Having a green thumb must be hereditary. I remember my mother telling me that everything “green,” like plants and fresh flowers, would die nearly the moment they were brought into her presence. I never believed her. I just assumed she didn’t water enough or something. A few years ago, I started my own home garden. I was so excited. My husband built square foot garden beds, we rented a rototiller, I perfectly measured out each square foot of the beds and planted my seedlings just right. Or so I thought. That summer, my 9 heirloom tomato plants yielded three tomatoes. Three. One of which was eaten by a deer mere minutes before I was going to pick it. The next summer I tried again, this time installing chicken wire to deter the critters, mixing in premium soil and homemade compost into the beds. The garden was even worse.
Yes, having a green thumb must be hereditary just as much as not having one is, too!
Well, you won’t find three heirloom tomatoes at Ponte Winery this summer. In fact, you’ll find a whole lot more. Next to the Reserve Room lies Ponte’s own organic vegetable and herb garden. Managed by Vineyard Supervisor and green thumb expert, Jorge Rodriguez, the garden began to take flight just before spring. Like the rest of Ponte’s departments and procedures, the garden was initiated with sustainability in mind. The soil is composed of the winery’s own organic compost and mulch and is mixed with a local chicken manure. To feed the plants and minimize critters, only organic fertilizers and pesticides will be used. To make the garden trellis (and to keep out our cute but very hungry bunnies), Jorge and his team used various leftover vineyard supplies and excess planter containers.
Vineyard Supervisor, Jorge Rodriguez in the Ponte Garden.
Disappointed with the efficiency of our recycled garden fencing. Pondering his next move.
In the garden will be a slew of heirloom varieties of tomatoes (in addition to other delicious veggies – like artichokes and “Chocolate Beauty” bell peppers.) Heirlooms are seeds that have been passed down by generations from all over the world. They are often gnarled and misshapen (compared to the perfectly round and red tomatoes we see in the supermarkets) but come in a gorgeous rainbow of colors and taste leaps and bounds better than any conventional tomato. And the names of these varietals couldn’t be more appetizing: Green Zebra, Pineapple, Copia Striped, Lemon Cherry, Jubilee, Brandywine and more.
The Ponte Garden, just outside the Reserve Room patio.
In order to ensure these beauties will be available in Ponte’s restaurants throughout the entire summer, Jorge and team have planted already-growing plants in addition to seeds. The plants will produce first followed by the plants which come from the seeds.
Coming soon to a Ponte Restaurant salad near you.
What’s a great tomato without fresh herbs? Jorge thought of that, too. Four different types of basil plus Italian parsley and cilantro have been planted. In addition, the garden will produce gourmet baby greens, and three varietals of peppers.
The Reserve Room is open Saturdays and Sundays from 11:00 am to 4:30 pm. Green thumbs not required for admission.
We hope to see you soon!