I have started bringing in my garden. Although this summer has been dry and my plants have been stunted, if not downright killed, by the drought and heat, I still have quite a harvest of goodies to bring in from the vegetable garden.
My tomatoes are plentiful — not the monster plants and gargantuan haul of the last few years, mind you. And that’s not a bad thing. I estimate that one summer we had 150 pounds of tomatoes. That’s for just two people to share. I was giving away tomatoes all over the place. I had to let some of them rot on the vine because it was mid-October and they were still coming. But now I have enough plum tomatoes to have made a fair few sandwiches over the last weeks, and enough right now to make a nice fresh tomato pasta sauce. That is, if I knew how. (Any recipe suggestions welcome.)
I have a single green pepper, which in and of itself is a minor miracle. I have never once managed to grow a green pepper in all my years of trying. Most years, the plants die from poor soil or drought or too much heat or not enough sun or whatever. One year, I had gorgeous, green, leafy plants — but not one of them flowered or fruited. Not. One. Must have been an entire row of gay pepper plants. And then one year, the box of pepper plants I bought WERE bearing fruit — but they were not the sweet green peppers on the tag. They turned out to be red chili peppers, which I had no use for.
There are about a billion onions. My onions have been happy happy all summer. I have green onions that are so large they don’t even resemble green onions anymore, because we just couldn’t eat them fast enough. Those ones will become batches of jerk marinade. And I have 2 rows of yellow sweet cooking onions, which will be great to have over the next few months since we love our onions here.
My potato plants are dying, so they are almost ready to be dug up as well. Potatoes are periodically poking through the soil, and I have no idea how big the harvest will be, but you can bet your sweet bippy I’m going to bring them in before the rodents start stocking up for winter. I get tired of the half-eaten potatoes that we get when we leave the harvest too long. We have diva rodents here — they would rather sample from a buffet than just eat their fill of one potato and be done with it.
I also have parsley (which we don’t actually eat, and yet I inexplicably continue to plant it), some straggly basil plants (I used quite a bit of it for a batch of pesto earlier on) and thyme. Something will need cooking that requires these herbs, I hope. If not, then we have to keep our fingers crossed that the thyme survives the winter. I’ve used a bit of it roasting chicken, and I am becoming a fan.
I love having a vegetable garden. It feels like I am cheating because I get food for (almost) free, and I get to spend time outdoors when there are things to be done inside. But most of all, I love to grow things, to see them flower and fruit, and see how they sustain those around them. In summer and fall, we enjoy the garden’s bounty, and in winter and spring I leave the plants so their stems and seeds become food for the rabbits and the birds.
So this week, I think, I will start bringing in my vegetables, and maybe do some cooking to enjoy our good fortune.