The Italian blood on both sides of our family means we all enjoy pesto, and this year we had a bountiful basil crop for the first time. Besides using it for various recipes, we made 27 batches of pesto to eat and freeze. We finally got a bit weary of it when the plants were still bearing at Halloween, but it will be a nice treat to find it in the freezer all winter.
Another notable garden success of 2011 was our first season of asparagus. Our small patch yielded a pound of asparagus a week for 16 weeks. At the other end of the vegetable alphabet stands the zucchini, of which we harvested 85 over a four month period this year. Unbelievably, we never had a chance to try all the zucchini recipes we have, although we did try many new ones. The girls discovered they like zucchini cut into thick spears, grilled outside, and dipped in ketchup like french fries.
Cherry tomatoes fed us almost daily from the beginning of August through our Thanksgiving salad. Ann's first experiment at growing three different varieties of dried soup beans was a resounding success (black turtle, white European Soldier and scarlet runners) so we should have enough to feed us through the winter. Carrots, salad greens, pumpkins, green peppers, winter squash, green beans, potatoes, tomatoes, raspberries, strawberries, and plums all performed somewhere in the range from mildly to very well. We even scored two small bunches of grapes, five apricots, and 20 tangerines from our youngest vines/trees. We did a rough estimate and it looks like our produce saved us more than $700 at the farmers' market, and that's not counting the honey we harvested and the hundreds of eggs laid by our chickens.
Lest you think our thumbs are perfectly green however, we should note that our onions, garlic, broccoli, eggplant, and yellow squash failed miserably. There's always something to improve upon, right? For now, though, we're thankful the heavy workload is over for the year and we're appreciating a slower season in the garden.