It has been a disappointing garden year so far. Not sure if it’s the cool summer, the June hail storm that badly damaged my new plants, or the new-to-me garden plot. I finally got my first red tomato on August 23rd- a good month later than usual! Everyone has been talking about how it seems that we skipped summer this year. It feels that way for me too, and I think it’s because so far, I have missed the part of my summer that involves gathering, eating and enjoying large amounts of produce from my garden. Last year I was roasting and freezing tomatoes, chopping and freezing green peppers, making refrigerator pickles, and having my daily BLT. I miss the urgency that piles of fresh produce on my counter top brings. All other chores get set aside so that I can save some summer for later. Using summer tomatoes in sauces soups in the cold, long Dakota winter adds a little much needed warmth to life. A reminder of the beautiful season past, and the beautiful season that will surely come again. So far, one tomato, 1 BLT, and about 4 cucumbers have come my way. Sigh.
New to me this year is kohlrabi, kale and beets. I have found some wonderful recipes for this produce, that didn’t mind the cool summer weather.
Kale: I’ve been using it in so many ways: sauteed with garlic, thrown into my usually pale chicken and noodles, added to eggs, soups, casseroles, tossed in to roast the last few minutes with sweet potatoes and onions, etc. It goes so well in so many things. A great way to boost nutrient content of pretty much any meal!
The other super sweet surprise is the raspberry bush planted by the previous owner! (Thank you, thank you!!) It is only producing about a cup of berries a day at most, but it is such a treat for all of us to pop a few of those into our mouths or throw them into a fruit salad.
I do love having a garden in my front yard. Our back yard is so shady that a garden was not possible. Often, the front yard is a hugely under utilized piece of land. People grow grass, and then mow it down, and then grow it again. They plant perennials and flowers, but the only time they get to enjoy them is when they drive into the garage or get the mail. By putting a produce garden in the front yard, I am reclaiming that soil to do something productive, and I am forcing myself to spend time in the front of my property. As a result I meet the neighbors, keep an eye on other happenings in the neighborhood, and I am more likely to linger over the other plants in my yard- admiring the roses, pulling weeds, plucking some mint for my ice water, etc. The most beautiful part of our home’s exterior is the front porch, and after spending time in my front yard garden, I usually take a moment to take a swing on the porch swing- either by myself or with a little one.
Next year I hope to make the little plot a bit bigger, and to add a few more brambles to our property line. Some day it would be nice to get a pie or some jam from those raspberry bushes.