Around the Garden: Flower Edition

What's in bloom has completely changed over the course of a few weeks. Luckily, I have a very generous friend who took me on a tour of my own garden… so I am slowly but surely learning what is what and how to care for it all. Some of my favorites this week are nasturtiums, shirley poppies, meadow rue, musk mallow(?), clematis, bee balm, and tiger lilies. I have other favorites too, but either don't know or can't remember their names!

Oh, and see the paddock? Isn't it just crying our for a herd of goats?

Around the garden: kitchen edition

Kale chips, basil pesto, and raspberry bars are what's happening in the kitchen today. Our goal is to preserve half of everything. Pesto and raspberries are easy to freeze (well, in theory raspberries are easy to freeze… if we don't eat them all straight out of the garden!), but I'm not sure how to preserve kale, or if it is even possible. Anyone have any good (vegetarian) recipes that use kale and would freeze well? Wouldn't it be nice to not have to cook once or twice a week this winter? Instead I could just pull out a frozen meal from this summer and heat it up... 

I have also discovered that garlic scape pesto on a sandwich with tomato, lettuce, and cheese is delicious. 

What's happening in your garden kitchen?

Around the Garden

Sometimes it feels like not much is happening in the garden, and at first glance it looks a lot like it did the last time I took pictures. But things are growing - taller, thicker, bushier - and we are (still) on the verge of a burst of produce. At least I think we are. This is my first garden so I'm not really sure exactly what will happen. 

I'm learning a lot from neighbors and friends, and through trial and error. I now know we need to build the pea and pole bean trellises higher than we think earlier than we think, and then the plants need a little help finding their way up. The squash needs some sort of covering to keep the beetles away, at least early on. I think part of why we're so behind is because the seedlings spent their first weeks battling the bugs. We also need to soak the hoop house soil before planting and then water a lot more frequently, especially during the seedling stage. It gets so dry in there. I still don't know what to do about the critter who is helping himself to our strawberries. Maybe some sort of cover for them too.

But all in all, our garden is coming along. The freezer is starting to fill with various pesto recipes and our salad bowl is now filled with fresh greens. I'm really looking forward to adding in the tomatoes, peas, and carrots!


The garden is on the verge of bursting. In the space of a few days, we went from a stalk of asparagus here and a few spinach leaves there to a sudden abundance of garlic scapes, basil, spinach and lettuce. After such a late spring and the slow - painfully slow - growing of  seedlings, I plain old forgot that these plants would actually produce. Now as I walk through the garden, I feel slightly overwhelmed by what's coming… and how I'm going to deal with all of it so as not to let anything go to waste. Mostly, I realize I'm going to have to set some time aside - not for "gardening", but for picking, washing, cooking, freezing, and canning.

Of course I shouldn't speak too soon. You never know with those pesky beetles who devour squash plants and the little critters (I suspect a mole) who like to take two bites out of every ripe strawberry. But for now it looks like we will have vegetables.

My first summer recipe was garlic scape pesto. The first batch was way too hot, so it went into the freezer to be dealt with another time. The second batch was delicious: scapes, oil, basil, walnuts, and parmesan. I froze half and the other half was devoured in one sitting. We're as bad as the beetles.  

Happy gardening!

Around the Garden: Flower Edition

Vegetables are great and all, and I love the neat and tidy rows of a well-organized vegetable garden… but the flowers are stunning. The unknown of our flower garden this year - what I call "Garden Surprise" -  very nicely balances out the orderly toil we've put into growing vegetables.

Greens that looked like weeds, but that I've resisted pulling up, are now colorful bunches of flowers whose names I am finally learning. Sweet William spans the patch in front of the hoop house, with bunches of daisies and pansies interspersed here and there, and a low layer of poppies waiting to take over later in the summer. In front of the barn are bleeding hearts, peonies, poppies, clematis, mint, and a few other things I don't know yet.

I've also started to add a bit of my own (well, my mom's) touch: allium, sunflower, impatiens, nasturtium, lupine, and zinnia. The allium and impatiens are doing well, and we're still waiting (hoping) for the others to come up.

Usually I don't like chaos, but in a flower garden, the messy mix of this and that and here and there is just perfect.