My poor sad garden. My dreams of a bountiful summer harvest never came true. For the first time, we planted a small raised bed garden to the side of our house. All summer long, the boys and I have been eagerly watching our cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, watermelon and a few tomato plants. The tomatoes plants grew tall, but nada - in terms of actual fruit. I had lots of blooms on the zucchini and squash, but they always fell off. I even tried to self-pollinate, but to no avail. They died. The cucumbers seemed to be on the verge of a bumper crop, but something obliterated them. The plants shriveled up to nothing and rotted away. The watermelon vine took over the small garden and only one tiny little watermelon blossomed - but it went away too.
Just when I was about to give up all hope -- about to angrily rip the plants from the ground -- what do I find? A baby tomato. My first tomato!!! And then another baby tomato - and another. And then, much to my shock and dismay, after a summer of purple blooms but nothing else, I am finally growing an eggplant. I cannot even believe it!
And here are more of my babies ...
Discovering these new fruits yesterday completely made my day. Will they make it before the fall frost? Who knows, but it gives me hope for the future. Perhaps I'm not a total gardening failure. The boys are excited, too. Everyday we check the garden - sometimes multiple times a day. Amazingly, there always seems to be some kind of change. (Sometimes not the good kind of change, but change nonetheless.) I never realized how exciting and inspiring gardening can be.
Yesterday, I also had the opportunity to attend a celebration of an urban gardening project, The Metro Atlanta Urban Farm. With a grant from Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi's Giving Through Growing, they were able to expand their community gardening space. Tucked away in College Park, Georgia just a few miles from the busy Atlanta airport, is this almost five acre urban gardening oasis. We feasted on grilled sweet potatoes, sauteed swiss chard and fresh corn salad. The community came out to celebrate - some of whom are driving from 15 miles away to tend their small garden plot.
Needless to say, I had a very good day in the garden. I cannot wait to eat these tomatoes and eggplant that I grew myself -- and I can't wait to tell you more about what groups like The Metro Atlanta Urban Farm and the Atlanta Community Food Bank are doing to promote community gardening and ensuring that EVERYONE has access to fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. Stay tuned!