BOISE, Idaho — With this summer’s intense heat, severe drought, and relentless smoke, growing a garden was challenging for some of us. But as summer starts winding down, Idaho gardeners are harvesting a treasure of delicious and healthy produce from their gardens.
So, let's give them a shout out, and show us all some of their gardening successes. Because even in the most difficult years, you can grow it.
Tomatoes top the list as the most popular plant in the vegetable garden, but a lot of Idaho gardeners have commented about how sparse their tomato crop has been this summer, and how slow they’ve been to ripen.
Even so, Jacque McVey was able to harvest a bounty of juicy, red tomatoes from her garden. And Christen Fisher had a bumper crop of sweet cherry tomatoes. Mary Jones has been harvesting quite a variety of hybrid and heirloom tomatoes.
Cucumbers are a close second among popular home-grown vegetables. Dan Waring has a batch ready to be made into pickles, while Lizabeth Corson picked a couple of curvy Armenian cucumbers. Shari Kuzman had quite a batch of cukes herself.
Shari also picked a peck of peppers. We’re not sure if she’s going to pickle them. And Mary Jones filled a basket with fresh chilies and peppers from her garden. She also had quite a haul of crookneck squash, another very popular vegetable among Idaho gardeners.
Many of our fellow gardeners have been harvesting an assortment of fresh produce, like this bounty covering Leota Hill’s kitchen counter. Eve Powers shows us her a cornucopia of fresh beans, peas, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes and even fresh herbs. Leann Day’s kitchen counter looks like a farmer’s market with her assortment of freshly picked veggies. And this variety of tomatoes and cucumbers, as well as a watermelon, eggplant, and a bowl of delicious purple string beans came out of Linda Johnston’s garden.
And it looks like Gina Stafford is getting ready to make up a batch of pickles and salsa with her harvest.
And speaking of salsa, Jacque McVey has a batch ready to go for her next fiesta. Idaho gardeners are experts at preserving and canning a variety of their garden bounty, including herbs, like this jar of parsley that eve powers dried. Karen Clifford sliced a batch of fresh cherry tomatoes and sun dried them. And Melanie Lunney sliced up a huge batch of jalapeno peppers for dehydrating.
Idaho is also famous for its huge variety of delicious fruit. Zaheen Tariq is close to harvesting some delicious, peaches, plums, pears and grapes.
Not everything we grow is for food. Kyle Stoffle grows gourds. There are all kinds of interesting and colorful varieties that are often used in artwork.
Sometimes Mother Nature just likes to see how big and she can make things grow, like this huge and unusually-shaped mushroom basket tomato from Marcela Laird’s garden. And take a look at this huge cabbage and cauliflower that Scott and Colleen Frisbie grew at their cabin near Lowman. It looks like the warm summer days were good for mountain gardens.
Occasionally we get some strange-looking veggies, too. Like this huge eggplant with pointy little arms that Shauna Miller grew. Or this funny-looking tomato that Renlynne Pierce picked in her garden. It looks like Olaf from ‘Frozen.’ And Connie Yunger shared this picture of a couple of odd-shaped carrots that she dug up. Her husband calls them ‘Laurel and Hardy.’
It’s not unusual for tomato plants to grow quite tall. Traci Liew is standing next to one of hers that’s close to six feet high. But it’s hard to beat Clay Friend’s wall of tomatoes. They’re eight feet tall and still growing. He uses fence pipes and cross sticks to hold them up. Lots of our tomatoes might have been slow this year, but clay hasn’t slowed down. He’s still gardening at age 93.
Finally, this picture of Michelle Hought’s son enjoying a juicy, ripe home-grown cantaloupe captures the whole reason why so many of us love gardening – the satisfaction of developing a green thumb, and harvesting your own fresh-tasting, healthy food. And as always, you can grow it.
You can join the nearly 9,000 members of the KTVB You Can Grow It Facebook, so you can show us some of your gardening successes.
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