Sunday, August 8, 2010

Good evening

Tonight was vampire prevention night, i.e. the garlic harvest.  I pulled up around eighty bulbs, helped in some small part by the two littlest boys.  Graham wanted to help dig but the soil was so dry and hard that even I had difficulty getting a spade to go in.  I would dig the bulbs out, and Graham would lift them by their stem and put them in a bag.  Benjamin trotted around the garden in his own private relay race, chattering all the while.

Here is the largest silverline melon we have growing right now.  It is a heirloom variety I bought from Seed Savers a number of years ago.  These are the melons that Benjamin planted, so he makes sure to check on them whenever we are out in the garden.  This is a picture of what they look like when they are ripe (taken from the Seed Savers website):

Aren't they pretty?  Of course they are--they are supermodel fruit from a catalog.  Hope mine look as pretty as these.  Soon.

Here is one of my patches of tomatoes, looking for the most part healthy.   I have been spraying my maters with copper spray every eight to ten days, hoping to forestall the blight/wilt.  It seems to be working, 'cuz here is a picture of my unsprayed potato plants:

If I get a chance in the next few days I will chop them all down.  Sigh.

The mammoth sunflowers are true to their name.  Ten to twelve feet tall and just now starting to flower.  Right in front of the sunflowers are some lettuce going to seed.

Here are my two Swiss chard plants, still going strong despite horribly hot days and irregular rains. This is my first year growing chard.  The young leaves are good in salads, and the older leaves can be cooked like spinach.  I ask myself, why grow spinach which bolts quickly, when you can grow chard which grows all summer long?  According to wikipedia, one cup of Swiss chard has the following recommended daily values:  214% of vitamin A, 53% of vitamin C and 716% of vitamin K. And it seems relatively untroubled by pests or diseases.  I am definitely planting more of these things next year.

It was such a beautiful evening.  Just before I came outside a short rain had chased the hot hot of the day away, as well as the bugs.  A cool, gentle breeze was blowing.  The sun had just eased out from behind a bank of clouds and was turning the land to gold.  I stood in the garden and basked in the evening light.  I said to myself, the only thing that could add more splendor to this scene would be a rainbow.  Not two minutes later I turned to head back into the house, and saw this arching over the treetops.

I must have done something really remarkable in a former life, to deserve such goodness in this one.


Carol Ford said...

Two great ways to use up chard. The first is chard packets. You make up a mixture of whatever you like; quinoa, rice, etc mixed with ground meat, TVP, cheese, sauteed veggies, herbs, whatever sounds good. Clean chard leaves and run the center rib along the edge of a table to break down the stem's rigidity. At the bottom of a leaf, scoop in some filling and roll it up like a burrito. Line a pan with the packets and give a light spray with olive oil. They can be baked like that or be covered with a white or red sauce (I like red) and baked at 350 for 45 min. or so. Great hot or cold, nice for bag lunches and really uses up the chard. The second one's called greens pie. I'll send it if you want but that one takes A LOT of greens--great in the fall and the finished pies freeze very well for great additions to family meals or potlucks! Yum, I love greens!!!

Mama Pea said...

What a beautiful post, Jo! I just got to it this morning, but I sure could have used it last night after a hot day harvesting and processing from the garden . . . a day when my energy level was in the pits. Even this morning your post has a very serene, lovely, calming affect to it.

You're absolutely right about chard. Why DO we fight with spinach when good, ol' stalwart chard will gladly stand in as a delicious substitute!?

Thanks for the always enjoyable garden tour. (Sorry 'bout that one patch of tomatoes!)

Erin said...

supermodel.... LOL! So sorry about your tomatoes, seems like it's either disease, insects or storms this year. Those photos were beautiful!

Maple Lawn Farm said...

Beautiful photos!

Thistledog said...

I agree with Mama Pea, that was a wonderful post! Thank you...

Chard is my favorite leafy green. My two plants keep me swimming in lovely fresh leaves - always room for this vegetable in my garden.

Glad to hear the copper spray is protecting your toms! I had to break it out on my squash leaves, the downy mildew here is terrible with the cool nights.

"I must have done something really remarkable in a former life, to deserve such goodness in this one.

That's a byline to live by, eh?

Jo said...

Hi Carol -- Thanks for the chard recipes. Must try them out soon.

Hello Mama Pea -- Yeah, I'm already planning my 2011 garden (!) and I don't see any spinach in it at this point.

Erin -- The first year I gardened, I had no problems whatsoever. But over the years the problems have grown. Good thing they didn't hit me all at once, or I might have given up right then and there!

Hi Tammy -- Thanks!

Hey Thistledog -- Yeah, the copper is working out well. I don't think it stops the advance of disease on plants that are already seriously infected, but for plants that are not or are minimally infected, it does keep the fungi at bay. Thanks for your comments.