Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hooked, Totally Hooked

We’re returned to winter in the Pacific Northwest this weekend.  Just kidding.  It’s so rainy and chilly it feels more like early spring than the dead of summer.  Of course I’ve not lived here long, this is only my 4th summer, but it’s the first summer we’ve had green grass in July.  We don’t water grass here so we have green grass all year but in the summer it goes dormant when the rains stop.  Well, usually anyway.  I’m regretting not fertilizing the back lawn now. 

The rain has been like steroids for the garden though.  I am thinking when the sun returns tomorrow the plants will spring like an overwound clock.  Just in the last couple of days the plants have grown enormously.  The spinach has bolted so I will plant more seeds in the back part of the garden with all the lettuces and hope to get more before winter.  It’s the best tasting spinach I’ve ever eaten and I can feel the cholesterol dropping after each salad.  I’m hoping the lettuce plants and seedlings will produce soon as my husband is allergic to spinach so cannot join me in these fresh salads. 

If you click on any image, it can be made larger so you can see the plants more clearly. 


Above is the bolted spinach between the marigold and the squash plant.  Yesterday I dug up one of the beets.  It’s about 1 1/2 inches in diameter and the seed packet said they should be around 2” and my spreadsheet predicts they’ll be ready for harvest on July 28.  That’s perfect too, just in time for my sister’s visit and she loves beets.  Hopefully she’ll have lots of ideas of what we can do with them and will take some home with her.  I also have a friend who loves them so I know they’ll go to good homes.


The beets in the garden.  Not one leaf was touched by any kind of bug or bunny. 



The peas have flowers and I added another tee pee of bamboo sticks yesterday for their support.  They were growing on the tomato plant next to it.  I did try to minimize the absolute requirements for space and now am realizing why they suggested such large amounts of space for each thing.  I am optimistic however that it’ll all still grow and fortunately I am able to move about nimbly. 


Only a month or so ago this was just dirt with signs to keep me from stepping on the places where seeds were.  It’s truly amazing and I’m still pinching myself that someone who knows absolutely nothing about this might still be somewhat successful feeding herself and her family.  Of course there are still some weeks yet to go so I best not count my onions before they are harvested. 


I had to include a photo of the Swiss Chard.  Someone was having a good old feast on the leaves a week or so ago but the plants seemed to have survived and have grown enormously in the past few days with all the moisture and less intense sun.  I believe we’ll be eating Swiss Chard this week with one of our dinners.  I’ll let you know how it tastes.  I love the colors of these leaves. 

I’ve learned so much during this process.  I think the largest lesson is the one my Mother always said, “If you can read, you can do anything” and although I don’t think that is entirely true as I can read but can’t go to the moon, it is true that you can read about something and attempt it.  It feels so good to learn something new at any age.  I’ve also learned that I’ll never be so picky in a grocery store or famer’s market again.  If a leaf has a little hole in it but looks otherwise healthy, wash and eat away.  It feels really good to be crouched down to the level of the plants, getting my hands in the soil, cutting the leaves either for eating or to keep off the ground, the exercise and flexibility feels great.  It’s a great sore.  Watering and weeding can be therapeutic and give you time with your thoughts.  This experience has helped me heal from a huge loss this summer.  I’m hooked, today I ordered a kind of Fava Bean seed, another kind of pea seed and 2 kinds of garlic to plant over the winter.  I think I’ll be growing food until I can no longer bend down to do it.  I hope to still be doing this until my death.  I plan to include recipes or links to recipes as start to harvest with critiques about how easy they are to make and how tasty (or not) they are.

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