Now that the hockey season is over, it’s time to turn the full volume of our obsessive tendencies to the garden! And as of June 1, things in there are starting to look pretty, well, gardeny.
For starters, there are the potatoes, with the first potato bloom of the season:
The plants themselves, meanwhile, are waist high and outrageously lush:
There’s no more room in the beds to keep mounding these up, so we’re just sitting back and hoping they’ve got enough room to produce crops as impressive as the above-ground show they’re putting on.
Speaking of underground crops that are really hard not to pull up now just to see how they’re doing, the garlic is a veritable jungle. And more exciting than just their foliage is that they’re finally getting scapes.
Scapes are the actual shoots of the garlic plant, and the idea is that you cut them off after they curl (it’s the strangest thing — they grow in a loop-de-loop) to encourage the plant to focus on growing a nice, fat bulb instead. The benefits of this are twofold: you get the aforementioned nice, fat garlic bulb in a month or so, and in the meantime, you get to eat the scapes. They have a mild garlicky flavor, a bit sharper than green garlic, but still nowhere near as powerful as garlic garlic. We love putting them in mashed potatoes, but they’re also, I’m told, great in stir-fries and salads. Last year we didn’t do much with them at all because we were without a refrigerator during the scape harvest and we’d lost our will to live; this year, between the farm’s scapes and ours, we should have way more than we know what to do with. I can’t wait!
Another disappointment last year was our onion crop, in that it was nonexistent. For some reason we had a massive bumper crop our first year as gardeners, and assumed it was a piece of cake to toss onion seeds in the ground and then harvest buckets and buckets of onions later in the summer. Last year we tried that again, the bed got repeatedly ravaged by squirrels, and we harvested not a single onion. So we’d kind of forgotten what happy, growing onions look like.
As it turns out, they seem to go from scraggly, grassy little plants to robust, deep green sturdy plants overnight! We like to anoint the halest and heartiest of each crop “Big Papi”, and there are several onions competing for that honor. What the picture doesn’t show is that our scallions are all competing to see who gets to be considered the biggest failure. It will forever be a mystery how we managed to grow 10,000 scallions our first year, and we’ve sucked colossally at growing them ever since. Oh well! That just leaves more space for the onions to stretch out.
The new crop for us this year is gherkins, and after looking pretty touch-or-go as wee baby seedlings, they’re starting to fill out a bit:
Just a bit. But that is an actual gherkin leaf there!
Ultimately, though, it doesn’t really matter what meets our harvest expectations, because what the garden is really all about is days when it looks like this:
It doesn’t get any better than that.