Behold! Food!

When a gardener grows flowers, it is not expected that every flower be picked and put into a bouquet to be enjoyed outside the garden.

Even if the gardener has a cutting garden, it would be unusual for every single flower to be cut and brought inside to enjoy.

In fact, it is often seen as a good thing to actually let some flowers go to seed, which can provide food for the birds in the winter time. It is okay to let flowers fade and then deadhead them and throw the spent flowers in to the compost bin.

But when a gardener grows vegetables? Behold! They have grown food. Food!

And once we have food out there in the garden, it is necessary to pick it and either eat it now or preserve it in some fashion to eat another day or give it to others to eat. It's food! The gardener can't let it go to seed on the vine. It's food! The gardener can't decide it is past it's prime and toss it into the compost bin. It's food!

And today, my table is loaded with food from the garden.
I gave away more zucchini at work today, and it was readily taken, so I probably should have taken more to give away. My zucchini has apparently not worn out its welcome at work.

I have not picked a lot of peppers yet, though there are peppers ready to be picked. I'm just not ready to deal with them and I know they will keep longer out in the garden, still growing. Once I pick them, growing ceases, and something not growing is starting the process of slowing rotting.

Truth be told, I don't really like peppers as a food eaten on its own. I do eat peppers cooked with other foods. But I don't cook that often, so I wonder each year why I plant as many peppers as I do. But a proper vegetable garden ought to have peppers in it, so I grow peppers.

Now I need to find enough people to take some peppers off my hands, at least until I get enough tomatoes to make salsa. Then I will use some of my own peppers.

All this talk of growing food in the garden and deciding what to do with all the food one grows reminds me of a quote from My Summer in A Garden by Charles Dudley Warner, taken a bit out of context...

"A garden is an awful responsiblity. You never know what you may be aiding to grow in it."

I've been aiding food to grow in my garden, and now that I have food, I feel a responsibility to use that food wisely and not waste it.

Behold! Food! It's an awful responsibility to make sure none of it goes to waste. How do you feel about the food you grow in your garden?


  1. I also feel guilty about letting any vegetable go to waste. And I don't grow them, I am just supposed to cook with them! It's a waste of the vegetable grower's time and energy to not use it all. But your comparison with flowers is a point well taken. I wonder how we would plan our gardens and use our harvest if we truly depended on it for our sustenance.

    Surely there must be food pantries in your city that would be glad to take the excess. Do you have a Plant a Row for the Hungry program? You don't have to literally plant a row, they will take any garden produce you want to share.

  2. I accidently knocked off a few green grape tomatoes while working in my kitchen garden and found myself cussing myself out for wasting them. Truth be told, that's the main reason I made my own composter. I feel less bad if I at least throw it in there rather than in the trash.

  3. Carol,
    Here is another reason you were voted person you would most want as a neighbor, all the extra veggies.

    Yes, I'm only growing tomatoes and tomitillos, oh yah, and basil. One reason is because I know I will use it all. I usually don't have enough to give away.

    Enjoy the bounty.

  4. I don't always have time to pick the peas! But, the peas I've picked sure tasted good. Squash is a much faster pick. Green em but they take some time. If it goes by in the garden I have learned that it will compost well and at least I gave it a try. Nobody ever comes over to pick their own beans or peas even if you offer so I just try to do my best at picking and let go of the guilt!

  5. Layanee is right on target. People will take your produce but they want you to pick it. Carol, it reminds me of your dad. He liked to go fishing but we didn't always want to eat all the fish. People were glad to take the fish, but only if he cleaned it first. (give it to me but don't ask me to work for it, syndrome)

  6. Carol,

    Sophie and I are really into making our own salsa -- we'd love any peppers you'd like to bring our way!


  7. About 4 weeks late I finally got around to putting in one tomato plant. I'm sure it will end up with blossom-end rot because of my "uneven watering practices." I'm still waiting to eat bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches with the fruits of my "labor".

  8. I try to eat as much as we can, and give the rest away to family and coworkers.

    Making our own salsa sounds good but my food processor is down right now. (took the top apart to clean it real well, but can't get it back together now) Might have to buy a new one. :) LoL

  9. I've been feeling just exactly like that. Except for a couple of green cherry tomatoes I accidentally stepped on and squished. There are so many on that blessed plant I was actually vaguely relieved.

  10. I can totally relate, I have so much chocolate mint this year, I'm drying trays of it, and literally forcing mint syrup and dried mint on my friends. About 4 years ago, I had enough green tomatoes at the end of the season, that I made about 20 jars of green tomato relish - I'm still eating it and giving it away too! I'm dreaming about having this problem with our young fruit trees, one day!

  11. There is nothing I love more than growing food in my garden, harvesting it and cooking it right away...I feel like that is the reason I do the have almost impossibly fresh food. It is a form of spiritual event...taking a plum from the tree or tomato from the bush and eating it right there in the! I love going out and picking fresh parsley or a lemon I grew myself...and don't get me started on basil! BUT...there is always something that gets away (like the romano beans that were hiding earlier today and might be too far gone by tomorrow) and that is what the compost pile is it's not a complete waste!


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