I harvested my first tomato on Saturday.
There’s nothing particularly newsworthy about that except that I haven’t done that in several years. Way back when, I gave up on planting vegetables in my garden and decided to stick to flowers.
A couple of things factored in.
When we first built our house in Wisconsin I planted all kinds of things. I had strawberries around the ornamental pond. I had beans on the hill. I had raspberry bushes up by the end of the lot that faced the neighbor’s cornfield. I even planted some of my own corn. I had carrots, zucchini, onions and more.
Turns out I took care of all of those things just so the critters could have their fill.
I didn’t have a fence around my garden so as each item came up to harvest time some wild creature ate it. It got to be quite the joke. I’ll never forget the day I drove up in my car and witnessed a food fest. As I went to turn the car into the garage I spied a squirrel up in the apple tree. The squirrel’s cheeks were bulging so far out I thought he’d explode. That wasn’t bad enough. He proceeded to push strawberries out of his swollen face, one at a time, munching on them. He balanced them delicately between his paws and ate them like a cob of corn, methodically chewing bits and eventually the entire strawberry disappeared. Then he’d take out another one and repeat the process. I sat in my car watching this spectacle. I began to laugh and just decided to take pride in providing a meal for a wild creature. He continued to do this as each new batch of strawberries ripened. He was smart enough not to take the ones that were not ripe yet. He waited til they were perfectly juicy; right about the same time that I would want them.
And so it goes.
I’m sure I fed a lot of rabbits that summer too. Maybe even some raccoons (they ate the fish in my pond too) and deer. A coyote or two. You get the idea.
I decided that there were so many wonderful farmers’ markets that I didn’t need to do the planting, care and harvesting. I never got to eat it anyway. I’d just let the pros handle it. I’d buy my vegetables. That way I didn’t end up with too much of anything either. I had one year when I first started gardening where I had zucchini coming out of my ears! And they just kept getting bigger! It was a nightmare.