Friday, October 20, 2006

Harvest Time

Originally uploaded by momraggedy.
Ann and I were very ambitious this summer. We planted vegetables in the communal backyard space of our apartment complex. A neighbor of ours who moved away had used the space for gardening, and another neighbor and I decided to plant some veg there this season. She was mainly interested in planting Swiss chard for some kind of dumpling recipe. I wanted Ann to see the process of planting, tending to, and harvesting our own vegetables, on as much of a scale as possible in this semi-urban area. Amateur gardening was a great chance to talk about science, the Creator, healthy eating, and to get our hands dirty and just be outside, which I love. Poor Andy kept trying to eat the grass and had to be relegated to a stroller during most of our gardening sessions.

When I taught English as a second language, back before Ann and Andy came along, one of my more language proficient students told me that he knew how to make an apple. He must have been around five or six years old. I asked him to explain (humor me, kid). He said, "First you take apple sauce (I can still hear his raspy, lispy voice - so sweet). Then you make it like a ball. Then you wrap red paper all around it." Wow. "Erik," I had said at the time, "What about apple trees? Have you ever seen one?" Let's just say I didn't want Ann thinking the same thing in a couple of years.

We planted green and red peppers, which all turned out to be green. Those grew nicely, but we tended to pick them before they got very big since squirrels around here are very aggresive and vicious. Must be a NY thing ;)
We planted zucchini, which grew into the biggest, leafiest thing ever. And really spiky - who knew? We got quite a few beautiful zucchinis which I use in soup and sometimes just as raw matchsticks dipped in dressing.

And then, the tomatoes. Although we staked the plants (don't ask me, I'm a city girl - my swiss chard buddy and my dad were very helpful with the staking) I don't think they got enough sun exposure, and many, many of them stayed green for weeks. Now that it's getting chilly, it was time for my buddy and I to harvest it all and cut our losses. I am trying to figure out what to do with the green tomatoes (frying?) since they aren't getting any redder sitting in this bowl. In the meantime, I just like how they look.


socialworker/frustrated mom said...

Great pic of the peas. So nice you plant.

PsychoToddler said...

We grew tomatoes one year. They were amazing.

RaggedyMom said...

SWFM - oy, vey - those are tomatoes! They just didn't ripen soon enough!
PT - Tomatoes are very, very different tasting when you grow them yourself. During the last year he was alive, my grandfather grew tomatoes and tended to them when he was strong enough. They gave him a lot of enjoyment.