The summer of 1999 brought Maine some of its best weather in years. During the months of March, April, and May we enjoyed spring instead of our usual mud season. And the summer was filled with sunshine and hot temperatures. This meant that many of us who had unsuccessfully attempted to grow vegetables in the past experienced some incredible successes.
For me, this was quite a change. My tomatoes had never grown bigger than Ping- Pong balls or become pink until deep into autumn. My attempts at broccoli and cauliflower had just produced a new breed of insect, and my farming of lettuce resulted in more weeds than plants. In the past I had watched the green leaves of my carrots grow tall and healthy. I couldn't wait until the time came to pull them up. Naturally I was shocked to see that they were approximately one inch long and had an ever-so-slight yellow-orange color.
But somehow I knew that this year was going to be different. I tilled my garden and filled it with compost and fresh soil. I planted three different types of tomatoes, eggplant, beans, zucchini, summer squash, cucumbers, butternut squash, acorn squash, pumpkin, peppers, and an assortment of herbs.
The only mistake I made was that I never labeled the plants. A mistake that still haunts me.
My garden became a forest late in July. I didn't know where the tomato plants ended and my eggplant began. Also, what I thought eggplant looked like was not what it became. Instead of a deep purple vegetable that bulged at the bottom, my eggplants looked like fingers. The color was correct but the shape concerned me.
My squash also grew out of control. If I don't see another summer squash for at least a couple of years, that might be too soon. I grilled them, steamed them, baked them, and attempted to give them away.