Posts Tagged ‘Brooklyn’
Today I spent the entire day down at the main garden. Truly a gift since that hasn’t happened since we first planted.
This is my Dad. He is the Keeper of the Garden. When I was a kid, Dad would come home from work, change out of his shirt and tie and head straight out into the garden. I remember him begging us to help him pull weeds and haul water. I hated it. I didn’t care if the peas came directly out of the garden minutes before dinner. To me, it just meant that I had to shell them… another chore.
It wasn’t until years later, living in Brooklyn and trying to feed my own child really good food, that I finally ‘got it’. I wanted to make sure that our food wasn’t filled with toxins, and I missed the taste of a perfectly ripe, homegrown tomato.
So, I started a garden on my fire escape in Brooklyn. First I started with herbs, then I moved on to tomato plants. But growing a garden on a fire escape, while relatively pest free, still has it’s challenges. The tomato plants started to perish, the bottom leaves were yellowing and getting spots. I panicked and spent way too much time online researching tomato diseases. I learned about the tobacco virus and late season blight and a host of others. In the end, the answer was just that the confined space didn’t allow for good air circulation. The plants, without the breathing room of wide open spaces, wilted and died.
I began to feel like those tomato plants. There wasn’t enough breathing room for me in Brooklyn and I needed to grow things where there was… back home. The very same place that I had felt was suffocating me over 10 years earlier, and left. The next summer I started traveling upstate on the weekends just to care for a few tomato plants. It wasn’t long before we were moving back home and building the farm.
My Dad had stopped gardening sometime around my teen years. Life’s responsibilities began to push away the time and attention that he was able to give to his passion. And, outside of my Dad, no one really cared about the gardens anymore. It wasn’t long before the fields went fallow and the produce was all store bought.
Today I spent the day with my Dad. We laughed while we watched my children spend the afternoon building a Fairy Mermaid Scarecrow with their aunt and cousin. He proudly showed me the plastic bin of socks that he’d stolen out of Mom’s laundry room to use to tie up tomato plants. He gave me the tour through the plants pointing out the failures as well as the proud successes. We came to the tomato plants, and there were the same yellowing spotted branches at the bottom that I had encountered on my fire escape.
“What do you think?,” he asks me, putting my authority above his own. ” I read about this tomato blight in the newspaper… but I don’t think that’s it. I think it is just too wet, not enough sun and air circulation.”
“Yeah Dad. I think you might be right.”
Despite the intense amounts of rain (yes, it is raining right now… again… ) the plants all seem to be doing well. Everything should be about 50% bigger, but we’ll take what we can get. Let’s just pray for a late frost at this point.
The ‘above ground pond’ is leaking. Brian and I called an emergency Koi pond planning meeting. This means that I go out and pull up a handful of fresh herbs from the garden and he mixes them into a cocktail. We sip our creation and wait for inspiration. Of course, it came… right between sips of our pineapple sage, spearmint vodka lemonade. Thinking about taking the old water tanks in the basement and turning them into a pond/fountain. Luckily it is raining again (Luckily? Did I just say that?) and the pond can’t possibly empty out faster than it is getting filled. Hey look! There’s that silver lining!
Finally, this is the last task that Dad and I did in the garden today:
Time to go make pickles! Night!