Solstice time again! I thought it was time to take stock of what’s going on in the garden. The weather has officially gotten pretty hot, and there is precious little that can be planted in this heat. I did plant a few melon seeds, though, encouraged by an email from a seed company. They came up and seem quite happy in spite of what I would consider hostile conditions.
Cucumbers have started to swell, and I have trained them up a trellis that a friend of ours made. I think I have a slight fetish for architecture in the garden, but more about that some other time. I have recently come to appreciate cucumbers; I never gave them much notice before, but they are a breakfast staple for me. Baki, on the other hand, has always loved cucumbers, placing them in a very small group of vegetables that he will even deign to eat.
No ripe tomatoes yet, but they are coming! I am trying some new varieties this year; pictured are red pear piriform tomatoes from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. If you have sharp eyes, you will notice a bug in that picture; I guess the chickens missed that one.
That reminds me that Gingko has grow immense. He is definitely a he, since all he can manage is a wheezy hoot — nary a quack in sight! I will post a photo of him soon. He marches around with the chickens from the chicken tractor (more on that another time — I guess it’s time for a poultry post) on their day out. The chickens do a fine job of chasing down the grasshoppers, and they are very dedicated in their work.
I am also growing some beans this year, for the first time. I hadn’t realized how much I missed regular old cylindrical green beans. I can only get the flat type here in the markets. Well, my mom is wise in the way of beans (and a great fan of them, too — she harasses me constantly to send her some from the garden) and has the following picnic standby that she says her family never missed an opportunity to pack in the bundles of food they used to cart off to parks and beaches. You parboil the beans and cut them up and then chop some red onion really fine to add to them. Then just add mayo, salt and pepper, and Bob’s your uncle! Does everyone on the planet earth already make this salad? Maybe, and if so with good reason — it’s a fine treatment of green beans. It might not look like I have many plants (everyone else that I know who grows beans seems to have about five times as many plants as me) but I can just about keep up with that many plants, with some left over to send to my mom.
Well, if there is one thing that no one should get too puffed up about harvesting, it is garlic. I don’t know if there is anything easier to grow — you just poke some cloves into the earth in the fall and forget about them. Still, I don’t think I expected anything to actually happen when I did it. I was watering the soybeans and I noticed that the garlic tops were dying back. Well, I dug under one of the plants, expecting to find that it had not swollen to anything more than a leek. Imagine my surprise when I unearthed a head of garlic! I have a tendency to be floored by the perfectly obvious (my first words upon seeing Baki, newly emerged from my womb — “It’s a baby!”), but it makes for lots of excitement in the garden. I harvested them all and made a big fat braid out of them which you can see below, photographed on the dirty dirty floor of my outside kitchen.
By the way, if the light looks nice in these pictures, it’s because I took them at dawn — everything just looks beleaguered once the sun is out.