I’ve written several posts about my little garden in the past few months. (here, here and here) Gardens are not very exciting to those who’ve grown them all their lives, but they’re nothing short of miraculous to a city girl whose previous horticultural experiences consists of a window sill herb garden and a few pots of patio tomatoes. Every time I take a bag of frozen squash or okra from the freezer or open a jar of salsa or pickled okra, I think this isn’t the product of a giant faceless corporation. This is the result of hard work by Aunt Fay, Jerry, Dirk and even me.
Yes, even my scraggly little garden has been a success. I wrote about my crop of Anaheim and cayenne peppers along with my late crop of black-eyed peas. I also wrote about my tomatoes, all of which had been stolen well before they reached maturity by some tricky varmint I could never catch in the act. I thought my plants had done their thing for the season, and I was about to plow them under, or at least shovel them under, in preparation for next year.
Then Indian Summer came, and my tomato plants, misshapen and propped up as they were, began to bloom again. Hope springs eternal, so I left them alone and waited to see what would happen. The blooms set, and little tomatoes started to pop out. I guess the varmints were busy with acorns and other Fall offerings, because all but two of the tiny green balls stayed on the vine. When the nights turned cool, I covered the aged plants and uncovered them during the day so they could catch a few rays. And it finally happened – one of them ripened! It’s only about two inches in diameter, and it’s split in a couple of places, but it feels like success. The rest of the tomatoes have stayed green, and they haven’t grown much. I’ll probably strip them off in the next day or two and make a very small batch of green tomato relish or stir-fry them with some other veggies.
I’m excited by my success, and I’m planning for next year. In fact, I’ve already started. Dirk, the neighbor who gave me the monster zucchini earlier in the year, is also the garlic king of the neighborhood. If he has anything to do with it, there will never be any vampires in Rains County. He has supplied me with huge, flavorful cloves of garlic all season, and he gave me twenty bulbs to start a crop of my own. At his direction, I planted them last month, and all of them have come up. I’m expecting a great harvest in March.
I saved squash and zucchini seeds from gifts given to me by Dirk and Aunt Fay, and I have watermelon and cantaloupe seeds from Jerry, another neighbor. Jerry said he also has okra seeds if I need them. He told me to watch for onion sets in the stores in February or March, and I’ll try to get my tomatoes in the ground early, maybe before the squirrels run out of their winter stash of nuts and start shopping in the local gardens. Ronnie, our next-door-neighbor, cut down a tree that was shading part of my garden area, so now I have plenty of room to expand. I’m excited about my prospects. Others are looking forward to the Christmas season, but I’m looking past that to the growing season.
Wish me luck, and when things start to ripen, you might want to watch out if you see me walking down the street. I might be carrying a bag of zucchini I’m trying to give away!
- Return on Investment: Plant the Seeds and Watch Them Grow | by Linda Brendle (lifeaftercaregiving.wordpress.com)