Garden Daybook 7/7/12

I walked through the garden early this morning and took advantage of the cool before the heat. The thermometer was already at 80° so, at that point, I enjoyed a respite from this afternoon’s expected 98°. As I walked I was struck with the idea of writing a sort of “State of the Garden” post. What follows is an update of some of the vegetables that are showing explosive growth because of our recent rain storms and heat. Already, I am anxious for the plants to begin bearing and for the busyness that canning brings to the kitchen and pantry.

I’ve often said that “if you garden they will come”. In my garden it has become obvious – “they” are here. My beautiful beans – these are ‘Gold Dust’ – are being devoured by Bean Leaf beetles. Newbies beware! One day your beans are picture perfect and the next they are full of holes or disease begins to wreak havoc. So far, I cannot find the little devils. I will go back out during the heat of the day, while they are having their lunch, and knock them into a can of soapy water. The chickens will love the extra protein.

Ever heard of a climbing zucchini? ‘Tromboncino’ summer squash, an Italian heirloom, grows up instead of out. I plant ‘Tromboncino’ in a raised bed and provide it with an upright bedframe for support. ‘Tromboncino’ doesn’t need ramblin’ room to produce zucchini! This plant has really taken off in the heat. I think it grows a few inches every day. It is just beginning to put out its tendrils and I can begin to train it up the frame sometime this next week. Bonus: ‘Tromboncino’ is a particularly beautiful plant to have in the garden. I found my seed for this squash from Nichols Garden Nursery.

The ‘Yukon Gold” potatoes are just now beginning to bloom. Flowers are a signal that we can reach carefully under the soil and pull out tiny, tender, new potatoes. We’ll wait a week or so, until more plants are in bloom, before we steal one meal’s worth of baby Yukon Golds’. I’ve seen one Colorado Potato Beetle and squashed a few bright yellow egg clusters I found on the underside of the leaves. Luckily, I don’t see anything else in the potato patch that shouldn’t be there.

The leeks are beautiful this year. I can pull great tasting leeks all summer and on into cold weather – all from one planting. Pulling small leeks during the summer thins the bed and allows the remaining leeks room to grow bigger. I like to use end of the season leeks for soups. Any leeks that are not pulled will be mulched and over-wintered right in the ground.

Today’s lunch menu: Scrambled eggs from our Black Copper Marin hens with sliced baby leeks and a few halved cherry tomatoes. We’ll add toast with elderberry jelly and iced tea. Perfection.

Hey from the farm,

Fran, The Country Cousin


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