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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

How does your garden grow?
I went through a period when gardening was of no interest to me.  My father had just passed away and  the mere thought of planting things only to watch them die just didn't do it for me. Nothing could coax the will or desire out of me to grow stuff.

Somehow, that changed when Michael and I bought our house.  Even though we live downtown, we have a huge lot. For starters,  I had to grow grass.  I planted every single blade of grass that we now pay someone to mow.  The perennial garden soon followed.  Before I knew it, The joy was back. Gardening, once again,  represented hope and beauty.
It never occured to me to grow food. Herbs maybe, but not food. A few years ago, an article in Ace Weekly inspired me to start herbs and vegetables from seed. Our house was littered with tiny plastic-covered greenhouses filled with peat pots. It was riduculous. They were everywhere. Seedling hoarders.

When it was time to plant the seedlings, the only option was to use containers.  The perennial garden was full, so we became urban container gardeners.

I had moderate success with the vegetables that year.  The herbs were abundant. I had enough herbs to share, which led to a wonderful and dear friendship. Hope.  Beauty.

Last year, Michael ordered two dozen heirloom tomato plants.  It was crazy.  We  Planted 19 in caged containers and shared the remaining ones.  Our deck was covered with tomato plants.  Along with the tomatoes, we had green bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, and seranno peppers. Cucumbers vined their up a trellis fastened to the garage.  We clearly had lost our minds.....
....until everything started producing. When the tomatoes started rolling in we ate them every night, still warm from the sun.  They were juicy, sweet, and pure.  We never tired of them. Eventually,  they became too numerous to simply slice and eat, so I started cooking with them. I made tomato juice for Blood Marys, roasted them for sauces, stuffed them, pureed them, and used them for soups and salads.  It was a lovely summer filled with eating food  we grew, living off  the fat of our land.

A couple of weeks ago, we strolled through the  farmers' market snacking on things and chatting with the vendors.  Apparently, the local tomato crop is destined to be very late this year because they couldn't get the plants into the ground due to the heavy rains.

We managed to get ours into the ground (containers) on the one single day it didn't rain during the monsoon season.

Our tomato plants are already blooming.

Lillians Yellow Heirloom, Sante Lucie Red Heirloom, Sister Purple/Pink Heirloom, and standard grape tomatoes.  They've tripled in size and have almost topped the cages. The cucumbers have a way to go, but soon will be climbing and vining toward the sun.  I've officially stopped buying herbs from the grocery.  I step out back and snip what I need.  Chervil, sweet basil, purple basil, rosemary, thyme, and chives. Heaven.


With beautiful and bountiful hope, that's how my garden grows.

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