It was a lousy tomato year for so many, so I feel extra fortunate that we ate as many as we could possibly eat fresh, we gave some away, and I cooked some in soups, sauces and chilis. We've still got a few ripening on the counter, I had one with my egg-white-and-parsley omelet for breakfast yesterday, and I still ended up with 20 pints of canned tomatoes for the upcoming winter. Twenty pints of organic canned tomatoes in a year when many lost their entire crops... that's gotta be worth something.
The one compost bin planting of three little squash plants produced seven full-size winter squash -- five buttercup and two butternut. I planted the started squash plants directly in the very-full compost bin. I layered the takings from all the other bins we have, and spring yard cleanup waste, with a little layer of garden soil and composted manure on the top. The compost beneath it continued to decay over the summer, and the squash plants thrived in the bin -- this is the second year I have done this, and it has been so successful that it will now be a regular feature of the garden. It is very space-saving, and the warmth and moisture and nutrition of the bin produces superior squash. I believe I could have got more, but I failed to notice that in one stretch of dry weather (Did we have any of those this year? Apparently we did.), the bin got terribly dried out. We ate one too soon -- it wasn't quite ripe -- and I have these four Buttercup squashes remaining for eating this autumn, and two more Butternut squash remaining to be picked up there in the bin.
The red onions you see there are less than half of my harvest. There are an even greater number of yellow onions. That's way more than enough onions to take us through the winter, assuming they keep, and I have no reason to think they won't. I'm trying to become even more liberal in my onion uses on a daily basis. I feel a wonderful French onion soup coming on, as soon as it turns cooler, and a big pan of caramelized onions, for starters.
Stay tuned for The Payoff - Part 3, tomorrow.