August 12, 2009

Payoff in the garden

Tim and I started digging in the yard in April. Using a pile of abandoned bricks we built several raised beds, filled them with dirt, stuck a few plants in the ground and waited. We watered and waited and watered and waited. The first thing we got to eat from the garden was chard. Chard is nice and all but my sights were set on bigger things like tomatoes and peppers — two things that are least likely to grow in our cold little yard. The lacinato kale (also known as dino or black) was next on the dinner plate. I loooooves me some kale — I can eat kale three nights a week and be very happy — but still I yearn for tomatoes. The one zucchini plant (both Tim and I know enough to go easy on the squashes) started off slowly and now produces enough zucchini that I can make a double batch of zucchini bread about once a week. The freezer is slowly filling up with zucchini bread bricks. We yanked out the first round of golden beets and replanted a tomato and a pepper — they much prefer living in the ground to living in a pot.

The string beans had a rough start. Each year I let a few beans dry out so I have seeds for the next year. The beans usually burst out of the ground robust and happy. This year was no different except that something was snacking on them as soon as leaves appeared. Luckily I had planted way too many seeds and some made it. The few plants that survived the hungry insects have started putting out large amounts of beans. Right now there’s a big bag of them in the fridge. Too bad I don’t know a tasty dessert involving string beans.

So far the biggest surprise of the garden has been the lemon cucumber. It was so small and sad and languished for several months. In mid July it took off and it’s now threatening all the plants around it. If only we had as many tomatoes as cucumbers we could eat tomato and cucumber salald every night. I’m still waiting for the motherlode of tomatoes; I could be waiting a long long time. As of this evening we’ve had one large tomato and about a dozen cherry tomatoes. This a a far cry from the overflowing bushel baskets in my dreams. I haven’t given up: some day my tomato fantasies will be fulfilled. Until then I’ll keep eating cucmbers, string beans and kale.

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