Sunday, July 31, 2011

three sisters and a brother

It is a jungle in there.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

back, and

So we're back and:

It rained, and still most of the winter seeds didn't come up.  I assumed this was because with all my careful potting soil pile-making, I smothered the little guys.  But touching the soil today (as I did it all again, but messier this time as is my wont) it felt so smashed and hard, I have to guess that the rain that pounded us out at the camp pounded Portland, too, and made a shell over the seeds...

This is a promising idea because to my great shock the carrot seeds in bed #2 did come up, as did all the stuff that was seeded under some sort of protection (ie giant brassica leaves)...

More mysteries:

The chard got that damn leaf fungus that it always gets.  I cut as much as could be saved and cooked it up.  Lots of fancy french stems.  Tried to ask the internet what it is, but - strangely - the scientists seem unsure.  The gardeners think it is leaf miners.  Wha?

Beans grow faster than corn.  Who knew.  When planting three sisters, try planting corn first.  That is my advice.

These beautiful but stupid poppies, which decided to grow all up in the bushes and bloom and then fall immediately to pieces in the rain.  And they are red and super double, when I wish they were white or yellow or even purple, and single.  But I am with Jan Cox, who does not kill volunteers unless they are taking over.  God bless volunteers.

Could the boxes on the North side still need more organic matter?  They absorb water so poorly, and then dry out immediately.  But they are raised beds!  What you get, I guess, when you use planting space which is not yours and was planned by the kind of people who make raised beds out of treated lumber.  Who knows what they put in there.

All of these are pictures from this time last year.  When I was doing the same thing I am doing now.  Beautifully in touch with the cycles of life?  Or dismally repetitive?  You decide.  Those onions look good though, right?  I gotta make that marinated tempeh this week, cuz here comes the cucumbers...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

hold on

Saturday, July 9, 2011

free stone fruit

Three girls with me on food pick-up; we had fun.  Car a little sticky.

Later, stayed up too late; burned jam, burned pan; unwilling to add more sugar (also unwilling to use pectin); canned something you might call "sauce."  Still a lot of "sauce" in the pan today, waiting for someone to buy more lids, add sugar, bring it to 220 already, and clean the fuck up.  

But, there's not a single fruit fly in this house.  Not yet, anyway.

Still so many many plums especially and I know I should bake, but generally I am annoyed that it is necessary to add sugar to the sweetest fruit there is to get it et.  So stand at the sink and drip from your elbows.  That's my plan.

Zelda (on board; drips from her knees) ate all three perfect white nectarines, plus two less than perfect peaches.  Jeff, not a dripper, does not trust jam that won't stay on his toast.  Perhaps Patrick has a use for stone fruit sauce?

and fall to come so soon

Seeding the fall garden.  In the first weeks of July.  Always such an odd activity.  It's finally truly hot; we haven't eaten a single squash from the yard; what tomatoes there are are green - and I'm planting for November.  Behind the peas and favas come cauliflower and kale.  What summer?  I have my standard kit, plus a bucket of potting soil to cover the seeds because I think it helps germination rates.  I'll water twice a day until I leave on Wednesday to camp, and if the weather is perfect for my birthday, they'll dry out just as they pop from their cases, and I'll come home to nothing and begin again.  So strange to be battling the very weather we all need in order to grow food, to grow food.

 I did fill in seeding in the center bed on Thursday without potting soil, so we'll see how that goes.  The soil there seems strangely un-absorbent, and of course I put in carrot seed.  If I didn't have that free carrot seed I'd never try.  Stupid carrots.  The arugula, on the other hand, is already up.  God bless arugula.  Weed-food.  The best kind.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

spring over

Fond farewells for spring.  Dinner eaten in the front yard with H&P&AB, since the deck is basically a tanning bed.  Marvelous that we can even have that in this climate, but you can hardly bear to be out there after two, let alone eat off the scalding slab of black marble that is the table.  It feels truly Mediterranean, though - a baking plaza at siesta, or a clean, blonde beach tacked on to the back of our house.

Today I will pull out the peas and favas and put in the beginnings of the fall garden.  Also, boil the pea pods with some parsley stems for stock.

Greens: purple sprouting/kale cross, and that crazy broad-leaved Italian thing (both from Hillsdale market -- those starts were beautiful, and have done so well.  More next year, along with the name of the farm, and also the varieties.), and the lovely chard in row #3 which is Seed Savers Silverbeet, not the old Territorial stuff of which I am suspicious.  The brassicas were starting to get aphids, so into the pan with garlic, red chili, white wine, chicken stock.  Damn, can I eat a lot of greens.

White beans with oil and herbs: three kinds of thyme, two of oregano, golden marjoram, sage, chives, parsley (forgot the tarragon).

Risotto with fresh peas.  

So much food, we didn't even grill the favas.  Tonight then.  Nora will be surprised.

Monday, July 4, 2011

we went back to the farm, again

No planes in the sky.  Nothing paved.  The water tastes like water, full and velvety on the tongue.  

I heard a lot of chickens, also goats crying.  I saw some hawks, breathed some grass seed, ate some kohlrabi.  

Our phones didn't work.  

Hello, frogs, humping the hills with your voices.  Hello, barn swallows, slicing the evening sky.  There's Robert, doing his rounds.

Many things there are so, so much more the way they should be there.  But we were ready to come back home, all of us, to our little piece of land, with neighbors and friends close at hand.  There is no way to happiness, I guess, as they say.  

Though I do miss the taste of that water.

problems, i recall, do happen and some for apparently no reason

Sometimes children put rocks in your garden.  No biggie.

 This brassica mosaic thing, though, is going nowhere.  It looks like aphids, but there are no aphids.  Aphids, I don't really mind.  It's what I get for growing brassicas in the summer in a climate that will grow brassicas happily all the rest of the year.  But this mosaic thing I think is soil borne, so even though it has yet to completely stunt a crop, it bothers me.  

This stuff was all over the chard last year.  Also some of the spinach.  In the middle row.  When I grew - and harvested - perfect chard is row #3 this year, I thought our problems were over.  But it is still there in the middle row, and beans can catch it.

Chard looks nice, though, huh?

Also, incredible un-evenness in the corn growth in row #1.  Is this standard?  The big corn year I must have just seeded like mad and then thinned.  Which I did not do this year, as is rather evident.  Stupid, wind pollinated corn.  Let's look at the big corn year.

Yeah.  Taken on the 14th of July.  So, that was kind of a different year, all around. 
(Look at that sunflower!!!)

the reign of the butterhead comes sharply to an end

And now I recall:

For a while, you can't eat anything but butterhead.  My, you think, but this tastes exactly like butter!

On the solstice, you wonder why they haven't bolted.

The next day, they all bolt (but one) and taste like cat food.

And so begins the reign of the loose leaf.