Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Fruits from my Garden

I grew up in Amarillo, Texas during the '50's. On my block several people had gardens. My next door neighbor had beautiful roses growing along the fence and a small area with tomatoes at the back of her yard. Three other families had half of their backyard filled with their gardens. One year my mother filled our backyard with a garden. While I don't remember her canning that year, I do remember the jars of pickles. I also remember that it was so much work, she didn't do that again . . .

When we bought our first house, one of the neighbors was an energetic gardener. My first garden plot was probably 10 feet by 10 feet. My neighbor, Betty, had a Troy built Tiller that I was able to borrow and I enlarged the initial space. She and I would visit a nearby stable to clean stalls to take home fresh manure to enrich the soil. I also added the fallen leaves when we tilled.

When we moved to Hutto, I had a much larger garden. I had a tiller that had its own motor but was pulled by my small yard tractor. I had a load of cow manure and sand dumped to enrich the soil. I have fond memories of cooking fresh new potatoes and fresh broccoli. My sister-in-law had some great pickle recipes. I also remember pickling watermelon rind, making green tomato chutney, and even pickled squash.

When my daughter entered school, Girl Scouts became a big part of our life. The annual cookie sale coincided with the time I normally got my ground ready for the cool weather crops and the garden faded away for lack of time.

With the economy so poor this year, I wanted to do a garden again. I rented a tiller and my daughter helped me get the ground tilled. While it was the same area where I used to garden, I went ahead and added "Back to the Earth" soil compost so the soil would be rich and fertile. Yellow squash has been my bumper crop. I quickly decided that if we weren't going to eat it that day, I needed to be freezing it. I've got LOTS of squash in the freezer. And . . . the squash keeps coming and coming and coming . . .

The cucumbers were prolific as well. I've made sweet pickles, refrigerator bread and butter, and hot dill pickles. Fortunately, the cucumbers have slowed down with our 100+ temperatures. When I went out this morning, it looks like I'll have enough cucumbers for a small batch of sweet pickles or the bread and butter ones.

My gardening season is nearing an end. While the tomatoes are still green on the vine, we'll be heading up to Amarillo for a wedding and on to Montreal for Anticipation, Science Fiction Worldcon. With this summer's record breaking heat and water restricitons that make automatic watering difficult, my garden will be dry and shriveled when I get home. But, it has been a glorious garden - one to remember!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would like to come out and water the tomatoes.