Saving Season-to-Season with Organic Gardening

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Our worst performer was the Brandywine, with just over five pounds of tomatoes total. Still, at $4.95 per pound for heirloom tomatoes in my area, that plant produced $24.75 in tomatoes; the high-yielders, like the Japanese Trifele Black, produced more than 15 pounds of fruit, or $74.25-worth. So for $3.50, we had $99 in tomatoes. And that’s just two of eight plants.

You might imagine, then, that we have a lot of tomato sauce and tomato jam in the pantry, and that we’ve eaten an enormous quantity of insalata caprese this summer, and you would be right. But also with those prolific crops, what we can’t eat or preserve, we give away to family and friends.

vegetables

That’s another aspect of gardening that endears it to me so. Sharing.

Gardeners are very generous people. Even if you don’t hold a seed swap in the spring (a great idea, by the way, and a very smart way to spread the initial expense of gardening around), at the start of the season, your gardener friend might just bring you their surplus broccoli seed starts, or the mint or horseradish that they’ve divided up in their garden.

Keeping that seed swap spirit alive, during the height of summer, neighbors swap their harvest with one another, sharing varieties that they love, some certainly doing so in the hopes that you’ll love it and grow it, too. I wish I had an Armenian cucumber to share with you now. I had never had one until a friend dropped a few off a couple of summers ago. Sweet, mild, thin-skinned, it’s now our favorite cuke. And that’s how it goes.

Later that year, that same friend shared her famous bread and butter pickles with us (along with the recipe), yet another way that the garden giving carries on into the off-season with pickles, jams, and preserves.

pickles

That’s them. The pickles. On the right.

Once we had wiped out that jar of pickles, it was just about time to while away a winter day, dreaming and planning the next season’s garden, and the next season’s savings.

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