Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The market outside my back door

I've decided that going out to the garden and deciding what to cook with each day, is really a very enjoyable way to "shop". These days I do this every morning, and am doing very little else by way of maintenance or shopping for that matter. Certainly a temporary state- but so very nice just the same. Actually I admit that I continue to transplant fall seedlings into the new bed. I also can't claim credit for all of our vegetables as we have a lovely large share from Cure every week, but I have more than reached my goal of supplementing this share with food from Whole Foods. Staples continue to be a problem, but we'll get there one day.

Meanwhile, I am regularly harvesting:

-Amaranth (one amaranth plant produces lots of greens, even by my standards!)

-Beets (I'm harvesting beets up to 2 inches in diameter with generally lovely tops although not without insect damage now and then)

-Swiss chard (another reliable producer of greens)

-New Zealand spinach (this took a long time and some good hot weather to get going- now it's producing regularly)

-Savoy cabbage


-Bunching onions

-Broccoli (the sprouting broccoli keeps sending up broccoli heads- I've had lots of these from the four plants I planted in the spring)

-Zucchini (almost daily- one good sized zucchini from one plant being marginalized by enormous tomato plants)

-Celeriac tops (We have lots and lots of celeriac. The tops, although fibrous, can be sliced up across the grain and added to add wonderful celery ambiance to salads, casseroles, soups, lasagna, etc.) Later I hope the roots will store well for fall or winter eating.

-Basil, chives, peppermint

Ripening currently:

-Tomatoes: San Marzano, Pineapple, Purple Cherokee, yellow pear. The largest tomatoes look to be about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. All green so far. One spare cherry tomato plant in back bed is ripening tomatoes now.

-Pumpkins: Russ' white pumpkin plant has two good-sized pumpkins and possibly a third coming along.

-Watermelons: Russ has two hanging from a trellis and they might be ready..

-Corn: Russ will determine what he wants to do with his ears of corn. Most stalks are producing two ears.

-Peppers: Not many, but big. Three on one small plant that never seemed very vigorous. The peppers are turning from green to red now.

-Potatoes: Not least of which include bonus potato plants that volunteered in my garden compost bin. These were potatoes that had sprouted in the vegetable bin in the fridge and subsequently composted, and I wouldn't have decided to let them go once I observed the characteristic foliage coming out of vents in the side of the bin, except that I realised that these were from potatoes grown in Colorado that I had gotten in the winter at Whole Foods and were likely locally adapted. Not so Idaho potatoes.... Anyway, the plants are vigorous and lurking inside the compost bin should be some lovely potatoes come harvest time...

-Beans: We have several varieties of beans planted in every location I could tuck them in and most have beans on them. We are planning on letting them dry on the vine and then cook with them in the winter. Cure provides us with more than enough fresh beans this time of year so we have no trouble leaving ours alone to mature and dry. As we've found that the "fresh" dry beans we've grown in our garden and those we've obtained at the farmer's market from Abbondonza have been much better than those we've gotten from Whole Foods given identical treatment (we pressure cook ours), and as the local supply is inadequate, I decided that this would be a protein-rich crop I could focus on producing. Next year I want to put up more trellis for beans and increase my production.

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