Thomas Jefferson once wrote (in a letter to John Adams) “But though an old man, I am but a young gardener.”
I’m beginning to gain a new appreciation for that quote. Accustomed to gardening in the Texas Gulf Coast, the Hill Country is proving to be a bit more challenging. The acidic gumbo soil I battled for so many years in the southeast has done little to prepare me for the alkalinity of the Hill Country dirt.
There have been some pleasant surprises. Apparently this is the promised land for banana peppers, and the Kale and Swiss Chard are giving us more than we can use.
Of the five varieties of tomato I planted this year, only the San Marzanos are healthy and producing like champs. Especially disappointing are the Carmello tomatoes and the Abraham Lincolns, both heirloom slicers. There are a handful of Carmellos on spindly vines, and not a single Abe Lincoln. Next year I’ll have to try different varieties. That’s part of gardening though, isn’t it? You try new things until you discover the perfect combination of vigor, production and taste. Someday I’ll have a complete list of go-to varieties for all the fruits and vegetables I grow, but until then I’m enjoying the journey.