Published on 09/07/00

How Did Your Garden Grow This Summer?

Now that summer vegetable gardening is over, you might do well to look back and assess what was good and not so good this year.

Was that first tomato really worth all of the sweat, toil, bug-picking, weed pulling, watering, caring? Or was it all you had anticipated: luscious color, fully ripe, slightly acidic taste with that never-to-be-forgotten aroma.

If it was all you wanted it to be, can you remember the name of the cultivar you planted? If you can't, it might just drive you crazy over the winter. If you can, write it down and get it for next year.

Make a List

Did you eat the tiny little "green grape" tomatoes or others you wished you'd planted last year? Get it in the book to plant next season.

What about the pepper? Did you get it hot enough, or do you need to kick that capsaicin level up three or four notches for next season? Did they make you some beautiful pepper sauce for those greens in the fall? So versatile and so flavorful, if you can stand the heat.

Did the squash have any flavor or did you have to put in extra onions to eat it? Put in your book for next year that you will look at growing three or four of the newer varieties -- both yellows and zucchinis -- and mixing them when cooking.

Pick Your Potatoes

Were the potatoes just reds and whites? Yukon Gold and German Fingerlings, along with the blue ones, add zip to your potato salads and creamed or mashed potatoes.

Never had purple mashed potatoes? Because Daddy's and Mother's alma mater has purple and gold colors, my children are accustomed to purple and gold food, including potato salad. It's not as shocking as green grits on St. Patrick's day.

Improve your garden, enliven you eating habits, change those drab food colors. And who knows -- maybe the kids will eat Brussels sprouts.

Wayne McLaurin is a professor emeritus of horticulture with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.