U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8a. Sunset climate zone 5

Monday, November 9, 2009

Vegetable Garden: Post-Seasonal Notes

Picture May 2009

There are two locations for vegetables in my garden:
1. Little kitchen garden behind the garage:

Picture May 2009

2. Perennial/vegetable bed, so called Terrace Garden:

Picture June 2009

Terrace Garden. Picture June 2009

Main types of vegetables, how they performed last season and what I should remember for the next year (if I remember to look at this post in spring, ha-ha!):

Potatoes. The biggest potatoes were harvested from the plants which grew near the bean tower and the row of peas. Is it because leguminous plants have a special relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria Rhizobium? I had potatoes planted in different locations. It wasn't a planned planting. All planted potatoes were store-bought sprouted potatoes which we didn't eat in time. I put some on the raised bed, some between other vegetables, and just for fun, some in a big black nursery plastic container and a burlap sack. The worst performance - sack potatoes (probably, because I didn't add a lot of soil to encourage vine's growth). Good fingerling potatoes came from a raised bed.
A couple of giants can be seen on the picture below. They grew near the row of peas.

Fingerling Potatoes

Warning for myself: watch where you plant potatoes! This year I had quite a scare when I realized that I put some of them too close to tomatoes. This is a no-no combination.
Tomatoes. 22 plants.
Tomato harvest was very good! Extra tomatoes were given to the teachers in our boys' school, neighbors and friends. Some tomatoes were cut, placed in plastic bags and frozen for winter preparation of an egg dish ( Better Than Growing Vegetables ).

Sun gold was a champion. The plant grew in full sun, although half-blocked by the hops. In diameter, the plant was more than 12 feet (4 meters):

Measuring a Sun gold plant. Picture October 2009

Early Girl: This girl is never early in my garden. Taste is OK.

Black Krim (Black Krim. My Picture Of The Day): favorite this year.

Black Krim

The trick is to eat it before it gets soft and mushy. Its dark color makes it very difficult to guess when it's just right for eating, but the flavor is good.
Other types of tomatoes with the same issue - Black Zebra (picture below) and Green Zebra. I don't think I'll plant them again. They look funny and help to make a colorful tomato display, but we were not excited about their taste.

Black Zebra

Grushovka (picture below). Russian heirloom. Nice pear (or heart) shape, pink. Grusha means a pear in Russian, but I would say its shape reminds me more of a heart than a pear.


Grew in container. I wasn't crazy about its taste. I might try to plant it in a sunnier spot and open soil.


Paul Robson. Russian heirloom. It reminds me of Black Krim a lot. Not bad.
As often happens, one of the best performers was an unknown type. I got several plants from a school parent. She grew them in her greenhouse, but didn't know the name. Just tomatoes, she said. Well, those Just Tomatoes happened to be heavy producers. Here is the picture:

Unknown tomato

Spitz . Grew in a container. Interesting shape, not bad taste, very few fruit. Might try to grow it in soil next time.
Taxi. A lot of fruit, taste is OK.
Stupice (picture below) Small fruit, but sweet! Might try again next year in soil.


Beef (picture below). Good as always. Not as big as I had in Missouri with its hot hot summers, but reliable flavorful tomato.


Legend was a heavy producer.

Reminder: Buy new sturdy supports for tomatoes! Wire supports and metal stakes weren't able to hold heavily loaded plants. Tons of tomatoes were eaten by slugs.

Picture May 2009

Beans. Pat myself on the shoulder for planting in different times. It allowed us to eat them for three months.
Dill. I love dill. Did good spreading the seeds all over the vegetable and perennial garden. Boys like to eat it straight from the beds, and it looks good among flowers.

Cucumbers were not as abundant as in some previous years. Should I change locations?
Pumpkins. The biggest one, 64 pounds, we had in 2006. Then, they consistently went down in size and weight. I might try to throw several seeds on the side of our compost pile next year. Big or not, they make good decoration for Halloween.
Zucchini squash. Good when cooked on the grill.
Next year: Plant less zucchini or plant the same number but learn how to bake squash bread.
White cabbage. Good. Love it not only for the taste, but its look too. What beautiful shape and color! My boys love a salad which I make using cabbage, tomatoes and onions, plus some salt and olive oil or other oil. They call it Russian salad, although my husband calls it Russian slaw. It's easy to make and it's very healthy.

Lettuce. Plant earlier!

Next year:
- Plant more parsley, beets!
- Continue to inter plant vegetables with Nasturtiums , French Marigolds and Calendula.
Picture July 2009

All in all, it was a good season.
This is one of the meals made from our own ingredients: sockeye salmon caught in July in Alaska, potatoes and green beans:

P.S. I started this post a while ago. Then, I got carried away by all the lovely autumn colors and postponed this vegetable garden post. A recent comment prompted me to finish it, at last. That comment also helped me to realize that some of the fellow bloggers are more interested in my garden than in my travel and other non-garden posts.

