The Coast News Group
Small Talk

Backyard gardening

I’m working on a name for my roadside vegetable stand. Jean’s Greens? Backyard’s Best? How about, “Eat it. It’s Good For You.”

My back yard, in spite of being the site of my daughter’s recent wedding reception, has become a small farm. Its party days may be over, but its bumper crop days are on the way. My husband retired and our back lawn is now veggie central.

You wouldn’t really say my husband loves to garden.

That would bring visions of him planting flowers, perhaps cultivating roses, for visually lovely surroundings. Nope.

What my husband loves is to farm — to prune, to cultivate and to bring as much science into that process as possible.

The only thing he loves more is to actually harvest what he has planted, and eat whatever it has produced. In his garden, a tree gets one season to produce something edible.

If it fails, he might transplant it somewhere else, but by the second season, it had better come up with some fruit or it will get the heave-ho, to be replaced by another candidate.

We are hoping he will be a busy boy, come late summer, when the nine new raised garden beds in our backyard do their thing. We should have tomatoes, chard, elephant garlic, artichokes, lettuce, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, boysenberries, dill, basil, onions and zucchini.     I know these plants don’t necessarily fruit at the same time, but in Southern California, anything’s possible. Don’t forget that surrounding the new garden plots on the lawn is a three-sided slope on which my farmer has planted six varieties of apples, three varieties of oranges, peaches, plums, olives, mulberries, lemons, grapes, cherimoyas, figs and three types of avocados.

All I really want is an avalanche of tomatoes come late July, and I will eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and possibly, dessert. But if the newly picked flora overruns the kitchen, I’ll be out by the curb in my straw hat, hosting a two-for-$1 sale. Do drop by.

Jean Gillette is a free-lance writer who refuses to can, preserve or make jelly. Contact her at [email protected]