with an ever so charming glare. So now I am mincing around, worried for my eyes, or my nose, or some other body part, worrying that I might forget in the night and scratch somewhere...
As for the fruit trees, the apple tree that I massacred last fall has done so well that I might very well do a repeat performance on it this fall. We've identified it too (why do I say "we" when I'm the only one gardening, I wonder?): it's a MacIntosh. I never liked MacIntosh as a kid so I was surprised to love this apple. It's sweet, tart, and crispy. The other existing tree on this property is a Granny Smith, and while I didn't quite scalp it, it too is covered with fruit. I'm going to have to give it a new look though; the former owner favoured a look known as The Pollard, which tends to produce a distressing amount of water shoots. I added a Summer Red, a Gravenstein, and a Cox's Orange Pippin to the mix. They are still young trees: the two that were here when we bought the place must be close to 60 years old.
The plum I put in last year is a multi-graft and two of the grafts fruited: the Victoria and the Stanley. The other - Opal - isn't doing much except for sprouting madly, so who knows where that will end up. The Victoria enchanted all of us. The plums were egg shaped, meltingly soft and plump and so sweet. The plum tree I put in this spring - a French plum - didn't fruit but looks good. The peach - a Frost peach - did really well, considering it looked like it was in a swamp for a few months there this spring. I seem to have an area of the garden that was either the septic field or just has inordinately clayey soil, because the drainage there is horrible. I dug a French drain in the end. Then I filled the French drain with pinecones, winecorks, and rocks, because the pipes I had intended to put in were beyond my budget (after I'd bought the peach, the pears, the blueberries, and the raspberries, ahem).
And now, what with the weather changing, I feel slightly all atwitter. I'm not ready for the season to end just yet. I want more days of hot weather, more garden time, more backyard-after-dinner swinging and racing around, more wanders on sunny beaches. I want to watch Toffee fly across the yard with the wind in his tail, and I want to watch the raspberries ripen just a bit more. But the kids are champing at the bit for new trails to follow in their school work. FDPG has French, Japanese, and Latin planned for her fall itinerary, in between all her reading, Max has gladdened all our hearts by developing an impressively positive responsibility towards his math, and Dominic's reading has suddenly taken off (thank you, O great God of ExplodetheCode!).
I always feel like this at the end of summer. Funny, really.