This year our garden plot in the fenced Community Garden has been a mixed blessing. The raised beds and prepared organic soil are amazing. The sprinkler system that waters them daily is as well. The problem? The weather this year failed to cooperate with our efforts, giving us more chilly days and too little warm sun to bring our heirloom Purple Cherokee tomatoes to their usual seasonal promise. We were able to pick just two yesterday, both with evidence of insect infiltration but large enough to salvage enough juicy red flesh for our breaking-the-fast feast (we don’t fast but do enjoy a dairy bagel spread with all the toppings enjoyed traditionally) after Yom Kippur this year. All the rest had fallen or were too green or already rotting to pick. Last night our first frost came, so it’s really a good thing we picked them when we did. There’s always next year. I planted them the last weekend in May after being ill and in the hospital prior to that.
Here are photos from a previous year’s Purple Cherokee bounty:
Heres my plot as it looked recently:
That third photo shows the two big tomatoes we were able to pick, taken a few weeks back. The scallions, Swiss chard and lemon basil were wonderful, and the parsley and cilantro were prolific! After the first hard freeze, only the parsley will remain.
Gardening up here on the Pocono Plateau is a brief affair. I have planted in early May and have had to replant everything because frost killed it all. As I’ve explained, even in late September frost can destroy the much awaited fruits of our gardening labor. A quick look around the Community Garden reveals that many gardeners have cleared out their plots for next spring. Others have abandoned them, leaving tangles of tomato plants heavy with rotting fruit and vines looping and drooping with gargantuan yellowing zucchinis and cucumbers. Sadly, we cannot plant perennials and expect to enjoy them the following year because our development clears out the detritus of that year’s gardening and prepares the beds in the spring with fresh organic topsoil. It works for us.
Namasté and l’Shana Tova,