Dancing Skeleton

Since Halloween originally started as a Celtic harvest festival where people celebrated what they’ve harvested from the fields, I feel that it’s the perfect time for me to write about my attempts at gardening this year.

For the past few years I’ve been slowly trying to turn the portion of my front yard that slopes into an uphill into a garden mainly because I’m tired of trying to push the lawnmower up the hill. I’ve planted a few lavender plants plus strawberries. It’s a slow process because of tight finances so I can only afford to buy a few plants at a time. It’s also a struggle because the grass wants to grow back and I’m trying to pull them out because I want the lawn in that part of the yard to be gone.

I had some success when I started getting strawberries. The fruit is a bit on the small side compared to what one usually finds at the supermarket but I find the small strawberries to have a more intense flavor than their larger cousins. The next photo shows the first strawberry that was ripe enough for me to pick and eat.

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But then something amazing happened. Here’s some background. Last year I attempted to grow a few tomatoes along with cucumbers in the front yard. That summer was relatively less humid than this year, which was great from a personal point of view but it wasn’t so great for my vegetable plants. The cucumber plant yielded this yellow cucumber that never ripened. The tomato plants were a little bit better in that I got a few tomatoes late in the season but the yield was a letdown. That was why I decided to just turn that entire hill section into a strawberry patch bordered with lavender plants. (Strawberry plants tend to be low-growing compared to regular grass. The lavender was planted in the hopes that its flowers would attract a few bees who would then fly over to the nearby strawberry plants and pollinate whatever flowers were in bloom.)

But this summer I saw something unexpected. I saw this plant grow up that had the familiar looking leaves of a tomato plant along with the tiny yellow flowers with the spike-like petals. I was confounded because I did not plant any tomatoes this year. The only thing I can figure is that I somehow didn’t catch a tomato from last year because it dropped to the ground where I couldn’t see it. The fruit eventually rotted but the seeds from that fruit were dormant throughout the entire fall and winter and they sprouted this summer. At least that’s my theory. It’s either that or some incredibly nice and generous neighbor decided to sneak on to my front lawn and secretly planted a few tomato plants while I wasn’t looking. (The latter scenario isn’t very likely because I would’ve noticed had someone dug a hole and planted something in the front yard.)

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I decided to leave the plant alone as I moved and weeded the entire front lawn. I wanted to see what would happened. I was rewarded soon enough as some insect (probably a bee) pollinated those tiny flowers and I was rewarded with tomatoes that were ripening on the vine.

3-tomato

These tomatoes were cherry tomatoes but they tasted really good. They had a light yet sweet taste. They tasted far superior to the cherry tomatoes that are typically sold in the supermarkets.

4-tomato 5-tomato

I got a pretty small yield of tomatoes. (The next photo shows just two of the tomatoes that I managed to pick.) They weren’t enough to do anything like extensive canning but they were enough for a nice tasty snack either before or during a meal.

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But that wasn’t all. I initially got a fairly modest amount of strawberries. Like the tomatoes, they were enough for a small snack but not enough to do anything major with them (like bake a pie). The plants stopped producing strawberries by early July. But then, around the same time as the tomatoes started to produce fruit, some of the strawberry plants started to produce a few more berries. These berries were even smaller than the earlier berries but they were still edible.

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That’s it for my attempts at gardening this year. Who knows what the future might bring? Maybe next year I’ll have enough extra money to buy more plants and totally turn the hill into a strawberry and lavender patch. I hope so.

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