Wednesday, July 15, 2009
I grew up in what now seems like idyllic circumstances -- 3 acres right in the city -- a city of 250,000 that had great schools, low crime and was home to a major university and thus tons of cultural and sporting events. In my backyard we had a huge 1-acre garden that was used primarily to grow pumpkins, but we also grew a mass of rhubarb, strawberries, beans, corn and lots of other tasty things.
At the time, I hated weeding under the hot sun, and picking berries whilst being eaten alive by millions of mosquitoes. But looking back, it seems like it was a pretty unique upbringing. I learned a little bit about growing stuff, but mostly I learned to appreciate things that had been grown by someone. It's not easy, and yet the results are delicious.
These days, I have scaled back significantly and have exactly:
--1 tomato plant, mostly dead from lack of water with 2 tiny tomatoes on it
--1 yellow pepper that has been eaten by some pest and looks like swiss cheese
--1 green pepper, also swiss cheesed, but with 1 tiny pepper
--1 mystery plant that looks like it could be cantaloupe or some other of that family
--a decent, but small, herb garden with 1 rosemary, 1 cilantro, 2 basil
--1 awesome rhubarb plant
--1 tiny strawberry plant from which I got a bounty crop of 4 strawberries this year (up from 1 last year)
In all, it's enough to feed one elf who is fasting and not much else. Of course, it's definitely feeding some pests... But we decided not to despair, but just to head right out to the farm and pick "something" from a real garden. We choose Berry Hill Farm because I could not for the life of me find a local pick-your-own flower farm in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area (anyone know a place?).
It was fantastic! The berries were absolutely perfectly ripe and there were so many we couldn't help but step on a few. And our wee one only ate oh, a dozen or so. Actually, I realized partway in that he was taking the ones I handed him and taking a bite out of one and throwing the handful in the box. Later we had a fun time sifting through to take out the "pre-bitten" ones.
What are you harvesting this year? Spent any time down on the farm?