Monday, August 15, 2011

Awash in Squash

The lessons from this little exercise have been amazing but the thing I absolutely need to remember next year, my sophomore season is to plant less squash plants.  I thought 4 little hills with 2 plants in each, how many will that be?  Not too much, I thought.  Is there a small army starving somewhere?  Can anyone volunteer to take these to Africa?  I harvested 9 large squash yesterday that my husband took to work and another 5 today, pictured below.  I walked up and down the street knocking on doors and meeting neighbors I haven’t met yet and giving them away.  Looking at the plants I realize we are going to be harvesting these cube of butter squash until we get frost.  This is the photo of the ones I harvested just today.


You can see that next to the tea spoon they are fairly reasonable sized.  I haven’t let too many get too big because they are tastier smaller.  Another thing I learned this year.  This particular variety is very mild in flavor and takes on whatever they are cooked with.  I have sautéed them with garlic, onion in white wine with some of the snap peas and beans then mixed with rice and shrimp for a healthy, tasty dinner that is making my mouth water while I write this.  I am going to to search on Squash recipes though – maybe someone has a good dessert bread made with them as I am hosting some quilting ladies to the house on Wednesday. 

Fortunately I choose the Royal Burgundy Beans and due to their wonderful color they are easy to find in with all the dark green leaves.  I definitely like the color coded produce to differentiate from the plant and will try to keep that in mind next year as well.  This photo shows what I harvested today.  This has been the largest daily harvest of beans yet and will be our veggie tonight.  I think steaming with garlic, one of the Walla Walla onions (below) in white wine will be a nice side dish with the wild caught Alaskan Salmon. 


My dog loves these beans and we eat them raw.  They are sweet, crunchy and guiltless.

The onions are starting to fall over so today I pulled out all the ones that had stalks that were predominately on the ground.  I planted two kinds, Cortland and Walla Walla.  The larger onions in the smaller quantity group are the Walla Walla and the larger quantity but smaller onions are the Cortland.  The first photo is right after I pulled them up:


After a gentle clean and cutting the roots and stalks off they are ready to be put in cool storage on the top of the wine storage in a room off our garage that seems to have a consistent temp in the mid 50’s.  I think they’ll store alright there and will generally be needed when we go for a bottle of vino too.


I don’t know if growing vegetables is supposed to be this easy or this successful, especially without chemicals, or if I am having beginners luck.  I have learned that the hardest part of a garden is getting the site prepared to be a garden.  Digging up the sod, breaking up the soil, improving the soil, building the walls, finding and pulling out bricks is back breaking work.  The daily effort to water and cut the gifts that are coming now is more like my private meditation time.  It is wonderful to be outside, to admire the speed that these plants grow, to watch the bees pollinating the plants, to hear the birds and feel the warmth of the sun on my body.  I even get a little exercise chasing the bunny out of the garden.  If you haven’t grown anything; grow lettuce, at the very least.  Don’t wait until you are over 50, to do it either.  It grows easily from seed and the taste is so amazing compared to anything you can buy in the store, even good grocery stores.

I hope my next entry will include some photos of tomatoes.  I have 2 plants, both cherry tomatoes, one orange and one red (I think) with at least 100 tomatoes on them but they are resisting ripening and day after day are still GREEN.  The few that have ripened have not made it into the house but have been popped into my mouth as sustenance for the gardener.  The same thing with the strawberries.  Not a large quantity of strawberries but the ones that have ripened are delicious and are eaten immediately.  Keep your fingers crossed that I can show and tell you about the Lemon Cucumbers.  Those plants have finally taken off and the largest fruit is nearly large enough to harvest. 

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