We are in August of one of our driest years yet in California. I pulled back my garden ambitions this summer, and I’m hauling gray water out to the plants, but we still have a succession of fruit and vegetables from our small plot. Here is the photo husband took yesterday of the day’s produce. Those red-purple fruit with a bluish bloom are Plumcots. But he forgot the lemons, the pail of Washington Navel oranges, one basket of tomatoes, and I had already poached a basket-worth of green beans.
Did you know that the pole string bean variety ‘Kentucky Wonder’ first hit the seed market back in the 1870’s? They like most beans tend to self-pollinate so I can save the seed and keep the line going. Did I already tell you all that? I wouldn’t be surprised. When something really delights me, I do repeat myself.
I am grateful to my predecessors when I pick. All those farmers and plant breeders, amateurs and professionals whose work still comes into my hands whenever I walk in the garden wondering what I have to eat and to share; I feel as though in their presence.
There’s usually a wooden box on stubby legs set out at the end of our driveway. Husband built it when we first moved here. I put what extra I harvest into it for passers by. Sometimes I am embarrassed to come out and find a few coins left, or even a dollar bill. (I need to repaint the ‘Free’ label.) Sometimes it’s a card with a thank you from a person down on his luck, who finds the box a timely helpful friend. Sometimes I’m embarrassed to have nothing worth putting out.
But today is a good day; the season may be dry, but it’s generous.