Just a quick reminder that the garden is closed for the regular season. I wouldn’t want anyone to show up and find me still in my pajamas on this rainy day! I’ll be in touch if and when I have enough of something (maybe spinach) to sell. Be well,
This is it, the final market this year. The garden gave us her all. She is just about all picked out but remarkably we still have tomatoes, green beans and a handful of zucchini. The season started out with lots of greens and some troublesome groundhogs. We’ll be closing it out the same way. Kale seems to be the delicacy of choice for the groundhogs but they left us some and it’s in prime form along with all the other greens.
Working in the garden and seeing you all each week proved to be a real salve for a turbulent year, keeping me grounded and connected. Thank you for your presence and support!
Here’s hoping we can see the year out peacefully and in good health,
The garden continues to wind down. I expect next week will be the final market. Farmer and plants are in sync. We are a little slower to perk up after a cold night. We’re slowing down. We’re not in the same rush to get going and get the job done. The commitment is there but with a little less energy behind it. It’s a natural cycle repeated year after year.
I dug the rest of the potatoes including some nice purple Magic Molly. We still have some tomatoes but just a few. As their last hurrah, the eggplants put out some real beauties.
There’s some awfully pretty produce this week, no doubt about it. But, time and temperatures are taking their toll on our hard working plants. We are nearing the end of the season. The recent cold nights, including an early light frost have given way to warmer days and nights again. The seesaw temps are tough on our little buddies, especially the ones who have been producing for a couple of months like the beans and zucchini.
Powdery mildew covers the zucchini and zinnias. This will be the last harvest for the basil. The frost nipped it and it won’t recover. The “hardest working plant in the garden” award goes to the pole beans. They’ve been producing all season long but are finally tuckered out. They did us proud. I’m expecting that next week will be the final market but we might make it another week after that as well.
This is a great week to make your own salad mix. We’ll have abundant greens starting with some young lettuce. Mix in a couple or all of the following: arugula, asian greens, kale, chinese cabbage, and baby bok choy. Make it tangy or mellow to your liking. Finish it off with fresh herbs…zing!
Sungold, Juliet, Big Beef, Chocolate Sprinkles. These are the names of some of the varieties of tomatoes in the garden this year. A good name should be representative of the plant or fruit, maybe be a little romantic, and mostly make you want to eat it. My dream job would be to trial new varieties by growing, eating, and naming them!
Somebody messed up on this one. Green 70 D Improved? What kind of a name is that? It’s an Asian green. A choi sum to be exact. I wanted to trial some new greens so I bought a packet despite it’s name. Here’s the description from the seed catalog: Choi sums are among the most popular vegetables in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China. The stems are a vibrant bright green, very sweet and tender, and are usually harvested just as the first few buds are opening. The stems regrow for cut-and-come-again harvest. Excellent in stir-fries, steamed, or in soups. I have only a few bunches for those willing to look past it’s name and give it a try.
Not great, but they did a better job naming Carlton. A Very dark green komatsuna. Traditionally used in Japan either steamed and seasoned with soy sauce, or in stir fries and soups. It is also excellent braised or, at the baby leaf stage, used in salads. I would have called it Sugoi. Roughly translated, it means amazed or awestruck.
It still feels like summer for the most part but subtle shifts are taking place. The light is beginning to change as the sun lowers in the sky, deepening the afternoon shade in the garden. The days are warm but the edge is off the heat. Cooler nights made for good sleeping with open windows are just around the corner. I like the transitional moments. A foot in two worlds, neither here nor there. Anticipation and nostalgia holding hands.
The garden is clearly of two worlds right now. The cucumbers, devouring their trellis in lush green vines just two weeks ago, now are all but dead with the summer squash not too far behind. The sweet potato vines sense an opening and grow towards the trellis reaching it just as the cucumbers are taking their last gasp. Will they climb it or keep moving under it to challenge the remaining potatoes? The greens are invigorated and ready to fill in the gaps the summer crops leave as they decline. I’m grateful to them to them all.
It’s the start of round two for greens. This week kale makes a comeback. We’ll have bunches of the kale mix above as well as some curly kale. Arugula returns this week as well. With cooler weather arriving this weekend all the young greens I planted a few weeks ago will be silently singing with joy. This will be the last week of a considerable cucumber harvest. Last chance for pickles! The green beans are beauties this week and the miniature butternut squash called Honeynut are coming in strong and sweet.
Who doesn’t love sweet potatoes? Sweet potato pie is one of my all time favorite dishes. Besides their wonderful flavor, they are especially healthy. Bonus!! I’ve planted some this year and they are doing well but they won’t be harvested until sometime in October. The leaves of the sweet potato vine are also edible. In fact, in some parts of Asia and Africa sweet potatoes are grown for the leaves rather than the tubers. They are an excellent source of antioxidants and contain high levels of vitamin A and C, as well as riboflavin, thiamin, folic acid and niacin. Sweet potato vine leaves also provide impressive amounts of fiber, along with calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, potassium and iron. That’s a lot of healthy in a little leaf. I’ve been curious about them for a while and finally picked some for dinner this evening. I have read that they can be a little bitter so it’s best to blanch them first before doing a quick saute. Since I wanted to taste them without flavors I simply cooked them, including the stems, in boiling water for 3 or 4 minutes and ate them plain. They were not bitter at all. They resembled spinach somewhat but with a brighter, earthier taste. I’ll have some at the market tomorrow for the adventurous.
But, it beats the alternative. It’s been a challenging week at our little homestead. Two separate trips to the ER, one for me and one for Mark. We’re both ok and neither were Covid related! It seems wasps truly are our mortal enemy. To lighten things up ask about the groundhog story when you come for veggies today. It’s a real doozy.
It was another too hot week in my humble opinion. The greens did not appreciate it. We’ll have a handful of lettuces but most them bolted. We’ll have to wait a few weeks for the fall greens to come in for more abundance.