Sunday, October 3, 2010

Northern Exposure

No, I'm not going to write about the infamous TV show, Northern Exposure.  Instead, I want to talk about my dilemma with the adverse growing conditions I experience this summer.  After doing some investigation online, I found out that Akron, Ohio had it's 6th hottest summer this year.  We in addition are experiencing drought conditions.  It's no wonder why I had to water my garden almost every two days this summer.

Another challenge with our garden was its northerly location.  We sometimes only get six hours of sunshine per day.  I wanted to optimize our sun exposure so I moved our vegetable beds this spring.  I was grateful that I did because I got a better harvest this year.  My greatest success was with the grape tomatoes.  I collected about a handful of tomatoes each day and would put them in my salad.  The vines are still producing even with last night's overnight temperature of 45 degrees.  It wont be long before I will have to bring the green ones inside soon.  Check out Iowa State University Extension description on how to ripen tomatoes inside for future use.

Our garden produced numerous grape tomatoes this summer.
Unfortunately, I can't match a garden that faces south like my brother-in-law, Matt.  I envy his garden and have resigned myself to the fact I will never equal it unless we pack up, sell the house and buy a lot across the street.  How about a $200,000 tomato?  That's probably what it would cost me to get the bountiful harvest that south-facing gardeners get.

I still won't give up on my northern exposed garden.  Thankfully, I have convinced Michael that we need to rearrange our plans for a future patio attached to our deck.  I persuaded him to select the western side of the backyard for his charcoal grill.  I want to sway him so that I can use the ground that is under his current grill location.  My master plan is to put in two more garden beds that face east.  Hopefully the eastern side of the backyard encounters enough sun to support potatoes, carrots and swiss chard.  Now I know what it is like to be growing crops under northern exposure.

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