Re: [gardeners] Re: Sunday in the garden [sic]

W. Arons (
Mon, 25 Jun 2001 15:50:35 -0500

The day before yesterday we picked our first two RED RIPE tomatoes off the
vine--June 23 in Zone 5 (NW Indiana!).  The variety is Matina, a German
early fruiting variety I got from the Cook's Garden catalog--they're small
fruits from a potato-leaf-type plant, and I can only imagine the reason we
got such an early fruit is that I started my plants WAY too early this year
under gro lights in the basement, and then set them out obscenely early
with the protection of some Wallo'Waters that we picked up at a big
discount during a closeout sale at the local Frank's Nursery.

Unfortunately, I was unable to enjoy the first tomato of the season as I
was hit that same day by one of the worst bouts of flu ever--I've slept
something like 36 hours in the last 48, and wasn't able to eat anything for
most of that time.  I'm four months pregnant, so this is particularly
grueling--I'm starving, and the lack of blood sugar gives me a roaring
headache, but just the thought of eating makes me nauseous (and nothing
stays down, anyway...)

For the first time ever, I've had success with lettuce in the
garden--something I also attribute to starting seedlings early.  Direct
seeding lettuce has never worked for me, I think I'm not good enough at
discerning weeds from lettuces, and I forget to water the poor seedlings
out in the garden (in the basement, they get all the loving care they
need).  We've also got potatoes galore in the garden, and have already
feasted on our first batch of new potatoes--I've got a couple of varieties
of white, a red, and some blue ones (sounds like a dish for the 4th, eh?)
I harvested a last batch of peas last week, and am letting the final pods
dry on the vine-either I'll dry them for soup, or save them to seed next
year's patch.  I've never done peas before either--my 2-yr old daughter, to
my amazement, eats them fresh out of the pod, in the garden (it probably
helps that I call them "garden candy").  So peas are definitely a keeper
for next year.

We decided against growing corn this year--I guess I don't love it enough
to make it worth my while.  I know it's a pretty easy crop, but we somehow
ran out of space this year (we put in strawberries where the corn was last
year).  Plus, I never seem to know when to pick it at the right time.  Last
year's crop was a real disappointment, either I picked too early, or too
late, or it was full of bugs--it didn't get enough water at a critical
time, and all the ears were tiny.  Anyway, here in Indiana at the farmer's
market corn is fresh and sweet and cheap, I'd rather grow stuff I can't get
quality & organic.  Like tomatoes.  I feel guilty about foregoing corn,
though--seems like I've failed as a gardener if I can't grow THAT.

We DO have carrots, and beets, and celery, and leeks, and peppers, and
cukes, and eggplant, and melon, and the salad garden.  Plus brussels
sprouts (I worry the weather is too warm for them now) and broccoli, and
garlic & onions, and a variety of herbs.  And my partner is growing "bushel
gourds" for some mysterious project.

One of these days I'll get into flowers, but for now my heart's in
vegetables.  That's all for now, I think I'm going to go lie down again.

Wendy, South Bend IN