How Does Our Garden Grow?

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.



Filed under 6. June, Garden

12 responses to “How Does Our Garden Grow?

  1. HG

    The Gardens of Maple Hoo look awesome! Almost like the Butchart Gardens! I’d link it but I don’t remember the code… Oh wells…

  2. I just googled the Butchart Gardens, and they’re like a mirror image of Maple Hoo! It’s uncanny!

  3. Maple Hoo is like Butchart Gardens… ONLY BETTER!

  4. HG

    I know! As soon as I saw the potato bloom! Maple Hoo looks a little more hayfever-friendly though.

  5. Oh, we don’t permit any hayfever at Maple Hoo. It all has to stop right at the property line.

  6. Liz

    What beautiful beds! Were the beds and fence there before you moved in or is that all your work?

  7. Thanks, Liz! It was all our work. Our neighbors looked at us like we were crazy when we were out sodbusting to put all the beds in (admittedly, they did look like coffins), then they gritted their teeth when it was overgrown around the edges and fenced with deer netting (admittedly, it did look assy), and they’ve been surprisingly outspoken about how cool the whole endeavor is in general. As for the fence, we always had visions of a fancy white town fence and pea gravel paths, and then our tree service came along and killed every single bush and shrub in our foundation plantings around the house. The insurance settlement ended up being for mature plants, which we weren’t about to pay to put in, so we suddenly had a windfall to spend on the garden. It was very lucky for us, and the whole thing ended up looking both exactly how we’d imagined, and totally, totally differently. It’s a good thing we have no plans of ever moving, though, because it might make the house tricky to sell, since it’s in the front yard, no more than ten feet from the front door. :P

  8. Sarah

    we got scapes this week at the farm-10! We had two of them chopped up and sauteed with spinach and some broccoli rabe we also got. Looking forward to that old favorite-scape mashed potatoes!

  9. You got scapes from the farm already?! I’m so jealous!

  10. Ooooh! Farm scapes! WOOOOOOO!!!!! I think we’re going to be able to harvest a few of ours this weekend. Yummy!

  11. Liz

    We picked up some green garlic scapes at our CSA in Brooklyn today. I had no idea what to do with them but was given two suggestions: in soup with potatos (a la potato and leek soup) or to grill the greens. Sounds yummy but as apartment dwellers we are grill-less.


    Hey, can you tell me – on or off the comments – about your high end watering can? What did you get and where?

  12. I totally wouldn’t turn on the stovetop, either! Scapes are great raw in salads, too — they’re pretty much delicious however you want to eat them. I bet they’d be tasty in cream cheese, as a dip or spread…

    As for the watering cans, our “fancy” ones are from Gardeners Supply — Here’s the link. We’d previously been using cheap-o plastic cans with faulty sprinkler mouth thingies; it makes such a difference to have a higher quality faceplate, and a larger capacity!

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