It’s not just bad food styling that the vegetables are falling off the plate in the photo at left. It’s because I just can’t cram in enough vegetables at every meal to keep up with my garden’s output. And Flying Terrier Farms hasn’t even gotten into full production! There are at least 7 crops that are not yet bearing fruit. Those of you with sharp eyes may point out the 4 ounce filet mignon. Rest assured, such indulgences are gone. There’s simply no room on my plate. In fact, at this point I’m determined that breakfast, lunch and dinner will be produce from the garden first. Then, if there is a smidgen of room, maybe a crust of bread or something to supplement. But I doubt there will be a need.
Of course my veggie eating endurance test has several causes: 1) I still seem to be in an incredible spate of beginners luck with my garden. With no evident skill on my part, I’m getting bumper crops. 2) I just can’t yet bring myself to do successive plantings and thinning. When I want to plant tomatoes, I want to do it all at once. And every seed is sacred. How can I pull up and destroy what are now my little chlorophyll tinted children? 3) I have a British husband who has to be dragged kicking and screaming to any vegetable other than potatoes or Heinz baked beans. So you see, the burden falls on me. I am getting help from John and the crew who are relieving me of some vegetables. And I’m contemplating my strategy of last year. Fill boxes with vegetables, drop them on my friends’ doorsteps, ring the doorbell and run. But that’s a late season tactic. Right now, the mid-summer harvest is so new that I can’t bear to consume everything that I’m growing.
Here are my greatest challenges:
1. Summer Squash. Hey, I know enough not to grow zucchini unless I want to fight a Night of the Living Dead/Invasion of the Body Snatchers type of battle transposed to vegetables. But who knew yellow summer squash was just as bizarrely prolific? I see a blossom fading on Tuesday. A small bulge of nascent vegetable appears on Wednesday. By Thursday, the squash is large enough to be used as a weapon.
2. Green Beans. See above. Ditto. How can I completely clear my vines of all but the tiniest suggestions of beans and, the next day, I have enough to feed a lumberjack’s family? One thing that’s saving me: you know how you are supposed to pick green beans young and tender? Well, apparently, if organically grown, even when they get huge, they are still delicious. Which is great because even eating green beans in huge quantities twice a day, I can’t keep up. (Note: this also seems to go for chard which is also outpacing my ability to eat it.)
3. Corn. The good news: my corn is only just on the cusp of being ready to harvest. The bad news: most of it is going to come at once. Which will necessitate a corn eating orgy on my part or a corn barbecue for all my friends with mandatory attendance. Luckily, in my ongoing experiment with different heirloom corns, this year I picked Little Giant Sweet Corn. This is a short stocky variety that usually only puts out one ear per plant.
4. Lettuce and Chard. Thank goodness I can pick a barrel full of chard and cook it down to a pile somewhat smaller than my head. Because I’m just holding the line in the battle with leafy greens.
4. Tomatoes. Yes, it looks like, despite my best efforts to plant only a few varieties, I’m going to have another Tomato Cambodia on my hands. Luckily, the different varieties I planted are supposed to ripen on widely different schedules. So that should save me from too many late night emergency canning sessions.
Did I mention all the crops that are waiting in the wings for a late summer ripening?
Not to mention, I have seed packets of Fall crops just burning a hole in my seed cabinet begging to be planted in a few weeks. Seeds? That’s right, the Heirloom Exposition, the world’s largest celebration of heirloom produce, is coming up in early September. And you know from last year’s experience that I just can’t be trusted around seed venders.
Well, as addictions go, I suppose this is a benign one. And I can quit any time I want. Really.