Daily Archives: July 6, 2008

Midsummer Garden Update

It being 4th of July weekend, it seemed like a good time to take our camera out into the heavy, humid great outdoors and take a look at the progress of Maple Hoo’s bouteous bounty. This is about as lush as the garden’s going to look this year:

The potato thicket is bustin’ out of the back of the fence:

And the volunteer pumpkin at the front door is starting to make plans to eat the house:

The volunteer pumpkin at the other side of the door isn’t quite as impressive yet, but we have high hopes for it still.

Meanwhile, the actual, intentional pumpkin patch out front is… doing only okay. We half-assed the planting this year, and then totally neglected it, so it’s pretty well overrun with weeds.

Almost none of the seedlings we put out there did anything, but we have some robust volunteers growing like gangbusters, and a handful of full-on pumpkins we’re starting to keep our eyes on.

And speaking of volunteers that just won’t quit, two years ago we planted “pocket melons”, little melons that are a hair bigger than golf balls that were grown in Victorian times to carry around in your pocket. They don’t taste like anything, but they are delightfully aromatic, and would be trucked around for their perfume. We grew them for fun, and must have left a few in the patch by accident, because, lo and behold, for the second straight year we’re getting them without trying.

In the orchard, only one of the ten apple trees is growing any apples — here’s one of the Enterprise’s massive bumper crop (read: “six or so little bug-eaten fruits”):

Meanwhile, inside the garden fence, things are looking great for the gherkins we thought were never going to amount to anything. Here’s bed with a calypso bean plant, the three gherkin plants, and our most giant black plum tomato:

The gherkins proper have stopped looking like fingernail-sized, eensy-weensy sweet pickles and now look like finger-sized sweet pickles.

I was having fun trying to take artsy pictures of the plant today…

…and when I focused on one of the flowers…

…look what flitted in long enough to strike a pose then disappear off to more flowery pastures!

The Black Plum there is starting, like all the other tomato plants, to eagerly pump out fruits that can’t wait to be made into delicious sauce.

We left a handful of radishes in the corner of one bed to see what would happen when they went to seed, and they’ve developed these totally wacky seed pods in among their pretty pink flowers.

Elsewhere in that bed, we’re learning why you’re supposed to take the first few flowers off your pepper plants. Our tiny little nardello plants are being weighed down by their ever-huger peppers.

The big news today, though, was the harvesting. We took up the remaining two Desiree potatoes and the three All Blue plants, as well as the rest of the garlic (Chesnok Red and Persian Star).

The yield was just over ten pounds of potatoes:

And a counter covered with garlic:

After we were done digging up the garlic and potato beds, we went around to the side of the house to check on our blueberry haul. One of the bushes was positively groaning under the weight of its scant crop.

But any amount of fresh-picked, ripe blueberries is better than none.

They were sweet, juicy, and outrageously delicious. It was a pretty good day to be gentlewoman farmers, if we do say so ourselves.

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Filed under 7. July, Garden, Harvested

A Blushing Pinko

We’ve been drawing a rather steady harvest of a handful of raspberries a day from our wee raspberry canes in the backyard. It’s been pretty remarkable, actually, how these scraggly plants — which we thought we killed in the car on the drive home from the co-op, by the way — have been churning out the berries. They were producing from late August through November last year, and here they are warming up again. Today’s haul was pretty light, though — only nine berries. So what to do with them? How about muddling them into a Moscow Mule?

I made this by muddling the three berries in the bottom of the glass, then cutting a whole lime into sixths, squeezing it into the glass, and dropping all the pieces in. After a brisk stir to combine the fruits, I topped with ice, poured in two ounces of vodka, and filled the glass with ginger beer.

These are ridiculously flavorful raspberries, so just the three contributed a huge amount of sweetness to the drink, and, as I was armed with some Chambord to add some color if it was needed, it turns out they gave just the perfect tint to it. After a really humid day in the garden, these were crisp, fruity, and magnificently refreshing.

And really, after watching six seasons of MacGyver in rapid succession on DVD and laughing about how much our dad complained about the lefty, “commie pinko” politics of MacGyver back in the day, what better to call a rose-tinted Moscow Mule than a “Blushing Pinko”?

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Filed under Drinky-Drinky, We Grew This