Wednesday, October 3, 2018

An Accidental Gardener's Work is Never Done

We've just had mint grow itself in our garden. This was not really a surprise, as we've already had lilies, poppies, and an enormous tomato plant grow themselves without us lifting a finger. It seems to just be the thing our garden is doing this year, and it's doing it very well. The tomato plant got a bit of water in the beginning, and there was some small effort to support the vines, but mostly we did nothing. And it worked brilliantly. At this moment, the vines have stretched themselves so far in every direction that there remains only room for our table, the compost bin, and a medium sized drying rack. The back garden belongs to that tomato plant. It owns it.

But it's not just lying around doing nothing. For months now it has given us lovely little cherry tomatoes, too many to count. I've put them in salads. I've put them in guacamole. I've slow roasted multiple batches and stowed them in the freezer for winter soups, pastas, and other hearty meals. I thought I would be done by now. But the tomato plant keeps giving, and giving, and giving.

I'll admit I was tempted to just call it quits after the last hurried batch that I slow roasted a bit less slowly than the others. We've got a full schedule and a big trip coming up. I don't think anyone would blame me if I picked some more as they got ripe and used them in a few meals, then let the rest go. But I couldn't do it. It felt wasteful, like I was denying a gift I've been given. The vines were full of green tomatoes, and I knew that there would be something that could be done with them if I would only take the time to do it. I asked a friend. I asked the internet. The answer was the same from both: chutney. Green tomatoes make fabulous chutney.

And so I am currently wading through a sea of green tomatoes which need to be washed, quartered, salted, and left overnight. It took two days to find the time to pick them all. I got through about half of the washing and cutting today. Tomorrow, I'll make the first batch of chutney. I've gotten some mango and apples to put in it. I hope it's good. Regardless, there will be enough for a second gigantic batch, and for that there are more apples and some sultanas. By week's end, I hope to be done with these...for now.

I still have to figure out who's going to eat all this chutney.

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