For me there is a huge benefit to raising my own vegetables: I can enjoy eating them all summer! The freshness of growing my own can’t be beat. Tomatoes in particular are such a treat with fresh basil. With three vegetable gardens on my property, I have an ample supply of food for most of the summer.
My kitchen opens to the patio, which overlooks two of the gardens. I can look out of the kitchen windows to see the progress of the plants. Then I can go into the garden to decide which vegetables are ready to be picked. Since I enjoy cooking, I will plan a meal around what is ripe. The photo shows a recent salad that features many of the tomatoes picked that day.
Early in the season I carefully add compost to the soil, then when the plants are young, I add organic fertilizer to them. I nourish the plants as they grow, then later, they nourish me! It is a wonderful reciprocal relationship that I cherish. It takes months to get to that point, but the effort is worth it. The plants produce vegetables for the entire summer and beyond.
At this point tomatoes are the dominant vegetable, but that will pass. Then the okra and the squash will mature along with the greasy green beans. The earlier crops, such as lettuce, are fading. Fortunately basil starts early and goes all summer. There is always something good and fresh to eat from the garden!