‎"...a little 'trouty', but quite good" ~ Eve Kendall, North By Northwest

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Farmer Trout

I have become somewhat pragmatic lately, so when Landscaper to the Stars asked what kind of garden I wanted to put in, I voted for vegetables. She proceeded to design us a garden that looks nothing like a vegetable garden: curved beds, circular paths, a funny little amoeba-shaped island. It would be quite at home at an English manor.

Thinking of how things usually grow around here, I planted as usual (read: overplanted), not imagining the plants would eventually grow over the borders, up the side of the house and down the hill. It is a good year for vegetables at Chez Trout.* Chris is bent out of shape because he can't mow the paths anymore. His lawnmower is apparently not in the mood for squash leaves. Squash leaves that are the size of bath mats.

We are a little sick of zucchini.

But this post is not about zucchini muffins, zucchini cookies and zucchini pizza. It is about corn.

Those of you who have been around for longer than, say, a day or two, know that we have some chickens. Chickens who let us pet them. Chickens who have silly names. Who live in coops that look like a tea house and the Hirshhorn. You may also remember that we don't know the first thing about raising chickens.

We also don't know the first thing about raising vegetables, which is why it's so funny to see corn growing next to our front door. There's something iconic about cornstalks. Twelve corn plants have somehow sent us over the edge into Hardcore Agrarian. Did you know that the ears of corn grow out of the SIDES of the stalk, not out of the top? I was all "yes, but where's the CORN?" and then I noticed some tufty bits on the side. Who knew?

We walk through the vegetable/flower garden (there's a zinnia poking up out of the tomatillos) to get into the house. I find this incredibly gratifying. It's like if you built shelves in your livingroom and moved your whole pantry there - housed in attractive containers, of course. I happen to find looking at an abundance of edibles soothing. And decorative.

However, even with the unexpected bounty, I can't imagine how people live off this stuff. In the middle of winter I have visions of how I'll feed the family the vegetables we've grown and we'll spend something like $4 a month on things like flour and sugar. So far, we've eaten lettuce, snap peas and zucchini. Oh, and about 14 leaves of spinach before it bolted.

I guess what I'm saying is, it's all really groovy and fun and gratifying, but it's also kind of useless and if there's any way we can collectively put off Armageddon so I don't have to eat slugs, I'd be grateful.

*except for the eggplants, which are still on the phone to INS, asking to be deported.


Kristin @ Going Country said...

Well, the solution to this is easy: you need a bigger garden. If your garden isn't big enough to produce so many vegetables that you panic and HAVE to freeze or can them, you'll never have enough for winter. Panic is an important motivator.

P.S. You can freeze zucchini grated and use it in chili, soup, and bread in the winter.

Bella said...

this is when i know you have lead a sheltered, refined childhood....that you don't know how corn grows. i find it endearing and then remember you are the friend i would call for tea, NOT the one, if i have skunks in my front yard...which i do.

if you should ever have a garden that makes you panic i have a great book that shows you how to build a root cellar. and if you wish to go the way of the wood stove you can even make one out of an old refrigerator!

Greg said...

Are you saying there's zucchini bread available in your part of town?

Susan said...

Kristin - done. The freezing part, I mean, not the bigger garden part. Thanks for the tip!

Bella - Thank you for not mentioning the four years we spent surrounded by naught but corn. Four years I obviously spent looking at BOYS, not farms. And did someone say "tea?"

Greg - We ate it, but I will make more and invite you over the next time I have plans. ;)

Laggin said...

Having been raised in a state where we take the term "cornhusker" seriously, I am quietly chuckling at you.

We have too many cucumbers. As in TOOO many and not enough tomatoes. They are all Eldest is growing...but I am impressed that she cared for them to fruition.

Tiny Dancer said...

D'ya have any bell peppers? We grew a lot last summer but the garden has gotten away from me and I only have weeds and overgrown perennials this year. Send those extra veggies my way, we'd love them!

Oh and Laggin I'll send you a good and easy recipe for pickles.