On an August day in 1994, Carl Klaus stood with his basket overflowing, gazing at his large vegetable garden. "Gazing because it's the day I've been waiting for since the first hard frost of last year--the day when all these warm-weather plants are pumping out their fruit again, all at the same time."
So many days, so many hours devoted to bringing on so many vegetables all at once that he is overwhelmed by vegetables--more than he and his wife can eat, freeze, can, or even give away.
Several times each year, Klaus asks himself why he does it. But none of the obvious answers convey what he goes through in the garden or why he goes through it, day after day, month after month, year after year. In an effort to make sense of it, he resolved to take stock of his garden and his gardening every day during the gardening year of 1995.
The result is this completely delightful memoir of life in the back year, a new gardening classic. But this book is about more than a garden--it's about all of the things that influence this gardener: the weather, the neighborhood, his wife's possibly recurring cancer, the changing nature of the academic community, his impending retirement, his children, his grandchildren; about the last months in the life of his twenty-year-old cat; about his dog, his gardening friends, and all the other human and animal inhabitants of his gardening world.
A love of good food and of cooking is a special and delicious feature of this memoir. (Klaus spices things up in the kitchen as eagerly as he tends things in the garden.) Both he and his wife are clearly imaginative and impassioned cooks, turning everything he grows into memorable meals that he vividly describes throughout the book.