It's been almost three months since I ventured out into the wilderness. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating, since the great outdoors is only a 400 square foot back yard in Brooklyn, but gardening and I have never been a perfect pair. While I can cook up anything that comes from the ground, most living plants suffer a deadly fate under my care. Things are looking up though. The vegetable garden I planted on Mother's Day (thanks to my in-laws for the generous check that got it all started) is doing better than I expected.
The eggplant is finally blooming, having started as beautiful lavendar flowers. The tiny white flowers on the jalapeno plant blossomed into spicy peppers that gave a kick to my pico de gallo last week. And even though it sounds like tomatoes have a doomed fate in the northeast, I've got some coming in. Look, there's even celery.
Our farm to table lessons have been realized at many a meal. Early in the season we enjoyed salads using red leaf and romaine lettuces—incredibly easy to grow. Dishes have been seasoned with parsley and basil. The first batch of collard greens were hot and smoky, after cooking down with a generous amount of Tabasco and bacon. My big fear is the tomatoes will be ready while we're away in Cape Cod for two weeks, but that'll just ensure our neighbors visit often to water the rest of the backyard.
Here's what didn't work. Brussel sprouts and broccoli. I'm sure the lackluster results for these crops were operator error. While the broccoli did bloom, the heads were so tiny, I would've needed to plant way too much to yield anything worthwhile. I'm guessing there are different varieties. I don't like to think of myself as a quitter, but next year I'm just going to use that space for extra collards.