Gardener Terri

“I love to kick off my shoes and get in that dirt!”

Charles, Mariame and Elise in Terry's Garden Plot


Name: Terri Barna

Birthplace: West Philadelphia

Years Gardening: 42 years

Years Gardening at Eastwick: 3 years

Produce grown: Cherry Tomatoes, Grape Tomatoes, Plum Tomatoes, Early Girl Tomatoes, Big Boy Tomatoes, Beef Steak Tomatoes,  Watermelon, Basil

Today, we Rebel Gardeners spent the day at the Eastwick Community Garden getting to know more of our neighbors. We met one gardener by the name of Terri Barna, who is a three year gardener at the Eastwick Community Garden. Terri was born right here in West Philadelphia and recalls fond memories of growing up on 42nd and Lancaster with her family.

Terri’s mom loved growing flowers, roses to be specific, but that surprisingly was not who Terri learned to garden from. It was her grandmother who gave Terri her green thumb. Terri learned how to grow and can tomatoes from her grandmother. Terri told us that ever since she learned the secrets to from her grandmother, “we’ve been growing tomatoes everywhere we went”.

Terry's tomatoes still ripening on the vine

Terri told us how back then supermarkets didn’t have all the food her family wanted and her grandmother’s garden filled in the gaps. When I asked her if she thought supermarkets today still didn’t supply everything people wanted, she told me that they did, but the drawback was all the produce tasted wrong. She especially expressed her discomfort with eating store-bought cucumbers. She never eats their skin because she thinks there are too many preservatives and pesticides in them. Terri told us that in her own garden, “I can take a cucumber right off the vine and just crunch right into it!”.

In relation to the other gardeners, Terri has been gardening for a short time at the Eastwick Community Garden, however, she told us how much she loves the work and the plot itself. Terri told us how before she even began growing at Eastwick, she extensively prepped the soil in her plot. In terms of preparing her plot she told us, “It’s a lot of hard work…a lot of tilling…a lot of fertilizer, and a lot of manure”.

Interestingly enough, Terri does all of her gardening barefoot. When we asked her what she loves the most about gardening, she replied, “I love to kick off my shoes and get in that dirt!”.

Check out the pictures below to see how Terri’s hard work in bare feet has paid off!

Big, beautiful swiss chard growing in Terry's plot

Terry's freshly harvested hot peppers


Terri Barna’s Very Own Canned Tomatoes

  • Whole tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Canning Jars
  • Water

Step 1: Clean and prep the tomatoes.

Step 2: Sterilize the jars by filling them with hot water and letting them sit for 10 minutes. Then dump the water out. Keep the jar hot.

Step 3: Take the jar and fill immediately with whole tomatoes .

Step 4: Add very hot water and a few stalks of basil. Terri herself uses Thai basil to sweeten the tomatoes.

Step 5: Remove the air bubbles

  1. Insert a non-metallic utensil and firmly press in the tomatoes

Step 6: Using a clean towel, carefully wipe the jar rim to allow a good seal.

Step 7: Apply the lid and secure it with the screw ring.

Step 8: Place the jar in the canner and fill the canner halfway with water.

Step 9: Heat the canner to 140 degrees farenheit for raw-pack food or to 180 degrees farenheit for hot-pack food.

Step 10: Heat the water in the canner to a full boil.

Step 11: Set a timer for 15 minutes.

Step 12: Cover with lid and reduce the heat enough to keep the water at a gentle boil during processing.

Step 13: When the time is up, turn off the heat and remove the lid of the canner.

Step 14: Place the hot jars on a towel, if there is more than one jar, place them at least one inch apart to allow air to circulate.

Your now canned tomatoes can last a year, enjoy!

*This recipe is a compilation from gardener Barna’s wisdom and canning recipes from The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest by Carol W. Costenbader, Storey Publishing, 2002.¬†

Jul 30, 2012 | Category: Eastwick Community Garden, Garden | Comments: none