Goodbye Summer

Tomorrow’s October, tonight’s a freeze… I took my garden out yesterday. The hardier herbs and carrots are still hanging on for a while but anything requiring a cover is out. It was a bit sad, but looked to be the last warm-ish day for a while, so I finally bit the bullet.

One of my mystery tomato plants from the greenhouse produced a LOT, and my sister grew a bunch of tomatoes that she doesn’t really want, so I am now flush with tomatoes and even though my own garden didn’t do as well as expected, I’ll be able to make all the usual fall favourites – tomato paste, tomato soup, and the piece de resistance, tomato pie. We’ve enjoyed several caprese and Greek salads over the last couple weeks as well.

Something that became painfully clear to me this summer, perhaps as a result of documenting my tomato growing, is that maybe I don’t know what I’m doing as much as I thought I did. Good advice is notoriously hard to come by on the internet, and gardening is not an immune topic. As I’ve said before what works for one person may not work for the next – but there’s likely a scientific reason for it. For example soil characteristics and hours of sunlight vary by geographic location, and very specific advice that could be tied to one of those factors may not yield the same results around the world. I decided that I’m sick of not knowing what it all means! As a contractor in my day job my work hours are definitely sporadic enough that I can handle another project, so I enrolled in the Prairie Horticulture Certificate at the University of Saskatchewan.

After just a couple weeks, I’ve already learned a TON. I’ve recognized several of my mistakes, and have some sneaking suspicions about other practices. As I learn and confirm the right and wrong way to grow plants (at its core: make sure you can get a lot of photosynthesis to happen!) I hope to make some posts on here about it, perhaps with my tail between my legs when necessary. For example, if you cut all the leaves off your plants in mid August to try and get them to “put energy into ripening the fruit” because I told you to – I’m really sorry. It’s common but incorrect advice. Also, compost is not fertilizer. Sorry again.

Alas. Onward and upward! We shall garden again next summer.

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