Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Going, Going, Green

Exhaustion late last week and storms over the weekend prevented me from making a second trip to the garden last week, so I experienced a bit of trepidation as I approached the plot after work today.

With good reason, apparently! What had been lush and green last week had suddenly turned into a jungle, throttled by those tiny weeds I had missed a mere eight days ago! Yikes!

Still, I have to feel proud to have nurtured this garden so far along... and thrilled to see so much growth and blossoming. I suspect we'll be enjoying lots of good produce well into fall from this small plot of land!

I mean, look at those tomatoes! (I know, where???) Only three plants, but already they're bushy and loaded with blossoms and small green tomatoes, and the basil plants interspersed in the bed are also filling out nicely. There'll be some fine fresh insalata caprese later this summer...

And look at the greens in the lower bed! The amaranth is taking off, the kai lan produced another round of stems for picking, and the lettuces, pac choi, and mizuna are all about as big and as full as I can stand. In fact, as I picked fresh greens, I decided to start pulling some of the plants, laying them down as a sort of mulch (trying to protect the now-bare soil until I can plant a fall crop), since I suspect that if they get any bigger, they're not going to taste so great.

The melons, alas, did not fare so well in the past week. Not only did the purslane grow exponentially to take over parts of the bed, but something (animal? hail?) beat up the poor cantaloupe seedlings something awful. Several leaf stems were broken, leaves were tattered, and I have yet to see if they will actually survive the onslaught. (The watermelon seedlings, on the other hand, look robust. Go figure!)

The bean rows are well overgrown as the plants have gotten tall and tipsy. This is the row of cannellini plants, and while I haven't seen too many blossoms yet, I think this could end up as a terrific crop. I did notice blossoms on the Tiger Eye bean plants, so those are well on their way, too.

And if you look closely, you'll see two small pink flowers on the garbanzo plants -- exciting!

The fava pods had grown and multiplied since last week, and following Ed's advice on when to pick the pods, I decided it was time to harvest about half the crop. Now to find a recipe to try with this new-to-me food! (No, Ed, I don't think I'll try this suggestion -- thanks, though!)

Along with the favas, I harvested more pac choi for me and for She Who Cannot Be Labeled (I always have pity on the poor starving college students, what can I say?), both kinds of lettuce (for ditto), another small round of kai lan, and more of the stinging nettles that have cropped up in the soil. (More on those another time.)

The Renaissance Man then picked me up from my lengthy visit to the garden, took me home, and joined me for a big salad dinner, topped with carrots and cucumber from Saturday's farmers' market shopping spree -- just perfect for a warm evening.

Who says it ain't easy being green?

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