I had luckily thought to take a floppy sunhat, and we trudged through tall weeds lining the path to the plot. A quick glance at the plants showed us that there were beans and more beans, a few zucchinis starting to grow, and bountiful butternut squashes on our friend's side of the plot, along with towering corn and man-size tomato plants.
Picking beans was hard work, you have to squat down, lift up each plant gently and check under all leaves, carefully snapping each bean from its stem. Even though we had only a baker's dozen of those, it took me a full half hour to remove all the larger beans from them. I started to feel a new appreciation for those unnamed laborers who picked the masses of supermarket beans that I routinely buy. All that work, and probably not for much pay either!
A few weeks later, disaster struck the bean plants, in the form of the yellow Mexican jumping beetle. They ate the leaves right down to the lacy veins, and the plants stopped producing. But by then, we had already picked ample beans (about 10 lbs) from those, we were fortunate to have started the plants early enough that we had already harvested a decent amount from them. We just pulled out the plants and scrapped them in a nearby lot.
In the weeks that followed, other garden bounty included four humongous but surprisingly easy to cook zucchini( we gave away 2), large bunches of kale. Our friend chipped in with giving us a couple of butternut squashes and lots of end-of-season cherry tomatoes.
My little home garden produced a respectable amount of tomatoes, around 2 lbs, of which I gave away some to friends, slowly ripened and used up the rest. A chili plant that I had wintered indoors and set outside in the summer actually came back to life and produced a handful of fairly spicy chilis, so I was happy that I had managed to save it from the local groundhog last year. My husband also tried planting radishes in another sunny spot, and we feasted on some red radishes and greens with definitely more 'bite' in their flavor than the large bland ones we got from the grocery stores.
So another year of gardening is set to start soon, we will no doubt try some old favorites and maybe a new variety or two, maybe even some Indian vegetable favorites like bitter gourd (if I can get my hands on some certified seeds)
Can't wait for spring to get started on some seedlings!