When we planted the coneflowers in May 2014, staff from Pennsylvania Horticultural Society helped us again. Once the plants for our ozone garden had been planted, we realized we still had empty beds. The staff of PHS gave us some tomato plants, pepper plants, and herbs to place in the bare beds. There were multiple types of tomato plants. We had small cherry tomatoes, yellow ones called “taxi tomatoes,” funny shaped heirloom tomatoes, and purple tomatoes. We also found an unwanted plant that turned out to be lambsquarter, an edible relative of lettuce. We decided to transplant the lambs quarter to the herb bed. Imagine a salad with tomato, lambs quarter, and pepper. Even more recipes came to mind once we had food in our garden.
Over the next few months, we often left the garden with handfuls of cherry tomatoes. We also picked the other types of tomatoes, though the cherry tomatoes grew faster. The heirlooms took the longest to ripen, though they had a lot of flavor. If we did not pick the tomatoes when they were yellow or red, the birds and other animals ate them first. We often found half eaten tomatoes on the ground. A bird had pecked a hole in one of the heirloom tomatoes, and a spider built a web in the hole. We also found a tomato plant growing feet away from the garden that probably grew from seeds one of those animals dropped. We only harvested four peppers all season last year. We also harvested and ate the snap bean pods. Out of the herbs we planted, the basil grew the quickest, and often needed harvesting.The lambsquarter was beginning to become the size of a bush, so we got rid of it. By then, it was so large we had to break its stem with a shovel instead of pulling it out of the ground. In 2015, we planted food again, though we will talk about that more in future blog posts.