Veggie Garden Totals for 2023

>> Thursday, November 30, 2023

Well, I just froze the final bits from our little urban garden this year, so here's a bit of a recap:

I started soaking red pepper seeds around March 1st (should start sooner) and then planted them around March 12th. I started basil, cilantro, zinnias, and 2 varieties of tomatoes at the same time as well. And a few weeks after that, I started cucumbers, zucchini, and pumpkins (just for fun). Here's a pic of my flats on April 12th:

Zinnias, red peppers, cukes, and zukes getting some sun on the porch.

Zinnias, tomatoes, and herbs.

Red peppers and tomatoes.

Repotting on April 17th...

... then back under the grow lights.

May 20th: getting some plants in the ground from the garden center...

... while still moving my started-from-seed tomatoes in and out of the house every day.

May 22nd: getting my own tomatoes in the ground!

My neighbor added those 2 beds and told me to use the far one, so that's where the tomatoes are.

Radishes and more.

June 1st.


My "from seed" tomatoes.

And my 2nd and 3rd cucumber on June 1st!

June 16th: tomatoes going strong!

Our neighbor decided to let us use the final bed! So we threw random things
in it to try: more kinds of peppers, kohlrabi, eggplant, broccoli, etc.

June 22nd: our first cherry tomatoes of the year! (And some not-fully-pollinated zukes.)

Delivery to the neighbors for letting us use their yard!

June 29th.

Our "from seed" tomatoes going nuts on July 1st!
We tried the "Florida weave" method of holding them up, and it worked well!

July 4th.

Early July harvest.

Early July harvest.

July 14th. The kohlrabis had to be caged because the bunnies loved them.

July 14th harvest.

SEVEN varieties of tomatoes (and 2 eggplants) on July 25th.

July 30th: those purple tomatoes to the left were my favorite this year!

Aug 1st!

Our "from seed" tomatoes doing well within their "Florida weave."

Big ole' basil on Aug 1st.

Another 7 varities of tomatoes on Aug 1st.

Aug 23rd. We got back from our trip to Italy to find some "missed" cucumbers!...

...but the plants were still going strong.

There was a bad hail storm that came through while we were in Italy, and it broke about every bloom off all our tomato plants. So the rest of August was pretty crappy for harvest. Our totals took a big hit because of that storm.

Sept 9th.

Sept 20th.

Early Oct harvest.

Another early Oct harvest.

Oct 17th and still getting some goodies!

Oct 27th: pulled everything because it was going to freeze hard.

Some of our final goodies.

Seeing what tomatoes would ripen on the counter.

I had nearly 40 cherry tomatoes ripen a few weeks ago for a final mid-November caprese salad, but most of the bigger beefsteak tomatoes would go bad before they ripened. So this past weekend, I finally cleaned up the surviving bigger tomatoes (mostly hybrids with a few purples) to pop in the freezer for some winter chili:

And here's my tally log from the year:

Best performers include:
- 1,289 cherry tomatoes (between 2 plants)
- 950 yellow pear tomatoes (from 1 plant)
- 154 cucumbers
- 128 bush cherry tomatoes
- 111 hybrid tomatoes
- 55 early girl tomatoes
- 47 beefsteak tomatoes
- 84 total peppers (across 6 different varieties)

We harvested more cherry tomatoes in 2020, but we harvested a wider selection of varieties this year (and there was that hail storm in August that was a real hit to our totals).

I don't think I've posted a "recap" on the garden like this since 2020, but here are the recaps I can find: the first half of 2020 (as we built new beds in our neighbor's yard), the final 2020 totals, 2017, 2016, 2015, and our first year in 2014.


Semi-Wordless Wednesday: Cold Commuter Ride

>> Wednesday, November 29, 2023

I'm still biking to class 2 days/week! That makes it 19 out of my last 21 classes, with the 2 days I drove being the day I raced my "made up" TC 10 Mile and didn't feel like doing any more physical activity, as well as the day we left for a short Chicago trip.

Monday's ride was COLD: 16 degrees and breezy. That makes it my 2nd coldest ride ever, just behind our 11 degree test ride the day before my only fat bike race, and just ahead of an 18 degree ride in memory of my friend Aaron from 2 years ago. Honestly, it's easier to ride in colder weather when COMMUTING vs when TRAINING.

Velcro bands to keep my pants from getting caught in the chain,
and 2 pairs of DENSE socks with calf sleeves for warmth.

Really, not much on top: just a hat, and then a long-sleeve shirt,
short sleeve bike jersey, and a hoodie. (And backpack and reflective vest.)

Ready to head home with headlight and blinky tail light.

16 degrees as I left class.

Just a SLIGHT bit of frozen snow from a snowplow from our Saturday night snow
(that hasn't had a chance to fully melt because it's been frigid these last few days!).

Nothing really got too cold on the way home! There's a big difference in windchill when lumbering along on a mountain bike at 13 mph vs trying to go fast on a road/tri bike at 21 mph.

It's going to be nicer today again. And MAYBE nice enough to get out for a training ride on Thursday, but I'll probably just hit the training. TBD.


Lazy Long Thanksgiving Weekend

>> Monday, November 27, 2023

On Thanksgiving, we spent the entire day at my sister-in-laws:

Friday we cut down a Christmas tree and started decorating:

And Saturday started with our yearly memorial bike ride in memory of my college friend Aaron (see the last 3 years here: 2022, 2021, and 2020)...

... and then we had Thanksgiving with my family for the rest of Saturday:

My boys made pumpkin pie and I made 2 French silk pies for my Dad.

And through all of that, I made it a point to NOT try to fit in all my workouts. I recently "came back" from some over-training issues, and I didn't need to try to push when it was good to just enjoy the family time and relax a little.

So I did a short ride on Saturday with Alex and Jamey in memory of Aaron, but it wasn't a "real" ride: just an easy cruise around town at 15 mph. And I skipped Thursday's bike workout as well (and shortened my upper body workout). And I also skipped my bigger Saturday upper body day. So here's Thur-Sun the last 2 weeks, with the 16-19th being pretty normal (with an extra [short] swim just because) and then the 23-26th being extra small:

Nice to back off for a few days... but now I hope to get back to normal this week. I have a lot of school and personal (Christmas-related) things to be doing, so hopefully I can still get in some good workouts!



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