It’s perhaps the most privileged, most tone-deaf thing to complain about, but here we are, and I’m going to say it: I have too many vegetables.
I imagine I’m not alone in thinking this. The people who brought you “Pandemic Bread Baker” later branched out with their spring production of “Hey Look: I Planted a Garden!” and now they are deep in rehearsals for their summer extravaganza: “Holy Crap! More Kale!”
I would like to say that it’s only gardening newbies who are surprised to learn that, when they plant seeds all at the same time, everything ripens at once, but I am surprised by this fact every year. And it’s not just the vegetables. Every July I sigh with satisfaction when our raspberries first come out. “Mmmm, gonna go eat me some raspberries,” I drool. Days later: “GOTTA EAT ALL RASPBERRIES!”
Luckily, we have only a modest garden in our backyard. I say “modest” because it’s much less harsh than saying “poorly managed with middling results.”
For instance, our burgeoning zucchini plant has been blossoming flower after flower this year. So far, though, it has produced a single zucchini. This is probably because most of the flowers are male. Without a female flower to pollinate, the male parts whither and fall off. Which reminds me, I’m due to write an update on life after prostate cancer.
Our beets are tiny, our tomato plants blighted, our Swiss chard has lost the will to live. But we have lettuce. Boy, do we have lettuce. Deb likes to seed the lettuce like she’s squeezing ketchup on a hotdog – a nice consistent row. And then no thinning allowed. Don’t thin the lettuce. Don’t thin any of the plants. I would be exaggerating if I said I sneak out in the dead of night to thin the carrots, but I do make sure I am well camouflaged.
So these are what we call our salad days. Also salad nights. When we visit Deb’s parents, we bring salad. Some nights for supper we have salad with a side of salad. We are a go for greens.
We also have a bumper crop of green beans. And yellow beans (or as Abby used to call them, “yellow green beans,” which I am fully on board with). We planted a lot of beans. All at the same time. (See above.) So we are eating a lot of beans. We have many, many beans. The cats don’t eat beans. Does anyone want beans?
Because here’s the thing: in addition to produce from our own garden where everything ripens at the same time, we are also receiving a weekly box of vegetables from another garden where the very same produce is ripening, also all at the same time.
Earlier in the spring, Deb signed on for a weekly produce box from Ô Chouette Jardin, a micro-farm in Stanstead East. (They also have a stand Saturday mornings at the Stanstead Farmers’ Market.) Each Tuesday, the box arrives at our door, and it’s always a treat to see what’s inside. I look at the multicoloured beets and torpedo onions, the garlic scapes and the heirloom kale, and I think to myself, “We have a week to eat all this.”
These past two Tuesdays, the produce box has included yellow green beans, which we already have, as I’ve said, but it’s nice to have produce from people who know what they’re doing, and by that I mean beans that aren’t curled like dead man’s toenails. We finished last week’s yellow green beans Sunday, but as of Tuesday, we still had some of last week’s mixed greens and cherry tomatoes. This week, we got more mixed greens and cherry tomatoes.
Uh-oh. We’ve lapped ourselves.
So what do we do? Well, Tuesday evening, Deb went out and picked more lettuce to top off the bag of our own lettuce, of course, and we made a salad with the remains of last week’s farm mixed greens plus some of last week’s cherry tomatoes, and I put the last three cherry tomatoes in with this week’s cherry tomatoes so that at least I wouldn’t be thinking, “Shoot, we have two bags of cherry tomatoes.” There’s also a giant beefsteak tomato from the farm on the shelf ripening a final bit beside a few of our own unripe tomatoes that fell off the vines that we’ll let get more red before we get around to worrying about when on earth we’re going to eat all these tomatoes plus more to come. Also we have beans.
So what I’m saying is, these vegetables are stressing me out. But I’m going to the bathroom just fine.