Friday, September 05, 2008

The Earth's Bounty, or, Lazy Fare.

Summer is the time for we Canadians to stuff our faces with all the fresh produce that isn't available to us for the other 9 months of the year. That's a lot of eating of a lot of fresh yum to cram into a quarter of the year, but we manage, we martyrs. (Click on any pics in the post to get an enlargement.)

I was so thrilled on the East Coast to eat fresh fish, berries and mushrooms.

Here in Toronto, I put in a little garden in the spring. It cost me less than $20, with the soil, seeds and plants. I put cherry tomatoes, basil, green beans, and sweet peas in a tiny patch of soil (probably 2' by 5'). I staked the tomatoes, dutifully to my green bent, with twigs I found next door.

Then I went to Europe for a month. When I got back, I found a feral thatch of green with tiny, hard, marble-sized tomatoes and bean-looking weeds mixed in with my bean-looking beans. (Just the vines at that point; no blossoms or pods.)

Then I went to the East Coast for that month. I got an email from L which I will quote:

holy eff...i'm shatting myself. i just picked almost 2 dozen ripe tomatoes off the plants!!!! and there are probably the same amount more that are almost there but just a little too orange to pick yet and then like tons more that are green and will ripen soon. come home soon so we can eat
tomatoes all afternoon till we pee orange!!!!!

Isn't she a doll? The answer is yes.

Now that we're taking about a dozen cherry tomatoes off the plants every day, we are enjoying quotidian tomato and mozzarella salads (thanks to Anna and Nico in Toulouse for that idea).

My big goal for my "settling down" plan is to have a pad where I can put in a good garden, just like my grandmother had.

Grammy Sweet had a huge field out back of the Sweet farmhouse where the apple orchard stood. She grew squash, pumpkins and zucchini, peas and beans, gladiolas and lettuce, and radishes, parsnips and carrots. Her carrots were the best I've ever tasted. Those little roots were sucking up all the goodness of the Annapolis Valley's earth, and then she put those carrots on her woodstove and cooked them till they were little more than carrot-shaped puree. (That's still the way my father prefers his vegetables.) BUT: if you could be in the garden when she pulled the carrots, you would wipe them on your jeans and eat them al fresco.

I want to learn how to pickle and do preserves and blanch veggies for the winter. I want to have a root cellar. I want colourful mason jars on shelves.

My little urban garden this summer makes me think that this goal might be doable, but I know I can't leave it for two months to run wild. It'll take some tending. I also have to learn about tomato pruning and so on.

I also have to bring L with me. She's not afraid to dive Despatie-style into the thatch, where I'm afraid of creepy-crawlies.

No comments: