It’s mid-July and I can’t believe I’m writing this, but I’ve only had to use the hose to water the garden about half a dozen times. Unheard of! So much rain.
That said, my tomatoes aren’t doing too well this year. I think I’m maxing out at about 14! Eggplants are rolling in, though they’re not nearly the size of any I’ve ever bought. Carrots look fine, basil has made us some robust pesto. But the peppers!
Back in the depths of winter and before the little baby came, I told myself “No garden this year. Ain’t nobody got time for that.”
But those first spring days came and I stared at the garden boxes. And the baby was sleeping well. And the monastery had their yearly plant sale and…
Of course, it’s been an epic battle with the birds this year, one I’m afraid they are winning. They managed to gobble up everything I planted as seed directly in the ground. And they’ve lopped off the above-ground carrot leaves. I think we actually have more birds this year than ever, and I’m not sure whether a bird feeder would distract them or entice more!
The other day, as I monitored “recess” at our little playschool (on the playground belonging to a Catholic order), one of the nuns called me aside. In a thick European accent, she asked me if I liked figs. When I replied in the affirmative (thinking fondly of my favorite form….fig newtons), she proceeded to fill my arms with cuttings from her many mature fig trees.
Apparently, if I keep them in a bit of dirt for the winter, and plant them where I want them in the spring, I’ll have fig trees? I repeated her instructions back to her, and got nods and more accented affirmation.
I did a little research online, and was unable to find a consistent answer on what to do with these branches. So I hastily selected the method most in line with what this wise and experienced gardener-nun had outlined, and we planted those sticks.
They look kind of silly poking out of the garden box, don’t they? Well, don’t tell me if I’ve done it all wrong, since I probably won’t have the energy to move them (and I certainly am not storing them in the fridge, as some websites suggested). Let’s just forget about them, and be excited if something is ready for a real planting in the spring. Oh, but it is hard to forget about fig jam and goat cheese on a cracker.
Our garden was not so productive this summer after the real heat hit, and I admit I had some serious tomato envy when I visited other people’s yards. I’m happy to report that cooler temps and a neat little trick with green-tomatoes-in-a-paper-bag (Thanks for the tip, Rachel!) has yielded enough of a harvest to make a couple of large batches of SouleMama’s delicious Carrot Tomato Soup.
And our carrots have been a surprisingly fun harvest as well! Short, fat, gnarly…not so yummy raw (a little bitter, perhaps?) but plentiful enough to add to many soup pots…tomato…butternut squash…split pea.
Speaking of gardening….should I pull everything up this weekend and prepare the beds for winter, or wait and see what Frankenstorm will take care of for me? Hmmm, the latter sounds more tempting!
…or should I say, zucchini?
Our garden in plodding along. A snap pea here, a fistful of basil there. The little green tomatoes growing microscopically each day (please turn red!). But this giant beauty was a real victory. We had half of it in a cold panzanella salad, and the second half shredded and baked as zucchini tots.
Here’s hoping for more produce in the next few weeks.