and I have a garden this year. First one in about five summers,
and we’re pretty happy with it.
the most part.
ok, that was kind of a strange twist. One of those writing tricks
to suggest that some flip of perspective is on the way, and to
a degree, yeah. A flip of perspective is on the way. But having
revealed that, honestly, we are really happy about the garden.
Actually, we’re thrilled with it.
year we attempted some things we haven’t tried in years or had
much success with, such as carrots and beets. New efforts include
onions and butternut squash. Old favorites like eggplant and varieties
of peppers have a place. It’s pretty cool.
there are problems.
instance, I always have difficulty with the growing cycles. We
have never planted seeds ahead of time, and usually end up like
most home gardeners… buying an assortment of plants and perhaps
a few seed packets, then rushing get things in the ground before
Memorial Day. And that means most of the plants are still at least
a month—and more likely 45 to 60 days—away from providing anything
brings about an early sensation where it always seems like the
entire garden is moving and developing in a way where everything
will be ready to pick on the exact same day. We’re now two months
separated from the major planting week. While showing progress,
the eggplants won’t be ready until August and the tomatoes are
all over the place on the vines but none are turning red.
you are likely quite aware though, that theory isn’t quite right.
At all. Cucumbers, zucchini, and summer squash have all been arriving
(and arriving in plentiful numbers). Peppers—green bell, jalapeno
and banana—have been enjoyed and continue to grow. Items like
parsley and basil are flourishing.
even though some items still seem like distant dreams, what I’ve
arrived at is that it might be the mixture of results that proves
the most frustrating.
the first zucchini is ready, you get a bit giddy. “Hey, look,
first veggies have arrived!” is the thought. You slice it up,
maybe place it on the grill, and savor the delicious treat. And
then, a day or two later…
make some zucchini bread. Delicious. Great stuff. More zucchini
arriving though, so you prepare it and add it to a dish with some
pasta… bring some in to work… make more zucchini bread… get mad
when a couple grow larger than you expected because you left them
an extra day or two while you used the zucchini still in the kitchen…
leave a basket at a neighbor’s front door… roast it, grill it,
fry it, add it to salads and dips… freeze some zucchini bread…
and, with your limits of recipes and freezer space exhausted,
the zucchini is STILL coming.
the time the tomatoes arrive, you’re excited just to be picking
something other than five zucchinis and countless cucumbers every
day. Ahh, but the tomatoes…
anyone ever comes close to a perfect harvest of tomatoes? Because
for me, when they are ready it seems like the chipmunks find them
before I do. And the ground of my garden is decorated by tomatoes
that fell off the branches… though they sure looked a day or two
(at least) away from ready when I saw them last night.
somewhat suddenly, I find myself facing the realization that I’m
complaining about an abundance of fresh vegetables. And let’s
face it… there are few culinary experiences as rewarding as having
something on a plate and served within minutes of having picked
it. (I often debate setting up my grill next to the garden. Knife,
bowl, just a touch of olive oil and pepper and salt… pick, slice,
grill, serve, pretty much in a single motion.)
should point out, I’m one of those crazy people that enjoys watering
the garden each night. (Yes, I have been known to talk to the
plants on occasion.) It’s a strange thing, the peace and satisfaction
that comes from some time walking around and checking things out
a theory that states the beginnings of true civilization are defined
by the ability of a community to feed itself. And, more specifically,
the idea is based on when only a portion of the group is needed
to produce the food that feeds the whole. When everyone doesn’t
have to be a hunter or gatherer, it means they can focus on other
occupations and specialties. Let’s move away from the theory and
history, stretch that idea a bit, and use it to look specifically
at our garden…
been trying new recipes this year and have been enjoying and learning
new ways to create meals out of our garden. (Tonight’s effort
includes a beet salad with balsamic vinegar and blue cheese involved
that we’ve been excited about trying for weeks.) Terry has been
baking zucchini bread not only for us, but for our friends as
well. Bags have been filled with veggies and handed off, picked
that morning in our garden and served up at multiple tables that
and I have been exploring, enjoying and sharing the results of
our garden. And I don’t think it’s a stretch to thing that we’ve
been doing that all on levels we’ve never attempted before.
of mine and I love to swap stories about breaking bread. While
we both love bread, it’s actually the sharing of a meal that creates
the excitement and pulls on the heartstrings. In ways I never
really considered in previous seasons, our garden takes that thought
to more places than I really could anticipate.
and I have a weird sense of humor about the garden. Goes like
this: spend a thousand dollars or more to plant it, harvest and
enjoy $27.75 worth of produce. It’s part of that everything arriving
on August 10th mentality, where the first four weeks of watering
and care resulting in nothing picked leads you to begin wondering
what you could possibly do when it’s all ready over a handful
a few moments though, I’m going to head outside. I’ve got some
yardwork to do, and that will take me into the garden. Terry brought
two bags of vegetables into work with her… zucchini, summer squash,
peppers and cucumbers. Later tonight, Terry and I will be using
some items out of the garden for our dinner. And I’ll close out
the day checking on the plants and offering up some water for
the entire group.
be told, it’s a pretty sweet deal. (Anyone need some zucchini