I had moved out of my apartment in Astoria and was living in my parents' house for a couple of weeks before I flew out to Colorado. Since my last writeup, the garden had seriously flourished. Back in May, it had looked like this:
Now it was August, and that bare soil had become home to plenty of different fruits and vegetables.
There were cucumbers—dark green, spiny, and seedless. Delicious plain, in salads, or served grated with soba.
Chives, which are good in fillings for steamed bao.
A variety of purple basil, which I think might not have been an intentional planting. Since we bury our compost, seeds sometimes take root in the soil randomly.
Bitter melon, which my mom likes to cook in a clear soup with Taiwanese preserved pineapples and chicken pieces. I don't like bitter melon in many other ways, but the soup is delicious.
And for me, the highlight: sweet, juicy tomatoes that I eat still warm from the sun. I wait for these all year—I hate those pale, hard, styrofoam balls being sold as "tomatoes" in supermarkets these days.
It's too cold now and the season is over, but each year I look forward to the summer hoard. The flavors and textures, especially in the tomatoes, are much more vibrant. All these vegetables ever need is a rinse to loosen stray crumbs of dirt; again, there are no pesticides or artificial fertilizers involved. For my parents, the garden takes plenty of hard work, but the bounty is definitely worth it.