When we started to build a garden on the back hill three months ago, we had one real goal: tomatoes.
Everyone said it was impossible. The growing season is too short; the animals get to the plant before harvest. But we were determined, and built protection for our plants. And now, after a couple of overnight freezes (in JUNE), our third batch of tomato plants are seriously happy. We’ve been eating fat little Sungold cherry tomatoes for weeks now. Every few days, I’ll check the plant and come back down with a bowl full of summer sunshine. They’re sweet and delicious!
The exciting part is that there are many tomatoes on the other three plants, getting big and plump and flavorful in the late summer sun. Little star-shaped yellow blossoms promise even more fruit in the coming weeks! It feels like the countdown to Christmas around here. John’s already talking about marinara sauces and daily tomato toastettes. We cover the tomato section with a light blanket to keep it warm at night. Our fingers are crossed that the cold fall weather will hold off long enough for a major harvest.
As for the rest of the garden, I’m sad to report that we abandoned our lettuces. We could probably still be enjoying garden-fresh greens, but during a busy week, the remaining heads began to bolt and we didn’t replace them. Bummer! However, a shift in the watering schedule seems to have caused the herbs to rebound. Our sad little basil plant is now full of green leaves, and the chive plant is taking over. There are blossoms on the cilantro plant that need to come off, and the dill is oddly tall, but the herbs seem content.
Our zucchini plant is a monster! Its big umbrella leaves have taken over the entire section of garden, and pushed over into the lettuce section, too. Underneath those leaves, sweet little zukes have been growing. Just like the Sungolds, I pull small zucchinis out of the garden once a week. And these pretty yellow blossoms mean more to come.
This is the cucumber plant, hidden under the zucchini leaves, with the world’s smallest cucumbers growing on it.
And the peppers! John had all but given up on his hot pepper patch- he’s used to more habaneros, jalapenos, and serranos than he knows what to do with! But I spy baby jalapenos…and look at the teeny orange habanero! Again, the blossoms are telling us to be patient. We have to remember that the growing season starts late up here, so the harvest season is delayed.
On the patio, we have a happy potted mint plant, an Italian parsley plant that seems to grow back immediately when I pull from it, and one lovely green bell pepper (so far!).
But my favorite part of the garden so far was completely unexpected. A couple of months ago, I passed over an unfamiliar plant growing at the base of the garden box while I was weeding. I had a feeling about it. As the weeks went on, it grew taller- and taller. Before long, it became clear that it was very likely a sunflower– my very favorite flower. What? I didn’t plant it, but there it is. This week, the big yellow face started to open up. It’s positively glorious!
Look how tall and regal it is! And (squeal)– there’s another baby surprise sunflower growing next to it!
Happy, happy garden.
Happy, happy me.