Thursday, July 10, 2008

Novice Gardeners #2

So much has happened in the last month! Our garden is in full bloom and we are all up to our eyeballs in weeding and waiting. For us, the garden is a family affair and we often quote the story of the Little Red Hen... You know the one, don't you? "Who will help me plant this wheat?" : ) The poor Little Red Hen works on in solitude while his friends refuse to help until the luscious smell of home-made bread fills the barnyard air! In our family, we are looking forward to fresh sliced tomatoes, baked squash, fried beans and loaf after loaf of zucchini bread in a variety of flavors. The Friesen Four are aware already that those who hope to share in that harvest will also share in the weeding and watering along the way. I cannot say that they are eager for the work, but they are willing and I am grateful for that, at least!

We have a lot of lettuce ready to eat, but no other salad fixings that have fully ripened yet. I do not remember the timing being this off last year but we are trying to be patient. I stopped at a farm stand last weekend and picked up some tomatoes and cucumbers and onions to fill in until our garden starts to produce. That night, we had an amazing salad and I remembered why we do this! Fresh food tastes... well, FRESH. And I was grateful all over again that we have taken the time to do this together. I cannot wait for the rest of the fruits and veggies to be ready to eat!

We are still scratching out heads about a couple of things... maybe you can help? Some of it seems obvious, but the advantage of declaring ourselves "novices" is that it is okay to ask a dumb question! So, here is some of what we wonder...

1. Do "ever-bearing" strawberries really "ever-bear"? Ours seem to be done but we would love to have more fresh strawberries to eat!
2. Is there some way to ensure good cantaloupe? Last year, the fruit went bad before we thought it was ripe enough to eat. Suggestions?
3. Eggplant was a "must plant" veggie this year but short of Eggplant Parmesan, what shall we do with it?
4. Does anyone have red tomatoes? And if so, how'd you do it? We have tons of green ones... none even orange!

It is raining to tonight and I am grateful for it all... It is an amazing thing to be able to look at the cycle of a day and feel as though it all has a purpose greater than play. The sun blazed warm and the rain falls cool and I know that the garden in which I toil will be better for it all. It is a good reminder to me too, in these days of struggle, that it takes both sun AND rain to make something fertile and beautiful and healthy and good.

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