I’ve talked before about how I consider planting a garden to be a form of investment. By investing time plus planting material like seeds, roots, plants and trees, the gardener is creating what I like to call a ‘futures market’. But instead of speculating on market gyrations, or hedging against price movements, those of us who garden are helping to make our own future harvests of edible goodies.
I can think of some of our perennial plantings that give us so much for our modest investment. Like asparagus, for instance. We planted two 30 foot rows in 2007, and another one in 2008, and this year we were rewarded with almost 30 pounds of asparagus spears. With any luck this patch will continue to produce for many more years to come.
And then there’s the blueberries, finally coming into their own this year. We planted five bushes in 2007 to go with three we already had. This year, we have harvested 45 pounds of them so far, which is quite a return on our initial investment!
Blackberries are another fruit that always does well for us. Last year we harvested 35 pounds of them. They are just now ripening here this year, but the plants are loaded and it looks like it will be another good year for them. This year we will have two new varieties to taste, Natchez and Ouachita, along with our favorite Apache.
But the annual vegetable plantings can’t be overlooked either. For the modest investment of a pack of seeds, so much food can be harvested. This year I am growing the Boston Marrow winter squash. One big one has already set on, and others are coming on now. If only this one huge one ripens, I will have gotten my money back on the seeds.
Other winter squashes hold the promise of future harvests too. Like the Pennsylvania Dutch Crookneck Squash (aka neck pumpkin) in the below photo. This is the fourth year I have grown this variety, and it has performed well for us every year. It looks like the one below will have a nice long neck, which is one of the features of this variety. I see pumpkin pies and pumpkin bread in my future for sure!
I am growing Waltham Butternut this year too. It is setting on fruit now, and promises sweet tasting, orange-fleshed future meals for us!
Gold Nugget is another dependable winter squash here. My wife and I love these sweet tasting squashes that are just the right size for the two of us to share.
A newcomer to our squash futures program this year is the Amish Pie pumpkin. It’s the first time I have grown this one, and the first time I have grown anything called ‘pie pumpkin’ in a long time. It gets rave reviews from gardeners, and I hope in the future I will be raving about it too.
I invested in a Thanksgiving harvest this past week when I planted some Brussels Sprouts. They take a long time to mature, so it may well be Thanksgiving before I harvest any of them. But they are pretty hardy, and I can also remember enjoying them on New Years Day in years past. This year I am trying Diablo and Gustus, since my long time favorite variety Oliver is no longer available.
I see plenty of potatoes in my future. I dug some of the Russian Banana fingerlings this week. Some of them got roasted with garlic for dinner last night. I am definitely seeing a return on my investment of the seed potatoes I bought.
And looking at the basil patch, I see pesto futures! The bunch in the below photo went on a pizza we had for lunch yesterday.
I’ll close with a vegetable I invested in back in March, when I sowed the seed for these eggplants in the below photo. These are Hansel and Fairy tale, and hold the promise of many more eggplants in the days to come. These got grilled for dinner last night.
We continue to haul in lots of beans, cucumbers and summer squashes. Those crops have more than paid for themselves this year, and we have been sharing them with friends and neighbors as well as donating them to local organizations. To see what other gardeners are harvesting, or dreaming of harvesting, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, where Daphne hosts the Harvest Monday series.