Someone brought a fellow gardener, introduced to us as a Master Gardener, out to see our garden, thinking that since we both are absorbed in the cultivation of earth we should get along great.
Unfortunately he sneered at my companion-planted garden rows and the huge number of tomato plants I’m growing – one row to trial different varieties, two more for a double-blind tomato breeding experiment for Seed Saver’s Exchange, and a few more plants of my own saved-seed varieties I want to select for another generation.
He dismissed the idea of breeding late blight resistant in tomatoes as “probably just a magnesium thing,” and when i tried to explain the problem of late blight, he interrupted with, “Well, I can’t argue with an expert.”
He told me my seed saving project with the rare annual-blooming carrot variety was only a result of my soil being too high in nitrogen, and scoffed at my home-saved lettuce seeds for being too numerous.
Gardening is like that…everyone has their own way of growing and tending to plants.
Some gardens are wild, and some are all tied up in neat rows. Some are filled with flowers, and some are strictly practical. Some are large and sprawling, and some are beautiful little container gardens. They are as various as the situations people try to garden in, and the personalities of the gardeners.
I like to grow flowers, herbs, and vegetables all together, making my garden look wild towards the end of the season. I’m not concerned so much with appearances. If i am getting plenty of vegetables, wild tangles don’t bother me.
I love to disappear in the garden, hiding behind tall dill plants to eat the first ground cherry or sweet pea (the gardener’s privilege i think), and return eventually with armloads of fresh, fresh vegetables, their colors and smells inspiring me as i carry them into the kitchen and begin washing and peeling and trimming them.
This week the garden gave us fresh tomatoes, garlic, onions, and basil. Mmmmmm…. pizza!
I had some dough rising. Hand ground fresh from winter wheat, mixed with olive oil, salt, water, and sourdough starter. Proofed overnight, stretched into crust.
The onions are beautiful and sweet this year, maybe all the wood ashes i sprinkled on. I made the sauce with tomato paste mixed with broth, grated fresh elephant garlic, onion, salt and black pepper. On top
I added the fresh vegetables…
Two kinds of home made fresh cheese – chevre from our goats milk, and a fresh hard cheese from the cows milk, made with rennet and kefir culture.
Now home grown Italian sausage, home processed and hand ground, seasoned with onions, fresh garlic, crushed fennel seeds, pepper, and white wine.
A drizzle of olive oil on top, and baked in the wood stove.
Gardening is an expression of the heart, our inner landscape laid out in real pots and beds.
Whether you keep your plants well- tended, or let them have their freedom, your reward is all the abundance they can provide. And nothing, nothing beats a home grown meal.