I am not a great vegetable gardener, I don't do everything scientifically, but somehow I manage to feed our family with fresh homegrown veggies and share with other people too. Thank you for your past and future comments and please don't hesitate to jerk me back to the earth if I start flying too high and too long in the dreamy clouds of my trips.

P.S.P.S. When my husband read this post, he said he would rename it "Vegetable Garden: Menopause". How rude!

Copyright TatyanaS


  1. Lol, about what you husband's idea for a good post name is.
    You vegetable gardens look so neat and tidy. It looks like you had a good year for tomatoes, ETC
    Thanks for showing me that salmon, that inspired me to get the fish our of the freezer for dinner tonight!

  2. What a wonderful harvest and great record keeping! We have planted different varieties of tomatoes and once they were in the house...who knows what they were? Sounds like your husband is a comedian.
    I really like the idea of planting the dill and parsley out of the vegetable/herb garden and in the flower beds. Makes perfect sense. Your variety of potatoes is very nice--like the dark ones!

  3. Love your veggie gardens and harvest, Tatyana! We too love 'Sungold' tomatoes, and your fingerlings look like they're on steroids! Our winter squash and pumpkins love growing in our compost bins, so I recommend that technique. Zucchini bread is easy and delicious, and we love to add zucchini to our (vegetarian) spaghetti sauce to add body. If you'd like some recipes, head over to Poor Richard's Almanac and check them out via the search bar at top right. Thanks for the honest evaluation of yields and flavor here. It's a big help!

  4. Your vegetable gardens are lovely! I was going to say you don't talk much about them but you should as they are fantastic! The crops look good. P.S. I use concrete reinforcing wire made into 6 feet cages that are super sturdy tomato cages. Cheap and reliable and attractive.

  5. Love this post. Pictures and info!

  6. I thinks it's great that you are able to produce such nice veggies. My Mom had a mini garden that she always shared with whomever came over to her house. No one went away without a bag of tomatoes or potatoes or raspberries ...

  7. Hello Tatyana,

    Well you are very talented! You not only grow beautiful flowering plants, but great vegetables too! I like how your photos show how beautiful a vegetable garden can look.

  8.! Your veggie garden is so beautiful with those tall, elegant trees in the background. And bountiful harvests too. Love the photos of all that bounty! Even the plateful of veggies look so very tempting! Delicious post!

  9. You are an inspiration!

  10. Great garden! We had an atrocious tomato season, all the cukes died from the cold nights, but squash and peas were happy. I love all the posts by the way, travel, garden, food. To me they're all an interchangeable part of life.

    Did you save any seeds from Just Tomatoes?

  11. Leave it to Husbands to come up with a sarcastic comment:) Wow, Tatyana, what a great year you had in the vegetable garden! I'm especially impressed by all those lovely tomatoes--apparently, you didn't have the blight that we had here in Illinois. Isn't it typical that your best producer, though, is an unknown variety.

    This is a great idea to review how the vegetable garden produced this summer; I did a similar post, and like you, I hope I remember to look at it next spring:)

  12. I think I'm hungry now. You have a beautiful vegetable garden.

  13. Wow, what a great garden, I wish I had all that room! Thanks for the notations.....I'll add them to my list!

  14. What a wonderful veggie garden! So beautiful! I must admit that I'm jealous of your tomatoes. This was the worse year ever for tomatoes in the northeast. Everyone I know was hit by late blight. We only got a handful of good tomatoes from 12 plants. Well... there's always next year.

  15. Hi Tatyana

    I didn't realise you grew so many vegetables.

    Love the tomatoes. Those beef toms are lovely, at their best straight out from the sun.

  16. I enjoyed this post but I usually enjoy your posts and variety is the spice of life as they say.

  17. How great Tatyana, you have all kind of vegetables in your garden and you are feeding your family with fresh vegies, this is so, so nice, I have some too with lots of struggle about rabbits eating all my vegetables.
    María Cecilia

  18. OMG, dear hubby has grown all those tomatoes... definitely agree about the good tasting ones and the ones you weren't happy with.

    You have a really nice layout for your vegtable beds and like your selections. Our blogs are a great way to keep records for future years...what to do and what not to.

  19. Most fantastic! And you were way more successful than I with the tomatos. Of course, I grew really large, juicy horn worms!! LOL My mater plant actually looks really good right now, with green tomatos on it. Perhaps the hard freeze will hold off until we can enjoy some... Robin from The Flying Orchid

  20. Your vegetable garden is beautiful and obviously very productive! I love the look of those blue tomatoes. Black Krim is one of my favorites too -- I love the sugar/ acid content.

  21. Each time I visit your blog, I am completely amazed at the amount of garden you have. Do you have a professional gardener help you besides yourself? I don't know how you do it all! However, it is one of the healthiest and gorgeous gardens I have seen as I peruse the web. You amaze me with your talents and humble me as well. You had an amazing harvest this year and I loved the shape of some of your potatoes. LOL. Kudos to a great year of gardening! (And I'm glad I have finally emerged from the living dead so I can visit your blog again).

