Ah, gardening. I still haven't adjusted to making it work in clay-soil, semi-arid conditions. We do keep trying.
This year we ended up with LOTS of tomato plants and we managed to keep them from being shredded by hail, which is a major accomplishment. The plants are happy in the raised beds. (They get water; the grass hasn't gotten much, and the summer has set records for heat.)
Both of the square beds are full of tomatoes. This was just a few days ago. I've planted a few herbs in the small bed, including some perennials, in the hope that we will have some continuity from one year to the next. The abundance of tomato plants, though, was unexpected, and I know we're not supposed to plant tomatoes in the same place two years in a row. So next year may be a puzzle.
Here is our tomato crop so far, picked and photographed on Monday the 5th:
That's my daughter's handwriting. We did share it. Even our tiny bites had more flavor than several pounds of store-bought tomatoes.
We do have some bounty this year, though. We are participating in a new CSA (community-supported agriculture) farm. We have a mini-share, which means that we don't get a lot of produce, but because of the way this CSA is organized we get to choose from a "menu" of options each week. Because of work and other commitments, for several weeks I arrived very late in the pick-up hours, and the number of the menu items still available was limited. However, each time there has been basil, and it's been abundant and gorgeous. So for a several weeks I have taken our whole allotment in basil. We are also growing a bit of basil.
Here's what happened after last week's pickup:
Isn't it BEAUTIFUL?
Then came this:
And then this:
I ran out of pesto-sized (half-cup) containers, so we had to eat the leftover amount in the big bowl in the middle. Somebody needed to be responsible for taking care of the extra. It was a tough assignment, but we managed. ("HEY! How come there's only a tablespoon left? I haven't had my share yet!" – ("(oops) um, i guess i ate it . . . "))
Shortly after the packaged bits went into the freezer (alongside two previous batches), I asked the rest of the family, "Do you think we have enough pesto?" . . . wondering if I was nuts to be considering a whole mini-share of basil again the following week. Their response? "I think we need more."
These are the sorts of relatives it makes sense to live with.
They also are the sort who tend to say, "I hope you doubled the garlic."
Yesterday was the pickup. I got more pesto-size containers, more almonds, more asiago. We already have the garlic and the olive oil. This winter we may not need to ration the pesto supply. Last year's total pesto stash consisted of 8 containers. The photo above includes 10, and that was the third batch, with another about to be made.
We do love pesto.
So despite the garden's less-than-stellar performance, I'm feeling really happy about our harvest.
Plus we might still get a few tomatoes.
P.S. I riff off Susan Tweit's recipe. We read the garlic quantities as "at least this much." We minimize the olive oil (using half to two-thirds the amount called for), figuring that if we want a more fluid pesto we can add oil later, and the way we prepare the stuff reduces our need for both containers and freezer space.