Posted by: livesimply2livewell | August 1, 2009

Another summer vegetable garden

A beautiful, asymmetric, dusky, complex Cherokee Purple enjoying the shade of a Genovese basil plant, the perfect accompaniment to tomatos in the kitchen.

A beautiful, asymmetric, dusky, complex Cherokee Purple enjoying the shade of a Genovese basil plant, the perfect kitchen accompaniment to tomatoes of all kinds.

I had the pleasure yesterday of paying a visit to a couple who are living in their first home and cultivating their first garden on the property this summer.

Beth and Morris are growing Cherokee Purple tomatoes, patty pan squash, burpless cucumbers, zucchini, and a “volunteer” bell pepper plant that is currently setting fruit in the middle of the cucumbers. 

We are raising the same species, but the varieties produce a completely different garden, at least to my eyes.   As a first garden – as a garden, period – it was thriving.

This is a more typical North Carolina back yard garden than mine.  It’s a well defined and self contained patch of what looks to me to be pretty decent topsoil but over a hard clay bed. 

(My own yard lacks that hard piedmont clay, a fact for which I’m thankful.  I’ve been in my house 20 years, and from the start the garden I dug from sod has been rich and loamy.   On my property there is clay, but far down, and only in some places.)

Herbs grow in pots at the back door.  I’m envious of their container rosemary bush surrounded by thyme.  I have both, but nowhere near as conveniently located. 

Their yard is huge compared with mine, and they have a small stream at the back of it with wooded area.  I don’t envy the tending of the grass, but I like the potential I saw there. 

Gardeners always cut straight to the potential.  We live on hope and promise and a belief that next season will be better.

The Cherokee Purple is a misshapen tomato, muddy red and green skin and dark flesh.  It is, hands down, one of the best tomatoes for the classic summertime white-bread-mayonnaise-tomato sandwich, best eaten over the sink to catch the juice. 

I’m not growing them this year – last year and the year before, yes – but I highly recommend them as one of the tastiest slicer tomatoes around. 

I brought one large tomato home with me and ate it between two slices of white bread for supper at the kitchen sink.  It was so heavenly that I felt just a little twinge of regret for not having grown Cherokee Purple in my own garden this summer.

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