Gardening remains one of my favorite analog distractions from digital chores–even if it doesn’t necessarily yield as much food to eat as I’d hoped. Which is good, since this was yet another year that saw my kitchen garden underperform in some weird ways.
(For your reference: my 2021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011 gardening grades.)
I take no credit for this addition to the list: My wife bought a wheeled planter and some plants for it, resulting in a reasonably steady supply of bell and jalapeno peppers over the summer (plus an egglant or two that I’m not going to try to factor into this report card).
Once again, this leafy green’s performance in the spring was not matched in the fall, when some heavy rains in September washed out promising rows of seedlings. And unlike last year, they didn’t mount any late-fall comeback. Should I have waited another few weeks to try that second set of seeds? Maybe.
Parsley was its reliable self, but I didn’t get enough basil to make any pesto sauce, which makes me sad. My attempt to grow rosemary from seed went nowhere; fortunately, the tiny rosemary shrub my wife put in that planter did much better. And mint, despite its reputation for weed-like growth, was only a springtime contender.
This was yet another year in which lettuce did not grow nearly as well as it did in 2017, but it was still nice to be able to step outside in the spring and collect some leaves to add to a sandwich. The important thing to remember: Lettuce is so much cheaper when purchased in seed form.
See my above comments about lettuce, then add the disappointment of seeing a late-summer crop get washed out when I’ve been able to make that work in previous years.
I didn’t expect to get so many cherry tomatoes this year–because I didn’t plant them and instead was surprised by how many grew from seeds left from last year’s volunteer plants. I had worse luck with the plants I bought at my farmers’ market, which yielded only a few handfuls of tomatoes for me to enjoy in sandwiches and sauces.
This poor grade mainly reflects my own inattentive care, which left too many green beans on the vine for too long. I’m blaming a renewal of work travel that was not a factor for the first half of 2021.