Let the Sun Shine…
It is 87 degrees in the shade at 10:30 am. Tomorrow is supposed to be hotter. The Relative humidity is around 80%. So yeah, it’s hot and muggy. What did you expect in rural North Carolina?
This week we harvested dill, rosemary, and sage. Herb harvests have settled in to become a weekly thing, and so I’m taking to flavoring what we eat accordingly.
We harvested some heads of celery, snowpeas, the rest of the broccoli. We have finished harvesting all our mature lettuces. We harvested cauliflower, and have still a head or two before we’re done with them for the spring. We harvested the rest of the garlic scapes, and froze most of them.
Curing Garlic 1
Curing Garlic 2
Also, we did our Garlic Harvest, all hardnecks:
45 French Rose
28 Purple Glaze
22 Brown Tempest
13 Random Bulbs of the above 3 (last week)
03 Green Garlic (previous harvest, eaten)
111 Garlic Total. This is very close to the number that we planted October 17th, and we’re counting garlic as a rousing success. Surprising and happy-making because it was the first time either of us has fooled with garlic. A local farmer is using a piece of lattice to hang and cure their garlic on, so we followed suit and hung some plastic netting on a cattle panel under our screened porch to cure them. With any luck, this will give us enough garlic to eat for at least half a year, plus enough seed garlic to plant most of this fall’s crop, though we are planning on supplementing this with some softnecks from a local source that has been growing one particular variety as seed stock (and eating stock) for over 25 years.
This weekend we are planting: running conch field peas (cow peas), Henderson bush baby lima beans, old Dutch half-runner green beans (these bear profusely and accounted for a plurality of our green beans last year), Yukon gold potatoes. These are going into the garlic boxes and broccoli and cauliflower boxes. The potatoes are going into a radish and carrot box which has been resting for about a month. We had to amend our planting plan because the snowpeas are still producing and we didn’t want to tear them up.
We have tomatoes ripening on the vine, 3 of them are red already, all Bloody Butchers. The san marzano tomatoes are growing nicely. I predict tomato biscuits in my future. There is nothing like biting into a hot fresh biscuit with a slice of a real tomato that has been salted and peppered with a dab of butter melting over it. We get our butter from the dairy 4 miles down the road and I find that it compares favorably with most European butters that are available in the fancier grocery stores locally.
Acorn squash and yellow squash are lurking behind golden blossoms. Zucchini and butternuts are not far behind.
The haricot vert are in full bloom. Hopefully the green bean deluge will begin soon.
Haricot Vert in Bloom
Cucumbers and climbing squash are attempting to take over the world with their little pale green clutching tendrils. I find myself talking to them as I would to a pet (or myself) as I alternatively scold and encourage them to grow properly up the cattle panels, and not through the border fencing or into the neighboring bush squash.
We have actual peppers on the vines, in this case, cayennes. Oh those practical, prolific, satisfying hot peppers that make you feel like you might know what you’re doing. In my humble opinion these are easier to grow than radishes anytime, if someone is a beginning gardener.
We’ve killed 2 more voles in traps in the past 10 days. Vole depredations are down again, perhaps our continued efforts are actually whittling them down. The warfarin we get from Kaput is now being applied every 4 days rather than only when we get an outbreak. I worry about our hawks that live near us, but just yesterday both of them were overflying the garden and the yard as usual. The local squirrel population doesn’t seem to have been affected yet, and they are the only other critters that we regularly see in the garden. Just this morning we watched from our windows as one in the potato box scaled a potato plant, and balancing delicately, swayed back and forth, then jumped out over the fencing. He jumped twice and landed on a t-post on the celery box, perched there and chattered, then leapt down into this box as well. We ran out onto the screen porch and hollered at him: the celery box is littered with mouse traps and buried warfarin – he cleared out in a hurry at the unwanted introduction of the crazy humans.
We’re not sure what to do with extra celery leaves. Neither of us thinks they will freeze as well as the stalks, and we’re not sure that they can be dried and used effectively either, though we are likely to try. We have more leaves than we can chop and eat this week, so please, if you have any suggestions, leave a comment.
In the Celery Forest
Welcome to the Jungle
Soil worked Box ready for planting