Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Final harvest at 1343

It was sad to have to pull up the giant cucumber vines and two-foot-tall flowering okra shrubs in the garden earlier today, but what is a renter to do when the house she's been living in goes on the market?

Earlier today as I uprooted and composted a gardenful of plants at the height of their productivity, I harvested, discovering a few slightly overripe cukes and a rather large zucchini hidden under elephant-ear-sized leaves. So there's that. And I'm looking forward to trying my hand at some feta-stuffed, pan-fried squash blossoms at Meredyth and Greg's place, where I'll be staying for the next couple of weeks til I move into my new place.

It's the little things that we gardeners celebrate, and this final harvest is one such thing:


I was tempted to leave the thriving plants they were, but who knows if the people who will be moving in this fall will even want a garden. Though the soil has been improving over the past handful of years' diligent weeding and composting, maybe the new folks will use the back area for a parking spot for their SUV. It could happen. I try not to think about it too much, and comfort myself with the reminder that many of the herbs are in pots and the mushroom logs are transportable. (I also recognize that it's the ideal time for my landlady to sell, as home values in my neighborhood have skyrocketed in recent years. No harm, no foul.)

However, I wish I'd known before the springtime transplanting of heirloom plants Kenton and I started from seed that I would not be there to revel in the bountiful harvest come late summer. Then again, knowing me I probably would have planted them anyway. Oh, to witness the beautiful, purple and cream colored okra blooms unfurl in the late morning as I sipped my morning tea, even if only for a few weeks, was worth the pain of having to uproot them prematurely. (What, was that too dramatic? Try reading Michael Pollan's Second Nature. My ode to okra is comparatively subdued.)

After the better part of six years cooking and gardening in the formerly dicey and now unequivocally hip Columbia Heights neighborhood, it's time to move on to the next backyard plot about a mile and a half down the road. I may or may not have left the strawberry plot and the raspberry bush for the new owners....

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