Friday, August 12, 2011


I've wanted to write about tomatoes for a while now, but I just couldn't figure out how to approach the subject. To me, tomatoes are one of, if not the best reason to have a garden of one's own.

This season I "undertook" growing tomatoes like never before. I decided to get into cultivating them, coaxing them toward maximum production, treating them like the special, Chosen plants they are. The results have been fairly satisfying.

Have you seen the movie "Ratatouille?" Do you remember the scene where Anton Ego takes a taste of the special ratatouille and is immediately transported in his mind to a childhood moment where taste and memory meet? Tomatoes do that for me.

I can munch (if I had to) on the pathetic, bland commercial tomatoes from the grocery store all year and not feel a thing. There's nothing to them. But when I get my first, real local.,home-grown tomato of the summer my eyes close and I'm taken back. I don't know when it is, but I can picture exactly where. I'm at the supper table with my family and there's a plate of thick slices of vine-ripened tomatoes. They were, and still are, the best thing I've ever tasted in my life. Hands down.

So far the tomatoes I've harvested this summer have become snax-off-the-vine while gardening, salad items, sandwich additions and tasty side dishes all on their own. I've also cooked them into thick sauce with and without spicy local Italian sausage. Today I oven-dried a big batch which, of course, became a little batch of concentrated savory/sweet flavor. They'll be stewn on pizzas and folded into pastas over the coming months and taking me back to this time when ripe tomatoes that actually taste like tomatoes are easy to come by.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Onion Bandits!

The onions have grown, to put it mildly. It shouldn't be surprising, but I can't help marveling at the fact that the wilty, pencil-thick plants I stuck in the ground a while back have turned into the pungent orbs I regard as a vital kitchen staple. A few are larger than anything I'd pick up in the grocery store, as large as a softball, or so I'm told by certain women we know.

The onions have been pulled and were curing in the sun/shade on the deck before going into storage. Unfortunately, certain striped rodents decided they would try tasting the produce. In the end they were thwarted by none other than the softball-savvy women we're lucky to have in our home right now. Garden Justice prevails, and future meals will be a testament to their bravery.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Yesterday I picked the last of one varieties of beans I grew to dry this season. It's Jacob's Cattle Gasless. As luck would have it, I had a record of how much I planted. Compared to what I harvested, discounting the bad ones I threw away, I got out twenty-four times as much as I put in. The ounce of seed I planted yielded a pound and a half of dried beans. I'm curious now to see how that yield relates to other beans.

Were I to save all these beans, plant them next year and get a comparable harvest, I would be looking at a full thirty-six pounds of beans! My guess is that that is more beans than we eat in a year. We definitely wouldn't eat the 864 pounds we'd have the year after that if I did the same.

Update: As mention here, I completely forgot to account for the beans that were planted but for whatever reason failed to grow and produce. Beans are even more productive than I realized!