Monday was my first real day in the community garden in Berea and I loved it. I learned that cucumbers are closely related to melons (muskmelons) and that Okra originated from Africa and is related to the Hibiscus plant. I learned that the yellow fuzzy bugs munching on the bush beans are not good (Mexican bean beetle larva) and that ladybugs are good guys. I suckered tomatoes for the first time in my life. Mr. Cooke and Mark have different styles of doing the Florida weave; Mark strings it all up at once and Mr. Cooke does it as they grow. If you string it all at once it’s less work for you but you have more space between the tomatoes and it takes a while from them to get a hold on the weave. If you string them up as you go the tomatoes are denser but it´s more work over a longer period of time. Both have their pros and cons.
I also experienced just how therapeutic gardening is, especially when gardening with someone else. I learned how to pull carrots, how to use the cool hoes, and when to pick zucchini (now!). We picked bush beans, carrots, a couple of green tomatoes, one cucumber, and a couple zucchini. I took some of the goods home with me and taught myself how to blanch bush beans and freeze them (a bit nerve-wracking since I had no clue what I was doing).
And I cooked fried green tomatoes for the first time and my family loved it. It was messy work but every single tomato was gone by the end of the meal.
Wednesday was another great day in the garden. Although very hot, we managed to get plenty done. I used the wheel hoe for the first time which is such a fantastic tool. Mr. Cooke, Mark, Lindsey, Candace and I were all there working away on various little projects. It was a great feeling working with the experts. Mark and I planted sweet potatoes and he taught me that you can grow the baby plants from a potato from last season; you just have to keep it in really moist soil. Candace and Lindsey planted sweet corn and mulched cucumbers. The three of us girls then planted more sweet corn while Mr. Cooke and Mark set up a fence to keep the deer out. (I also got caught up in the fence several times, clumsy me).
We were busy working away when all of a sudden black clouds rolled in. We hurried and finished up a couple things and all hopped into our cars just as the wind started to frighten us. Leave up to the good ole Kentucky weather to change the scenery real fast: hot and sunny one minute, stormy the next. Guess that’s life. We just gotta keep our roots deep in that good soil.