To say I've been remiss in posting here on the community garden blog would be an understatement. So, in the immortal words of Inigo Montoya (from "The Princess Bride"), let's sum up. This summer could be summed up in one word: tomatoes. As a friend pointed out, there always seems to be a star in the garden each season and, for me, this year it was the tomatoes. They were amazing. I had at least 50 from the three seedlings I picked up from Tomatomania. The superstars were the Purple Russian (in shear abundance) and the Rose (in shear beauty). The Pineapple was also delicious. The fact we had so many amazing tomatoes lessened the heartbreak when other things didn't do so well. Like the melons. Not sure why, but the Ali Baba watermelon showed promise and then petered out at the end, with the small melons that started growing either dying or splitting. I have been enjoying strawberries (a few a week; the seedlings are still young) and the peppers and roses have stayed consistent.
As you may recall, one of the reasons last summer's crop was a disappointment was the marauding squirrel(s) that attacked each and every thing I was growing just as it became ready to harvest. This year, the squirrels seemed to stay away, helped I believe by the stuffed crows my friend gave me last year as decoys (one of which is looking over the strawberries in the photo on the left). I would move them around the garden to whatever was about to ripen and the squirrels stayed away -- until it came to the corn. Yet again, each cob was destroyed the minute it was ready to be harvested. Evidently, fresh corn on the cob is worth the possibility of meeting an imminent end by crow and the others are not.
Now that it is fall, most of the tomatoes have been pulled out -- I have one seedling started by a branch taken from either the Rose or Pineapple (at a certain point you couldn't tell which was which plant-wise) still going -- and it's time to start the fall garden. The big surprise as I did the big clean-out to get the garden ready was to find some olives growing on the five-year-old Frantoio olive tree (see top photo -- if you look close you can see them). I have two olive trees -- a Mission (which is self pollinating and has had olive crops before, although not for a couple years) and the Frantoio (which is not self pollinating and has never grown an actual olive). Essentially, the bees have been doing their job (yea bees!). So, here's to surprises in the garden -- always a nice way to start a new season.