As summer winds down, anyone with access to a farmer’s market, a roadside produce stand, or, even better, a small garden plot of your own, has an opportunity to enjoy a bit of the bounty of fresh, local, tasty fruits and vegetables. When I was growing up, in the rolling hills of Upstate South Carolina, we always had a big garden, and by mid-August we were in full harvest mode—daily gathering tomatoes, beans, peas, sweet corn, cantaloupes, and my favorite—large, deep green, round watermelons.
By this time, we would have accumulated a sizeable pile of melons in the shady backyard and would usually slice one every afternoon, often as a pre-dinner snack after we got home from the swimming hole. Sometimes we took a melon to the creek with us, set it to cool in the water for an hour or so and cracked it open to enjoy before heading home.
This summer, I’ve enjoyed the best tomatoes I’ve ever grown, more yellow squash than I know what to do with, some good peppers, an abundance of cucumbers and am waiting on four or five small watermelons to finally ripen. All this bounty came from two raised beds measuring about 6 feet by 3 feet.
Here are a few photos of the 2016 backyard crop. The cantaloupe, sadly, is store bought. Maybe next year.