by Curt Kovener
All of our garden vegetables are producing well now: sweet corn, tomatoes, zucchini, and herbs. Back in the spring we planted some corn figuring Emma the Great Pyrenees would keep the raccoons away. And she has. Like most sweet corn, it is late due to an unexpected frost this spring. But we are pulling corn and enjoying our homegrown roastin’ ears.
And we planted four heritage Mortgage Lifter tomatoes. As an experiment, we caged two plants and allowed the other two to sprawl to see which produced the most fruit. So far it is pretty much a tie but the caged plants are easier to see and pick fruit.
Then there is the rosemary, sweet basil, Thai basil, and cilantro which are lush and producing because Becky has been diligent about pruning by harvesting regularly, drying, and using a mortar & pestle, grinding the herbs for future cooking.
The window over the kitchen sink is where small bundles of herbs are tied and left hanging to dry. And our kitchen smells heavenly.
Those are the plants we planted. But it seems our garden is producing a great deal more due to surprise volunteers, hence our Hoosier Tennessee volunteer garden.
Tomatoes, squash, cucumber and cantaloupe are growing amongst flowers on the front patio & back deck and in with elephant ears thanks to the compost amended and re-used soil from last year’s pot-grown vegetable plants.
One tomato is particularly interesting. It appears to be a compact patio tomato. But neither of us can remember ever growing such a dwarf. But is the setting fruit nonetheless.
Volunteer gardens are later fruiting because the seeds don’t sprout until the outside soil temperature is high enough to germinate. And they are not reliable because you do not know just what you may harvest.
But the price is certainly right and surprise plants add some intrigue, excitement and mystery to the garden as well as delightful side dishes for summer dining.