Do as I say, not as I do. Why, just the other day I was asked to look at a lovely perennial garden that the owners were thinking of converting to a lovely edible garden.
- I suggested they could do it in stages adding a few edibles at a time. The easy way to do that is to simply substitute an edible plant with the same shape and growth habit of the plant to be removed. I've done that often.
- I mentioned they could have the best of both worlds by changing just a part of it, the center island in this case, to edibles. I've done that in several gardens.
- I told them they should only plant what they really love to eat. Bong!
Oh, the eggplant. Or should I say uggplant. It's complicated.
I love the look of eggplant. Those shiny black purple fruits. I remember painting them in a still life in art class eons ago, stroking layer upon layer of inky color and trying to capture that tiny glint of light on its swollen belly.
It's even better when you call it by its European name...aubergine. For those of you that took Spanish instead of French, that's O-bear-geen. Further note, the g is ghzzz-ed like a poodle named Gigi.
Even the purple flowers are pretty. The silvery broad leaves aren't bad either.
But I wax poetic too long.
Growing them is simple, too simple, if it wasn't so elementary I'd have a better chance of resisting. Unless you're plagued by flea beetles they are one tough plant.
You'd think this being the year of the make-do kitchen garden, I would have given it a pass. But that prolific "Fairy Tale" variety with the cute little lavender-streaked tear-drop shapes, just one, what could it hurt? Well, me. Those spiny bits at the stem cause me to utter awful things. Between them and the prickly cucumbers I'm picking in rubber-coated gloves.
Mine is growing in a pot in a Hades-hot spot in the garden and still, it keeps producing and producing.
So there's the matter of eating them. After eggplant fritters, eggplant parmesan, roasted eggplant, I'm so over eggplant. As my son said, with tomato sauce and cheese, any thing's edible. I even had roasted eggplant and cucumbers at a fancy farm dinner, meh.
A few days ago, I stopped picking them. Guess what, when left too long this variety fades to a sickly shade of puce. Beyond that a bloated icky yellow green that seems to goad. Too bad, I'm done.
I'm sorry, for me eggplant seems to be more of a vehicle for fat than flavor (even after salting and draining and patting with a paper towel). So is it wrong to grow it just for looks? I know, I know, I could donate it.
Lately I've been tossing out things that induce guilt or make me recall painful/embarassing/unhappy events. Should I toss eggplant out of the garden and grow more of what I like, try something new?
What do you think? Is there a veggie/fruit/herb you feel the same about in your garden?