Putting the Garden in ‘Garden State’
‘Tis the season to be planting, especially in New Jersey! If you’re thinking of planting a vegetable garden, now is the time to stop thinking and start planting!
My grandmother, who lived on 30th street in Union City, had a very small backyard yet half of it was dedicated to a garden. She grew peppers, eggplants, basil (pronounced (“basilico”), peppermint leaves, (which were great in iced tea) and of course, the biggest, plumpest, juiciest tomatoes ever grown, (both plump and beefsteak). We used to just salt the plump tomatoes and snack on them instead of candy. They were so sweet.
The beefsteak tomatoes were so big and round, that a slice from the center would cover a Kaiser roll. My grandmother used these tomatoes, and basil in her famous tomato salad. She used to empty a tray of ice in a bowl, cut up the tomatoes over the ice, (this keeps them crisp), and put fresh garlic, basilica, olive oil and salt on top. Next, she’d cover the bowl with a towel and let the ice melt. When you pair this with a freshly baked Italian “stick” bread, you’ve got a delicious meal!
What’s your favorite home grown Jersey vegetable? What do you plant and which grows the best?