Monday, September 08, 2008

Perpetual Harvest

I'd never successfully cultivated any form of plant life until this year. Houseplants weren't an option since they would have fallen prey to pets. Plants I attempted to keep at my office inevitably withered from lack of water because I am used to the living things I care for reminding me of their need for sustenance (none of my animals have never been shy about that). But I really wanted this garden to work, and with a little luck - and Eric's greener thumbs - it has!

We've pulled fresh produce from our own backyard all summer long. The first cuttings of spinach mid-May were followed by garden peas and the never-ending supply of summer squash. One of my favorite meals this season was a Barley Risotto with Summer Vegetables, which I was able to put together with almost all home-grown ingredients from our early harvest. (Violet loved this dish too!)

And that was just the beginning. About month ago, we dug up about 40 pounds of potatoes, and plucked a plethora of baby carrots along with them. Today the squash is still coming, the corn is ripe, and the tomato plants (heirloom, roma and grape) are producing almost more than we can keep up with. We're about to begin picking a lot of peppers as well: there's fruit appearing on almost all 10 of our sweet pepper plants, in addition to our 15 or so varieties of hot peppers that are putting out even more.

A couple of weeks ago, we retilled several beds whose crops had exhausted themselves and replanted with some that can withstand the increasing chill in the autumn air: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, and more peas, carrots, spinach and salad greens. We're looking forward to continuing to pull more good food from the garden for at least another couple of months. I've also set my sights on preserving what we can't consume immediately - Julie from Chez Artz piqued my interest in canning some staples like tomatoes. That may be a bit ambitious for me, admitted amateur gardener, but I'd like to give it a try!

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