Sunday, May 23, 2010

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary, How Does Your Garden Grow?

First of all, I've gotta defend myself -- I'm probably the least contrary person I know! I'm pretty adaptable and agreeable, and like to think that I'm haymish (Yiddish = "warm and welcoming").

I'm also not a horticulturist or landscaper by any means, but I always have a backyard garden. Last year's didn't do very well, for inexplicable and anomalous reasons, but I'm hoping for better results this time. I'll also have a larger plot, thanks to the beneficence of Project Grow and its community gardens, so that will double my chances of success!

I always grow tomatoes and basil -- unlike zucchini, you can never have too many or too much of either one of these. If I find I have an abundance of the former, I roast them and puree them into sauce to put in the freezer. It also takes a fair amount of the latter to make pesto, which also finds its way to cold storage for the winter. And that's not even counting the multiple uses for each entity during the summer itself -- salads, basil vinaigrette, pizza, pasta, sandwiches, you name it!

This year, Jeremy and I picked out two varieties of tomato: sweet cherry tomatoes

and beefsteak tomatoes whose tags promise bounty weighing 2 pounds each, which will be tempting to the woodchucks who like to visit my backyard every year and steal from me even though the tomatoes are too big for them to carry and they end up dropping them after ruining them .... take a deep breath, now! Stop carrying that grudge!

(Yes, by the way, I'm aware that my babies look the same at this point, with no distinguishing red fruits to make them appear like fraternal rather than identical octuplets ....)

Jeremy also asked if we could grow peas, which -- along with corn and carrots -- are about the only vegetable he actually enjoys. He's a good eater, and even when he was little he proudly pronounced that spinach souffle was his favorite food. But those three are the only ones I can guarantee he'll eat. So I said, "Sure!" even before he pointed out how much I like to shuck peas. We both win -- good wholesome food, and some pre-cooking entertainment for lil' ol' me.

And I do love to shuck peas, although most people would find it a waste of time and brain function. I find it very relaxing, just like pitting cherries in July when the tart varieties that Michigan specializes in growing will appear. Turn on some tunes, sit in the sun and pretend I don't live my life under fluorescent lights in an office, and peel those pods off those peas! I'd show you their picture, but they look fairly pitiful right now. Let's let them buff up a bit, shall we? But no steroids -- I only grow organic gardens.

So, that's it for the tour. You've met the cast, now let's see how this production plays out ....

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Abby said...

I've been just way too busy these last few years for my own garden, but I plan for that to change next year when I'm no longer working full-time. Can't wait for my raised beds! I want lots and lots of tomatoes to can!

Diane {} said...

I miss home grown beefsteak tomatoes, grew up with a very large garden in NJ and those were always my favorite, and yes-they get huge!

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