It’s that time of year again! August is prime-time for my vegetable garden. Every day brings more baskets of ripe vegetables. It’s always amazing to see how a single day can make a difference in growth and readiness. Those little plants you started with in Spring now make an unruly jungle of vines and colorful ripe vegetables.
Bountiful Garden Harvest
You never know what will be ripe on any given day. Sometimes you get lots of cucumbers – like the day I picked 20. Ponder that, what do you do with 20 cucumbers? When the basil comes in, be prepared to make many batches of pesto sauce. Some days you get lots of beans. And many days you get lots and lots of tomatoes! After the heat of summer has peaked, the jalapenos and cayennes finally ripen. Cherry tomatoes are one of the most consistent producers over the course of the whole summer; their nice steady stream keeps you ever prepared to grab a few for a salad or your eggs.
Strange Events in the Garden
There are even strange days in the garden. One evening, as I was reaching into the cucumber vines to pick one, I noticed movement under the leaves. I naturally thought it was something fearful, like a snake. But to my surprise, amazement, and wonder it turned out to be a family of very, very small bunnies. They were much more scared of me than I was of them. Actually they were quite adorable. Even though they were cute, they are not what you want living inside your garden fence about two feet away from fresh spring lettuce. My next step that evening was to find, and then repair, the hole in the garden fence.
Moving along… The strange things I find in the garden can actually be looked at from the perspective of marvels. How did this happen in nature? I’m not talking about the worms in the soil or the ladybugs. Those are good things to find in your garden; they are a sign of a healthy growing environment. A really strange thing grew in my garden this year. Take a look at this cucumber. It has good color. You might think it’s two cucumbers, but alas, it’s only one. A conjoined one. Who knew?
Most years my garden provides a bountiful harvest. I like to say that we “live off the land” during those several months. Sometimes though, little visitors like to live off our produce too. Hmm, that’s not so good. Although many people don’t like Brussel Sprouts, I do like to prepare them. This little thing sure likes Brussel Sprouts too. They take a long time to grow, from Spring until the Fall frost. So, by harvest time, the leaves have many signature bites from these little creatures. I guess I could apply a pesticide, but I’ll save that discussion for another blog post about organic gardening.
The strangest garden event to tell you about is really weird. I had to do a double take to believe it. So bare with me here until the end of the story. I planted bean seeds. They grew into bush plants with pretty purple flowers, which turned into purple beans. Ok, I thought they were going to be green, but I actually find colored beans (yellow & purple) easier to harvest because their color stands out from the foliage. So I harvested the purple beans.
We were looking so forward to enjoying fresh garden beans with our evening meal. I planned to make our favorite recipe. The first step is to make a mustard seed, garlic, & lemon sauce. Then boil the beans for a few minutes. Then mix together. After I made the whole dish, I thought it looked funny. Can you see the difference? The mustard seed sauce looks great, a little cayenne never hurts. But the beans started as purple. Same beans. The boiling turned them green! And to answer all the scientist questions, no, the cooking water did not turn purple. I was so surprised I had to run another test a few days later. Same thing happened. Go figure…
You too can find a garden to be a quiet place of amazement. Spending time in the garden, surrounded by the plants from which you are going to eat, brings peace and perspective to settle your mind. That’s why I think gardening is a positive step for a healthy and happy life. Give it a try!
See you on the blog!
More Garden Posts
P. S. You can extend the growing season in many ways. Look for a future gardening blog post when it’s time to harvest these sweet potatoes. Until then, they’re quietly growing underground….