Today’s bountiful harvest

27 07 2008

Okay, so “bountiful” doesn’t really apply in this case. And I most certainly would lose weight if all I ate was what I grew. Nevertheless, my meager bounty certainly makes for a lovely still life, doesn’t it?

The beautiful yellow ‘Jubilee’ tomato is courtesy of my client and friend, Sophia, who generously gives me several exotic tomato plants (that she lovingly grows from seed!) each gardening season. This is the first large yellow tomato I’ve grown in our garden. There’s another almost-ripe one hanging on the vine—I can monitor its progress through the studio window. I’m the ultimate multi-tasker—I can design on the computer, run out and photograph something blooming in the garden, pet the cat, feed the fish, talk on the phone, and be on “tomato watch” all at the same time.

The only true tomato harvest we have ever had was when we first started the garden almost seven years ago. Michael planted four Roma tomato plants and by the end of the season, I had picked well over 500 tomatoes! Every few days I would run out in my pajamas (yes, I sometimes work in my pj’s if I’ve pulled an all-nighter working on rush projects—working in your pj’s is one of the perks of self-employment) and scoop up ripe tomatoes in my pockets. I picked so many I was giving them away to strangers in the neighborhood (In case you’re wondering, I did get dressed for the tomato deliveries!). At that time I wasn’t a tomato lover—that came later in life, but I love them now and would be a bit more hesitant to share (particularly since we reap much less than we sow these days). We haven’t had that kind of harvest anomaly since.

The green beans are Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans. I grow these every year (and harvest just enough to fill a bowl). I also love to grow the Yardlong Beans just because they’re so long! They can grow up to three feet long, although they’re best if they’re picked at 18 inches or less. Highly-prized in Asia, these pencil-thin beans are also known as long-podded cowpea, asaparagus bean, snake bean, or Chinese long bean. Sometimes, if there’s room (there never really is, but I manage to squeeze them in anyway), I’ll grow Tricolor Bush beans from Renee’s Garden seeds just because they’re colorful!

I may only pick a handful (or two) of each edible thing I grow, but it still makes me feel like a productive urban farmer. Of course, if I tallied up the cost of seeds, stakes, containers, potting mix, Miracle-Gro, and watering, I’ll probably end up with a result like William Alexander, the author of The $64 Tomato, did. Speaking of which, it’s a really great book; I highly recommend it…and check out his blog here. My beans are probably worth about $5.00 a string! And don’t even get me started on how much the cherry tomatoes are worth…

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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2 responses

28 07 2008
BakerWatson

Your comment about having all the tomatoes to give away reminded me of a story I once read, I think in Reader’s Digest. This was several years ago so I hope you will recall buying fruit at the market at that time.

Seems there was a guy in Florida who bought a house that happened to have a rather prolific orange tree in the back yard. He was always giving away oranges to his neighbors and going on and on about how he grew them himself and these were so fresh, not like the ones you buy at the market that are supplied by those big corporate growers.

One of the neighbors grew weary of hearing over and over how great the tree was so decided to play a little joke. He went to an office supply store and got a certain little device made. Late one night he crept into the neighbor’s yard with a stepladder and the little device and ‘decorated’ all the oranges he could reach.

Imagine the tree owner’s surprise when the next morning he went out to check his prized tree and its bounty and found each orange still on the branch was marked with a perfect little purple “SunKist” logo.

28 07 2008
cindydyer

Hi Baker! Thanks for sharing that story. Too, too funny. Sounds like something I would take the trouble to do if the situation presented itself!

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