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End of Season Reflections from the New Hampshire Trial Garden

Tags: Deke Jackson, Growing Techniques, Harvesting, Summer garden, trial garden, urban gardening

the author's kids at the farmer's market
Allowing my kids to sell leftover veggies at the farmer’s market is a great way to “pay” them for spending so much of their summer vacation helping in the garden.

Bonnie Plants Field Representative and Trial Garden Manager Deke Jackson looks back on a busy season at Bonnie’s New Hampshire Trial Garden.

The nights and days are starting to get much cooler, signaling the end of the growing season. This has not been the best of years for tomato growing in the Northeast. The fruit was slow to ripen at first, then ripened all at once. On the plus side, fruit size was large, thanks to the frequent rains, and the beefsteak-type plants were very productive (to my surprise!) Most plants have averaged about 20 pounds of fruit each.

The eggplants have had a great season, as they set fruit better when it’s cooler. Typically I get a large early crop of eggplants, then a smaller follow-up crop in late summer. This year, though, the plants seemed to keep producing all summer.

The peppers did well, too. The bell peppers have been especially large and plentiful, and are such a beautiful mixture of reds, greens, orange, and yellows. My children, Connor and Chloe, have been busy every Saturday morning selling extra peppers (both hot and sweet) at the local farmer’s market. Letting them do that is my way of thanking, and “paying,” them for all their hard work during the summer.

This coming month will be a busy one. I’ll bring in the final harvests, then do the end-of-season clean-up. After that, I’ll sit down to summarize the results from each plant and compile my recommendations for the future.

At the end of the season I like to slow down and reflect on all the good things the garden does. This year it not only supported a community of bees, mice, and a momma bird, but it also brought together friends and family through the sharing of the harvest bounty. What’s more, it helped support the larger community through donations to the food bank. It’s amazing what a garden of any size can add to one’s life!

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