Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Last Hurrah

The soft coolness of early fall has given way to the bitter chill of impending winter. Weather reports forecast temperatures dipping below the freezing mark and warned of possible overnight frost. That was the push I needed to evacuate my garden of the last of its crops and to finally see what was going on underground.

I had planted some sweet potatoes pieces that had sprouted in my cabinet because I left them in there too long and didn't eat them in time. Two years ago I had done the same thing with a piece a friend of mine was about to throw out. With my first attempt I was so excited and impatient to see the roots, I dug them up before they had fully matured. I didn't know I was supposed to allow the leaves to die back before harvesting them. This time I resolved to be patient and give the plants the time they needed to fully develop and I was rewarded with the roots you see above surrounded by the green tomatoes that were still growing on the vines. In all, I picked over three pounds of tomatoes and dug up nearly four pounds of sweet potatoes. The large one in the center of the photo weighed over a pound all by itself. Not bad for a vegetable garden that appeared to be nearly lifeless.

I haven't decided what to do with the roots yet. I'm toying with the idea of sweet potato pie, mashed sweet potatoes, sweet potato fries or sweet potato chips. Then again I may do nothing, preferring to hand them over to my mother or sister to prepare for the Thanksgiving feast. It would be the first Thanksgiving that I am able to contribute something from the garden that everyone can partake of. I expect that several of the tomatoes will be ripe by then as well and I'll be able to make a salad for the holiday feast. Some that I had picked green a couple of weeks ago finally ripened to a beautiful red this week and went into my dinner salad so some of these greenies should be ready by the end of the month.

It's moments like this that make all the hard work of gardening worthwhile.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva