These little lantern-like flowers are harbingers of blueberries!
It all started when I won two blueberry bushes in a raffle at the farmers market last year.
“Where shall we plant them?” I asked Bill.
The best place, we assessed, was in a small sunny patch of the front yard alongside a smattering of perennial herbs and flowers already growing.
But, once in place, two bushes didn’t seem to be enough.
“We need two more,” Bill said.
We bought two more.
Four blueberry bushes full of little ripening globes in the front yard opened up a world of previously unconsidered possibilities. Why shouldn’t other summer favorites be included?
Seeing no wrong answer, we expanded our tiny urban garden patch for Tomatoes, planting two Bradleys, one Cherokee Purple and one Mortgage Lifter. Then, I found a packet of heirloom cherry tomato seeds left over from a lawn and garden fair promotion and got several started in containers for the garden. Volunteer vines from last Halloween’s pumpkin assortment sprouted up and joined in.
We called it the Upper Forty—as in 40 inches.
“Gonna check on the crops in the Upper 40,” I’d say.
It was such great joy to walk out the front door and pick blueberries for the morning’s yogurt and cereal. Or peek under pumpkin blossoms in search of developing fruit. Or patiently monitor the redness of tomatoes.
“Not now,” Bill would caution. “Maybe tomorrow.”
We live on a busy boulevard in midtown Nashville, but with ample sidewalks and a bike lane, it’s an active neighborhood of walkers, runners, and cyclists. Our little patch of fruits and veggies seemed to be giving a great deal of joy—if not, providing at least a modest curiosity— to many of them.
“Is that a real pumpkin?”
“I didn’t know you could grow blueberries here.”
“Nice lookin’ tomatoes.”
“Can I grow that in a pot?”
So, this year we decided to grow the Upper Forty—increase our urban farmette. We widened our patch. So far, I have planted assorted lettuces, chard, pak-choi, kale.
Red Russian Kale
Then, we made our radical move. A testament to our hippie heritage, we seized the little plot of earth–the easement–across the sidewalk from our house. If you happen to stroll our way, you may see the row of onions and the many mounds emerging with potato plants.
Potato plant from sprouted eyes
All of this is to say that growing these bits of food is good for many reasons. In no way do my endeavors compare with my farmer and master gardener friends; I can’t wait for the bounty that they’ll have to offer.
But it feels right to have our Upper Forty, not only for the delicious fruits and vegetables we’ll bring to the table, but for the beauty and pleasure they provide to our little piece of the hood. If I can grow things, so can you!
With spring and summer, there are many good things to come. Look forward to recipes for all sorts of salads and dressings, blueberry buckles and tea breads, swiss chard gratinee, squash strata, tomato-basil pie….
Use this as a place to share:
Do any of you have a garden or farmette? Vertical containers? Pots of herbs?
Growing pains? Growing tips?
Ah, I mustn’t forget—-the plum tree in my backyard. It’s dripping with fruit. If I can beat out the squirrels, we’ll have plum sauce, plum tart, plum vinegar, and more…Stay tuned!
Beginnings of Plums
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