The Abounding Bounty

For anyone that thinks growing a garden is too time-consuming or expensive or whatever, let me just show you what you’re excuses are causing you to miss out on:

In our rented garden plot which is 20ft x 22ft, in approximately 70% of that space, I alone have harvested about 30-40 pounds of food. And that does not include what my sister harvested. And the season isn’t over yet! This particular harvest is from 19 days ago. The tomatoes were just starting to ripen and the herbs, green beans and crookneck squash were all going crazy.

I began to salivate at the thought of biting into this almost ripe, Copia heirloom tomato. These beauties turn yellowish with bright red striations throughout and can get up to a pound each. Yum!

The sis already picked a couple of melons and it’s my turn next! One plant produced around 10 good melons. We expected more (we counted more in the beginning) but several stopped growing and only the strongest survived. Hmm, so let’s see. One package of cantaloupe seeds costs under $2.00 and buying 10 cantaloupe melons costs… well, a whole lot more.

If you have a small space, then you’ll be happy to know that most plants can be grown in pots or grown vertically. And you may want to swap food with those that have more space for a well-rounded harvest. So work out a deal: You grow all the green beans and tomatoes, and get your neighbor to grow all the zucchini and watermelon. Now everyone is happy!

This small space has produced baskets and baskets of peas and green beans. The only reason why I took some of it out is that we were hit with a swarm of spider mites. That became too overwhelming for us since we can’t be there daily. Otherwise, all you have to do is wash them away by wiping each leaf with (slightly) soapy water and a sponge… and do so each day until they completely disappear. Since our beans were on their last leg, we opted to cut out the affected side. The last bit will be left alone to dry out for next season’s plantings.

The harvest from a week ago. A zuke (neither of us saw it until it was 11 inches long!), more crookneck, bell peppers, the last of the green beans (for me), 4 kinds of tomato, basil and lemon thyme. I call that dinner.

And this is what I picked today. 7 varieties of tomato, cantaloupe, crookneck, basil and oregano. The heirloom tomato varieties include Copia, Purple Russian, Cherokee Purple and Amish Paste. Tell me starting a garden ain’t worth that!

And if you’re wondering… everything tastes amazing! Leagues above anything in the grocery stores. This cantaloupe was so juicy, it ran down my face which surprised me… the cantaloupe I buy in the store is juice-less and sometimes dry. There wasn’t a “greenish” part so I sliced it right next to the rind with ease. The depth of flavor and sweetness had me coming back for more. This was my first time growing it and I’m hooked! See the seeds? You’re looking at next year’s crop for sure.

In only 20 days I have more food than I could ever afford otherwise. In one full growing and harvesting season, the sky’s the limit. Gardening is surely worth it’s weight in gold (and time and money and whatever).

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