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Sara Foss's Thinking It Through
by Sara Foss

Thinking It Through

A Daily Gazette life blog
Her column and blog rolled into one

My garden, year 2

I’ve been a pretty negligent gardener lately, but my garden is still yielding some interesting things. Which makes me wonder how the garden would do if I put real effort into it.

My basil has come in pretty well, and I’ve made pesto a couple of times. The main thing that’s kept me from making better use of the basil is time — I’m just not home enough during the summer to take full advantage of my basil.

The same goes for our lettuce and kale, which has come in quite nicely, but I haven’t managed to actually eat yet. This is also true of my okra. The okra is thriving, but because my visits to the garden are somewhat infrequent, the pods are often too big to use. I keep grabbing the smaller pods with the intention of frying them — I loved to eat fried okra when I lived in the South, preferably with ranch dressing — but I haven’t actually followed through. Maybe this week.

Our tomatoes have been a big success, and I’ve been snacking on the smaller tomatoes quite a bit. In fact, sometimes I grab a handful of cherry tomatoes as I head out the door in the morning and eat them on my way to work. Much to my delight, the cucumbers and melons I planted from seed have come in, and this morning I cut into a ripened melon, sliced it up and had it for breakfast. I was pretty much in awe during this entire process. For one thing, I couldn’t believe that I’d grown a melon, and that I’d managed to slice into it at pretty much the right time. The fruit was sweet and tender, and although it’s probably not the best melon I’ve ever eaten, it sure tasted that way. I’m not sure whether any of my other melon seeds will produce fruit, but I’m optimistic.

My other big accomplishment is successfully growing tomatillos, a fruit native to Mexico. My goal in planting tomatillos was to grow enough to make green salsa, which I love, and it looks like I am going to be able to fulfill this goal. But because nobody I know has ever grown tomatillos, determining when to pick my tomatillos required some research. The fruit grows inside a papery husk, which you peel off when ripe. Last night I picked my first two tomatillos, removed the husk and ate them raw to see what they tasted like. Turns out they taste like green apples — tart and a little sweet.

My garden has had some notable failures, but I’m not going to dwell on them. Because I’ve got tomatillos and okra to experiment with, and plenty of basil, and a bumper crop of tomatoes that I can eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Really, what more could I want? Well, maybe a few more melons, but that’s about it.

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