Well almost fully planted. Today I put in the cucumbers (two Tokiwa slicers, three Pickling cucumbers), squash (one each Zucchini, Honeynut, Butternut and Delicata), two Asian eggplant seedlings, four Italian basil and three Tulsi sacred basil plants. Against the fence, I sowed Zinnias (Queen Lime Red, Large Mixed), cosmos (Sulferous, Rubenza), and I also planted nasturtium in between the tomatoes. I then covered everything with hay. I also harvested two heads of head lettuce.
We are starting our next heat wave here in Boston, but I still went to the garden this morning to weed for two and a half hours. Long overdue. I had bought field hay to mulch two years ago, and the hay had seed heads. Now I have grass everywhere.
The summer garden has been somewhat disappointing this year so far. Other than tomatoes, not much is thriving. Zucchini died. Eggplants are a now-show. Cucumbers are a total fail; I got three “globes” and one decent-size one from six plants. I do think the heat is to blame, at least for the cucumbers. The kale and chard are very short for some reason. The winter squash is looking okay, I see many flowers but no fruit yet. But then again, I started the garden very late this year.
Yesterday, we had our first real rain in weeks. There was a big and beautiful thunderstorm moving through the area and everyone was celebrating. It is really scary how dry it has been.
My first Black Strawberry tomatoes are ripening. They are so beautiful. And very tasty.
I am still incorporating vegetables from my garden into our dinners. Here are a few from last week. I made this delicious spaghetti with brown butter and butternut squash, for which I used squash and garlic from my garden plus sage and parsley from my back porch. I adapted the recipe and roasted the squash to bring out its sweetness.
We also had our DIY salad bar, where the last cucumber of the season found its end. Other ingredients were tomatoes, roasted carrots, hard-boiled eggs, leftover chicken, avocado, cheeses and lettuce, all topped with a creamy white balsamic vinaigrette. The garlic ciabatta was made with garlic from my garden.
I made a veggie pizza where I used up roasted broccoli, carrots and onions from another meal. These veggies were nestled on a bed of sauteed garlicky Swiss chard (the last of the season) and topped with cheeses. Chard and garlic came from my garden. I always make the pizza dough according to this recipe.
I also made quesadillas that were filled with sauteed peppers from the garden (plus onions and fresh tomatoes), another batch of butternut squash soup, and rice & beans with garlic from the garden and the last home-grown bell peppers.
The season of home-grown meals is coming to an end. I now only have butternut squash, shallots and garlic in my pantry and leeks in my garden as well as herbs.
We had our fall work day in the community garden this past Saturday. We mostly weeded, cleaned and got the garden ready for winter. There was a big patch of Jerusalem artichokes in the flower bed we adopted and we needed to take them out. Some of them came home with me and made it into this small bouquet.
This morning, I spent an hour in the garden weeding and harvesting. My plan was to harvest the potatoes but alas, I got only a handful of small fingerlings. Most of the potatoes I had planted never became a plant and I suspect those pill bugs that are so abundant in my soil are responsible :(. This is the second year of no potatoes and I think I will not plant any next year. Very sad as I was looking forward to some roasted fingerlings.
I did however harvest some huge cucumbers, a bunch of tomatoes and my golden beets.
Some things to look forward to:
Today, I cleaned my cured garlic and braided some of the softnecks into a garlic braid. A few softneck heads were kind of softish and had brown areas and the cloves had separated. Those were not braided and I plan to use them up first (I have been using them since the harvest a few weeks ago).
Overall I harvested 16 heads of hardneck garlic and 18 heads of softnecks. Not bad but I was hoping for a few more. The braid now hangs in my pantry.
I planted arugula on my porch on April 6. It had been so cold and wet these past weeks that those little guys had a hard time growing. Finally, on May 6, spring seemed to have started at last.
Not much happened during the month of May. The plants stayed tiny because it was still wet and cold (there was even snow one day in Central Massachusetts!). I thinned the bed on May 25th.
At the end of May, the temperatures started to steadily stay in the upper sixties / low seventies during the day. The plants did not like the sudden heat on my southwest-facing porch and bolted.
I composted the whole lot. Well, at least I got a delicious lunch out of it. Maybe if I try it again next year, I will grow them in a shadier cooler spot to prevent bolting. And I sure hope for a “normal” spring.
Finally, spring is here. It has been so cold and wet these past weeks, everything in my garden is late. So far, I have only planted peas, spinach, radishes, carrots and lettuce in my plot. The rhubarb is coming up as are the first spears of asparagus.
I went to Allendale Farm this morning to get herbs for my back porch. I indeed got parsley, sage and thyme, but they were out of rosemary. I also got a six-pack each of basil, cauliflower and “Buttercrunch” head lettuce. I will plant a couple of the basil and lettuce cells in pots on my porch. The rest will go into my plot together with the cauliflower and some parsley.
I also got some flowers: lavender “Kew Red” and Osteospermum. Both are planted in containers on the back porch. And I purchased dahlia tubers (the one I overwintered in the basement did not survive – I forgot to keep them moist throughout the winter), garden twine, labels, environmentally-friendly insecticidal soap (to keep the aphids in check) and organic fish & seaweed fertilizer.