Well, free of charge, but I've worked for it. For the record, I've loved every minute! I loved all except for the failures of a beginner, the decimation of my lettuce by some kind of a critter, and the withering away of my squash and some of my cucumbers due to, best I can figure, lack of pollinating bees. I learned too late for the spaghetti squash that I could go out and pollinate them myself with a small paint brush or something. They had already quit producing anything and withered away. I'll know next time and head it off at the pass. I love it. Love my garden.
The green beans have been a disappointment. They looked fairly nice but they didn't give us too much to eat. The melons are suddenly growing like crazy. They must be heat lovers. The gourds, too. They are climbing and beautiful. The potatoes are still just sitting there, pretty, green and growing. We'll see how they do one of these days, I guess. They are taking longer than I realized they were going to take. I'm getting impatient! The blackberry is beautiful. It should produce something for us by next season. The onions are great, the chard is great. The whole thing is beautiful!
I think planting our tomatoes in the "mass" turned out to be a blessing. The greenery and the fact that they all grew together is actually protecting the fruit from the harsh sun. We have been getting anywhere between three and maybe eight tomatoes a day out of there. In the past they would burst on the vine before they had a chance to ripen, but this year we've had some wonderful, red tomatoes. I'd say only about a third have split, and not too badly. They are ripe and delicious!
The mass is getting really big, so I went out with some tomato tape to raise up some of the heavy, sprawling branches. I picked up this tape at the hardware store and it's a bit like velcro, for lack of anything better to compare it to. It sticks to itself, and it's reusable. It's also very handy, I might add. Anyway, when I raised them all up and taped them to the supports I could see bunches and bunches of green tomatoes! Lots! Dozens! Maybe a hundred or more! That's so exciting! We are all huge tomato lovers here. I doubt any will go to waste.
My corn is getting big. Some of the ones that came up volunteer early on are probably as high as my shoulders. I planted two more rows, both on the same day, and for some reason one row is about hip high, the other only to my knees. It could be that one row gets just a bit more shade than the other. I'm not sure. I think I have a cat coming over the fence at night and getting into them, too, because I wake up many mornings to some of the stalks leaning heavily to one side or the other. I just prop them back up with dirt and so far it seems to be okay.
I'd say we have a 'trickle' garden. I get a little of this and a little of that trickling in every day. It makes for a wonderful snack or addition to our dinner, and something fresh to eat every day! It is absolutely wonderful, but I am beginning to wonder if there will ever be a big 'harvest day' for canning and drying and freezing. It's probably just as well until we move, because I have such limited space here, and no really good place to process anything. If I actually do get a sudden burst of produce you can bet I'll figure out how to handle it, though. I have a couple of small dehydrators and quite a few jars; more than I'll use for a garden this size even if it all comes in at once. I have a water bath type canner. I will need to get a big pressure canner, but I was just hunting an excuse to go get one of those anyway.
So, on that note, I'll leave you with a little funny I heard once:
"My grandma used to can a lot when I was growing up. I never could understand why she did it during the hottest part of the summer, though."