When Peter and Lynda invited us to lunch at their home so they could meet our baby, I couldn’t wait to go. Not only for the great food and company, but to see the organic vegetable garden that I’d been “hearing” about on their Facebook pages. They recently moved into a new home and had been busy make improvements inside and out, including a garden.
The garden work was a family affair; Peter built a lovely fence and arbor to define the space (and presumably keep their adorable dog out) and Lynda’s three teenage sons all helped prepare the ground for planting. They planted corn (which Lynda said “LOOKED beautiful but tasted AWFUL, don't know what I did wrong?”), sunflowers, green beans, peas, peppers, cherry and beefsteak tomatoes, lettuce, radishes, green onion, carrots and strawberries. Not to mention herbs: parsley, cilantro and basil – or BAA-ZIL, as Peter says with his neat British accent. This is not their first attempt at growing veggies, Lynda had a garden every summer when she lived in North Carolina but this was her first real garden here in Southern California. Our dry conditions are a big change from the Southeast where it rains almost every afternoon in the summer.
Drew and I were lucky enough to taste some of their harvest in the delicious Asian chicken salad Lynda prepared – and fresh picked berries for dessert. Peter and Lynda have been enjoying the fruits of their labor all summer. They especially loved the green beans and pea pods. “My boys really loved the tiny green peas straight out of the pod while standing in the garden” Lynda exclaimed. “Not one of those ever got cooked because they were so sweet and tender straight off the vine.” The tomatoes took a little long to ripen, due to an unusually cool and cloudy San Diego summer and the radishes may have stayed underground just a tad too long (they are enormous – check out the photo!) but overall Lynda and Peter’s garden is a great success. I’m so inspired by them – I’m definitely going to plant green peas next year!
What have been your biggest successes in your garden this year?
Radish, beans and pea photos by Peter and Lynda Toner
Basil photo by Kari Burks
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