Then when the buds formed, the bright yellow flowers bloomed, and the tiny stub of a baby cucumber appeared it brought tears of pride (or was that allergies?) When it came time to pick, a sense of accomplishment coursed through my very being. I actually had a slight moment to pause before I sliced it, just because it was my first-grown baby.
I’ve become one of them. You know, those people that pull out their phones to show pictures of the newest little ones. Or worse yet, people showing multiple images depicting the progression of growth over that last few growth milestones. You know those people. You avoid bringing up conversations that give opportunity to brag. Now, I’ve fallen into that category – The proud gardener showing off my new and exciting crops.
I bet you thought I was talking about pictures of my grandchildren didn’t you? No, none of those little blessings yet, so I have to resort to shamelessly sharing images of my homegrown ‘family roots’.
A few months back I wrote about my tomatoes. How they made me proud of their strong stems and ability to form flowers. Now all seven (yes, seven) varieties are producing at manageable intervals. A handful of Cherry one day, a few Romas the next. The little Grape tomatoes turning red on even days, and the juicy patio variety surprising us about once or twice a week. Enough to enjoy but not overload, yet. And yes, I know it’s coming as I can see boatloads of green fruit forming and getting riper each day.
I’ve harvested one tasty cucumber, with many more of its kin following close behind. Those were from seed. I have to add, there’s something about putting a seed in the ground and watching the first leaves poke through the surface of the soil.
Nurturing it day by day, making sure it doesn’t get eaten by some slimy snail.
I experienced so much success with the first plants, I’ve expanded my small farming endeavor by planting more — in seed version: Carrots (ready in about a month); Radishes (need another two weeks); Sweet Potatoes (harvest in late fall), Green Beans (harvest in about two months); and Pumpkins (should be ready by the end of October). And one last effort, a Bell Pepper plant that’s finally making some progress.
After past year’s disasters I was leery. One tomato or no tomatoes makes one not want to bother. I could live with store-bought varieties. But I figured I give it one more try. And to my surprise, this year’s garden is doing very well. This is the first year using raised beds made from 2x12s. Maybe that’s the secret. Or maybe the potting soil? Whatever it is, I’m happy. (And I was kidding about the succumbing to store-bought veggies. Those tasteless tomatoes don’t even come close to the sweet juiciness of their homegrown distant cousins.
Now every morning I make my rounds to see what new little ones have formed from the night before. I gauge the new growth on the cucumbers and peek inside the tomato foliage for hidden gems. And I take lots of pictures. After all, until I am blessed with grandchildren I need something to brag about.