  22. Tatyana, what a beautiful vegetable garden, I am sure this post will come in handy next year and remind you of what you were happy with.
    I love Dill, we often get it at the flower shop and include it in our bouquets,

  23. the FIRST thing that popped out for me was the views of your gardens. I have never seen overall views of your is so nice! I like how you incorporated your veggie garden into the garden. I really want a veggie garden, but am limited on space to put that is nice to see how you did it

  24. Wow, you had great results in your garden this year. We had such a cold summer we did not do well at all . The only thing that really grew well was our potatoes, but nothing like your HUGE ones.
    Good luck next spring, when we all do it over again!

  25. Your vegetable garden is absolutely beautiful. I usually don't find them pleasing visually, but yours is an absolute exception. So artfully done, and a great harvest too. :)

  26. gee wiz that is some pretty impressive veggie gardening. I certainly have a lot of work to do in light of such a beautiful garden.

  27. Hi Tatyana~~ I always enjoy your blog, whatever the subject. The glimpses into your life are always interesting and enlightening. Your photos of the natural areas in your neck of the woods and even Hawaii, are FABULOUS--just as stunning as your gardens.

    I love the cabbage foliage, the color and leathery texture in perfect rosettes. Gorgeous. Your potato and tomato crops look extremely successful especially for someone who doesn't think she's a great vegetable gardener.

    Those round wire tomato cages are useless, at least for supporting tomatoes. However, I've found a cute way to use them. I turn them over, take the straight ends that are typically thrust into the ground and with pliers I bend them into curly cues. Then I'll use wire garden staples to secure the inverted round wire into the ground to support smaller plants. Did that make sense?

  28. Hi Tatyana,

    For someone who is not a "great vegetable gardener" you sure have amazing vegetable gardens and produce! It all looks so yummy. I really like your notes to yourself in your blog posts - it's really helpful to you and to us readers. Thanks for the great post!


  29. Being a vegetable gardener myself I really enjoyed this post. Your cabbages look fantastic, did you put netting over them to stop the butterflies from laying their eggs on them? My cabbages were destroyed by slugs this year. I like to try different varieties of tomatoes too, the Black Krim sound good.

  30. A mouth watering post Tatyana! Beautiful photos and your success at vegie growing looks impressive to me!

  31. Tatyana,

    Great posting, loved the photos and learned a bit about potatoes. We use a cheap recycled tomato cage. Meg has a lot of 4 foot fencing what they call 2 x 4 welded wire. I'm a carpenter and always have scraps of lumber and have a table saw, so I just recycle left overs as stakes. The welded wire we tie together 30 inch rings and then stake them in. One tomato got so tall I made 12 foot stakes.

  32. I would disagree with you and say you ARE a great vegetable gardene Tatyana! What a smorgasbord of veggies you grow. I did not know you had this many either. There is nothing like eating fresh from the garden. You are so smart to do this. Your last photo (of dinner) looks absolutely delicious. I am adding salmon to my grocery list now...
    PS The photo of your terrace garden in June is just beautiful.

  33. you have had a great year. I had to look twice at the date of this post. It to me is just amazing that in the winter here...others are having spring and summer there!
    That is a good looking crop ...congrats on a job well done

  34. Such great beauty and bounty, Tatyana! The salmon picture, which I am looking at right now, is making my mouth water. What a great load of lovely potatoes. Love the blue ones and the info on the tomatoes as well. We love Black Krim, but this was not a good tomato year for us.

  35. I think you are a tomato expert. So many different kinds. And keeping track of all of them. I too, love dill. Must plant more of it this year. Loved all the photos of the beds. It's fun seeing where you grow your veggies.

  36. A stunning post/photos, Tatyana, and beautiful gardens! I'm most impressed (love those fingerlings), especially since I have never grown any veggies, only herbs :( Menopause madness or not, a fruitful success!

  37. Hi Tatyana, we agree on your tomato comments... our best ones were the Sungold (which is always the best little tomato) and the Black Krim; Taxi just didn't do anything for us. Next year: fewer plants and more of the Krim!

  38. Looks like you had an abundant harvest form someone who isn't a veggie gardener -- just watch out when you get that figured out. It will be a real cornucopia! Great info on the tomato yields.

    This must be the time when people are thinking of tomato seeds for next year, as I just received a catalog for heritage seeds (mostly tomatoes) in the mail. Russia looks to be a top source for interesting tomatoes -- you included, of course, Tatyana.;^)

  39. Lovely vegetable garden! I enjoyed the part of potatoes the most, as I did not have a success with them this year, so it was interesting to read this success story.

    So many different tomatoes! How many plants did you grow, I imagine only a few of each type?

    Its lovely to see so many flowers together with vegetables - this is something I will also try next year.

  40. Wow! I don't think I have ever seen a vegetable garden that pretty. I love the one by the garage. Your tomatoes look very good! Beautiful landscaping :)

  41. Tatyana, you have done a really good job with the vegetable garden. What a great mother you are! I think I should start planting potatoes and tomatoes too.


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