Next Year

We’re nearing the end of the growing season. A couple rows of lettuce and cilantro that I recently added are racing the first frost. The pepper plants and tomatillo are also racing to get their fruit matured before they die. My tomatoes are finally producing nicely. I picked a bowlful tonight to add to pesto. My heirloom varieties have so much flavor.

But, for the most part, things have run their course. It’s time to reflect on what might make it into next year’s garden.

This is my problem: there are always more plants that I’d like to grow than will fit in my little garden. Factor out all the space that doesn’t quite get full sun because of all the big trees around and there’s very little room left. As it is, I push it. A lot.

Two years ago I ended up with an out-of-control mass of tomatoes:

So I scaled them back and planted them where they can flop against the fence at the edge of the yard. Still a little out of control. This year it is a mass of lima beans that is taking over the entire garden, blocking the sun for the tomatoes, kohlrabi, and cilantro:

There’s really not space for them there. But they taste good. And they’re pretty. A couple weekends ago they were a great addition to a ham and garden vegetable soup I created.

So where can they go? I’m eyeing the cucumbers and their spot behind the shed. The cucumbers have grown well there, but they are further down my list of vegetables I want to eat. Or there’s the laundry line. John’s allergies make it no fun to hang laundry outside to dry. Maybe the line could be a good bean trellis.

I’m also looking at the fact that it’s September and the tomatillos are just now blooming and the peppers are only just starting to get ripe. Next year I’d love to find a tiny bit of greenhouse space and get them and the tomatoes going sooner.

On the plus side, this is the first year I’ve successfully managed an early round of plants, the main planting, and now a few things for a late harvest.

And one plant that will definitely remain next year are marigolds. Sure, they’re pretty pedestrian, they smell funny, and they were the boring go-to flower for every one of my elementary school teachers they wanted a Mother’s Day gift project. But, they’re happy in my garden.  They added a little color way back at the beginning of the spring and every year now they’ve exploded at the end of the summer when other things are starting to look a little sad. They’re not too picky, they’re able to make it through a lot of different weather, and they look good doing it.

I’m also thinking about what art to add next year. On the list right now are adding mosaic to the pedestal of one of this year’s mosaic projects and maybe adding some dangly tree jewelry to the magnolia tree in the back yard (kind of like the ones I saw in Germany).

Oh, and as a postscript to my previous post, I managed to trap a raccoon in our basement last Thursday. I could hear it twittering in the trap just a foot or two below the floor. I got some help releasing it back into the wild. Hopefully I’ll never see it again.

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