to educate, inspire and equip the urban homesteader

Out of nowhere – HARVEST!

August 10, 2010

Everyone has been talking about how late their tomatoes are this year, how thick the aphids, how persistent the winter and spring rains.  I bought crates of produce from the farmer’s markets, afraid my garden would never yield to my pestering.   I canned the fruits of someone else’s labor convinced I was a poor excuse for a backyard farmer.  I worried and complained and checked status with other people and at some point during all that fussing the unthinkable happened.  Lush, red tomatoes began to sag from my plants!  Long green peppers dangled like Texas earrings and I found long fuzzy green beans hiding near the ground under their bushes and creeping up the bamboo teepees I made.

Sure, there have been bushels of teasing green tomatoes loafing on the vines for months, but they didn’t seem to be ripening.  The beans barely seemed to have any flowers.  Even the squash, which I was hiding in brownies last year at this time had only a few male flowers blossoming here and there.  Where all this fresh deliciousness suddenly came from is a mystery to me.

It’s really an excellent lesson to a relatively new gardener.  Each year is different – tomatoes last year in May, tomatoes this year in August!  It makes me think back to the Farmer’s Almanac which was sold in every store in the county I grew up in.  I didn’t have a slightest suspicion of what it was used for until I was nearly 30 years old and thousands of miles away from the farmers who used it.  I currently use Pam Pierce’s charts in Golden Gate Gardening like a Bible but I secretly wish I had my own Farmer’s Almanac.  I wonder if any of its secrets would be applicable to life here in the Bay Area.  I don’t even know where I would find one.  Amazon?  Who knows.  For now, I’ll stick to Pam Pierce and continue to be surprised year after year.  It’s a good thing I know how to roll with the punches – and I’m within 10 miles of about 15 Farmer’s Markets!

I hope all you other urban homesteaders are starting to see tomatoes, peppers, squash and beans as well!


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  • I *need* to get a container garden going. I can’t live another summer without fresh tomatoes.

    • Serene, it’s SO easy to plant just one thing (and as you’ve seen from my Twitter posts, veggies are such a hit with the kiddos). I’d even be happy to send you some heirloom seeds if you promised to plant them. Nothing worse than giving something you value highly to someone who never plants it. :-) If you’re interested, send me an email to nicole at farmcurious dot com and remind me where you live so I can send something appropriate.

  • My mom brought me a farmer’s almanac when she came in April! I had joked once about how awesome they were and how much I’d love to have one. Like any great mom, she delivered! I’m sure you can ask her to grab one for you.

    • Jen, it’s funny I didn’t write this post with that in mind, but I bet my mom will now read it and a Farmer’s Almanac will mysteriously show up with a box of candy, hand-painted plant markers and other wonderfulness that only moms know how to put together [HI MOM!]. Good thinking!

  • Hi Nik! Hint, hint, right?

  • Nice to know I’m not the only one lagging on the harvest. I grow a good variety of veggies in containers and things have really just started ripening in the last couple weeks. I’ve been harvesting cherry, pear & grape tomatoes for a couple weeks, but the large heirlooms are just now getting some color. I hope to make it to Eat Real and will look for you there. Seems we have similar afflictions.