We had a very productive garden this summer! This year, we grew:
- green beans
- summer squash – also tried winter squash but it didn’t come up
- green and yellow zucchini
- eggplants – they didn’t grow very large, but they were tasty!
- tomatoes – so many tomatoes!
- green peppers and jalepenos
- nanking cherries
Not bad! This was a year of firsts for us – the first time we grew corn or eggplant, and the first time we managed to harvest some nanking cherries off the bush in our yard. We made a nanking-raspberry juice that – mixed with some Cachaça – made for a wicked awesome summer drink.
It was also the first time we tried companion planting, which is planting species that are beneficial to each other. Most notably, we tried the Three Sisters method by planing corn, green beans, and squash together. The corn provides a climbing structure for the beans, the beans provide nitrogen to the soil, and the squash creates groundcover to keep weeds at bay as well as to retain moisture and deter pests through their spiny vines.
In addition to growing our own veggies, which sadly one must wait to grow before one can harvest, we had also signed up for regular deliveries from the Riverbend Gardens CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). This was absolutely one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. Each Thursday from July through September, we pick up a bag of fresh veggies from ACME Meat Market (also a fantastic business by the way). Every week was a little different, but over the course of the program we received such treats as fennel, romanesco, coloured beets and potatoes, swiss chard, brussels sprouts, onions, carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, corn, cucumbers, kale, beans, and leeks.
Figuring out what to do with many of the veggies was quickly becomming an episode of Iron Chef or Chopped, where we would pick one or two of the ingredients and find new recipes for them. Overall, though, we ended up mostly just tossing them with some oil and seasonings and roasting them on the barbeque (sometimes finishing with some balsamic vinegars).
This was a great program, and it supports urban farming in the city, something my wife and I have become interested in lately. Not to mention a regular supply of fresh, healthy, and tasty vegetables all summer. Though sadly it is over for the year, we will no doubt be partaking in it again next year. We highly recommend it!