When my children were born I quickly became aware that they owned me and all of my time. I was lost in the land of colic, diapers, large contraptions to swing or bounce them in, and endless mounds of laundry.
I had no idea that our summer garden, and now the fall one which we are just planing, would have the same affect on my time.
The toys have changed from the days of babies. Now, I find myself buried up to my elbows in canning supplies. I spend my slow moments (which means I am too tired to move) hunting online for used chest freezers in order to store my bounty.
So what did we grow successfully?
Yellow and Zucchini squash. I think we have harvested a dump truck load from the garden. I’ve learned to cook with it in a multitude of ways, and I cannot feed the kids without them inspecting it for the tell tale yellow or green hue.
I’ve made a note in my garden journal for next year. It reads….One row of both of these squashes, and absolutely no more! I know that rice and corn feeds the multitudes of the hungry on this planet. If anyone ever wants to add diversity to this line up, they should plant summer squash. It is the veggie that just keeps on giving. Even I am sick of seeing it. I got so tired of the kids objecting to its presence on the dinner table that I broke down and fried it. Frying is messy business, but they gobbled it down especially when I served it with a mock Zaxby’s sauce. I jotted that down in my garden journal, too.
My freezer runneth over with frozen squash.
On the other hand I’ll be adding more rows of Butternut Squash, next year. This winter squash is really grown in the summer, but gets its name from its ability to “winter” over and be available for months without any kind of preserving. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate this crooked tan squash. It is like the angel of the vegetable world. Not only does it just sit around patiently waiting for me to cook it, but it is also resistant to vine borers. If there were ever a perfect child in the garden, it is this squash gem. Unfortunately this spring when I was planting, I was clueless to any of it’s attributes except that it tasted good, so I only planted one row. And without any doting or daily picking it yielded abundantly.
I failed miserably in my attempts to support my tomatoes, while they were still young. Fortunately heritage breeds are accustomed to this neglect and produced in mass regardless. In the deep south tomatoes are the colicky kids of the garden. No matter how much you walk the floor with them while spraying for bugs and fungus, they usually only spit out a few measly tomatoes. Usually before you can get the full crop ripened a wilt of some kind attacks and you are suddenly trying to figure out how to get your family to eat three bushels of green tomatoes. Up in the mountains with the cool summer nights, the heritage breeds grow strong and produce ugly and twisted, but very tasty maters. I have yet to decide if I should treat them better next year or just let them sprawl and do their thing. In the mean time, I’ve canned 20 pints of stewed tomatoes and eaten as many tomato sandwiches as I possibly can.
We’ve already planted pumpkins and will be adding spinach, beets, celery, onions, kale, and turnips to the fall garden. Come January I am sure that I will be thumbing through the seed catalogs and dreaming of digging into the soil with new energy. Right now, though, I am ready for this baby to take a nap.
Have you ever had a garden plot take over your life? What is your favorite veggie to grow?