finally, the problem is solved

Posted on Posted in designing, food and garden, lace/shawls, projects

as expected, the weekend has been awfully busy—summer saturdays are filled with the usual bookkeeping first thing, followed directly by several hours of work in the garden to keep things up to snuff. and now, the harvest has begun, so there is cooking to do afterward as well.

my first chore out there yesterday was to prune the tomatoes yet again (this was the fourth time in the last month). i have to say, this does keep the plants very manageable and seems to help the production of fruit; the plants with the most (and nicest) tomatoes are the ones i’ve pruned the most aggressively. i picked a few more to bring inside, but i know the real tide will be coming in just after i leave for knit nation next monday.

my next chore was to strip the bean plants of their final crop and pull up all the plants (there they are on the compost pile) so i could put in another new row for later in the summer. it was then that i spotted a serious problem we hadn’t noticed before this.

remember how i’ve been complaining that a lot of my plants seemed sluggish and wilty this year, with very little in the way of actual vegetable production? it was for a good reason—they weren’t getting any water, yikes!

i turned on the soaker hoses to dampen the ground while i planted the new seeds and move a few okra plants to new spaces. the water had been on for about half an hour when i realized that the ground in this one area was definitely NOT getting damp—not even close. sure enough, there was no flow in the one set of hoses which services my “cut and come again” table vegetables—greens, beets, beans, squash. no wonder they weren’t as lush as last year.

the tomatoes, leeks, basil, eggplant, asparagus, and peppers were getting plenty, but not the leafy things. oy. david fixed it later that afternoon, once i’d gone inside to work in the kitchen and now everything is MUCH perkier and happier.

no more wilted greens.
the okra actually weathered this dry spell pretty well, but then they are bigger plants with what i imagine are deeper roots.

i had a very pleasant surprise form the okra yesterday . . . this is the first time i’ve been able to get them past the small plant stage to where they will actually bear fruit and when the little pointed tips appeared all over the plants, i assumed these were the okra pods themselves. but it turns out that no

they are flower buds! really soft, pretty flower buds, too.
i’m completely smitten—i had no idea that okra produced such lovely blooms

aren’t they pretty? the actual pods (you can see one just behind the yellow flower above) are shinier and more blunt on the end and appear from inside the flower, which apparently doesn’t open any further than this

because when i looked back at it just 30 minutes after taking this picture, it was already wilting away. i’m telling you, the garden reveals something magical every time i turn around . . . it’s so gratifying to be out there in it.

i pulled up all the beets while i was out there, too—with not much water, they didn’t get as big this year, but they were halfway out of the ground and the tops were bolting.

david really doesn’t like them, even after trying them several different ways (more on that later), so i don’t think it’s worth letting them sit there, when i could plant another batch of greens for fall instead. maybe after i dig up the shallots, i’ll plant more beets for the freezer—just enough for me to enjoy and maybe give a few away.

my eggplants, which until this week were still all about six inches high have finally surged and come to full life, all at once—they’ve literally tripled or quadrupled in size in the last seven days. covered with pinholes from some bug or other, but that seems to be a yearly thing that doesn’t harm them all that much. we keep an eye on it, but as far as i know, they survive it alright. even the one that the bunny chewed up has sprouted all new foliage and grown higher.

the newly rejuvenated asparagus bed is doing very well (jody, that parsley you told me to plant looks like a fence along the front, haha, so pretty).

i wondered where the heck our annual volunteer tomato plant would show up this time and was surprised a couple of weeks back to see it had emerged amongst the asparagus. it’s doing quite well; i probably should have pulled it out (hopefully, it won’t choke the ones it’s near), but i couldn’t bear to do it. they always give us such nice wild tomatoes . . .

here’s a good one, from a corner of the garden that’s been getting the right amount of water—the acorn squash that looked like this last week

now looks like this

gorgeous, right? and there are several more of those on the vine. i have much more hope for the rest of the vegetables now . . .

even after just one night of proper watering, they seem to be on the right track—today i spied three new summer squash that are past the tiny bud stage. they weren’t that big yesterday, for sure. thank goodness the plants have been very healthy and have hung in there patiently while we sorted things out.

we are loaded with bees again this year too. the big bumblebees just love the wealth of hosta flowers in the back garden

these guys are so big and fat, it’s a wonder they stay aloft, really. i’d say they average about an inch in length and are plenty big around, like a cartoon bullet.

that part of the yard is filled with their droning. they are competing with the butterflies for these flowers, but i haven’t seen any fisticuffs yet.

(i know this is a lot of bee photos, but i couldn’t help myself)

we have honey bees too, but they prefer the clover which fills our so-called “lawn”; it’s a little harder to get good pictures of them, but i’ll try for that another day.

here’s a funny story though: you know we always have a bunny that takes up residence in the back yard. they are usually not at all interested in the garden after a couple of experimental nibbles (like one of my eggplants this year and the shallot tops). i think they like the back yard better because it’s filled with clover and dandelions, which they can eat by the bale. well yesterday, i saw the bunny contentedly crunching on an apple from a may apple plant, haha. i always wondered whatever happened to all the apples when the plants die back and now i know.

after a few hours of working in the sun, i collected all the greens i could harvest and headed indoors to get the goods cooked and/or put away in the freezer. i put up four bags of greens and one of green beans. then i made a side dish of lightly cooked baby beans with caramelized garlic and a few drops of balsamic and roasted a big pan of beets with onions, garlic, pepper, salt, and rosemary. after that i made a quiche with red swiss chard, homegrown scallion, and mushrooms.

while it baked i treated myself to nice, long, cool shower (finally, haha) and after that we ate

a very well-deserved (i think) late-evening meal.
david tried the roasted beets, and though he claims they are indeed “better than the ones we had last week”, says he still doesn’t care for beets (and poor thing, he looked as if he really had trouble swallowing them). so i think beets are for my own enjoyment only.

i do believe though, that this is my new favorite way to eat them.

after dinner, i finally got to sit down and knit for a bit. i’ll put up a short post tomorrow about all that—i think it’s time i put a couple of hours into pattern work (i leave for london in a WEEK! must get busy).

28 thoughts on “finally, the problem is solved

  1. What a lovely weekend you had. Enjoyed all the news – and, oh! I clicked on the video link yesterday for the mermaid scarf. That was stellar. It even seemed to have a storyline! You and David do make a nice team!

  2. oh, that is my favorite way to eat beets! I’ll eat David’s portion any time. your garden always inspires me, I am hoping just to get two little tomato plants to bear this year, but next year I’m putting in a raised bed.

    see you soon!

  3. Do you know why okra has such pretty flowers? They’re supposed to be flowers. They’re NOT supposed to be eaten. Ha! Can you tell I don’t like okra?

  4. IMHO, roasted is absolutely the best way to cook beet. Pickled runs a close second, especially with “red beet eggs” in them. Love the eggs that way!

  5. Mmmm I agree. Roasted is definitely the way to go for beets, although I still love the baby ones boiled or steamed with a bit of butter. My favourite is to roast the beets with fennel and whole cloves of garlic all tossed with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper.

  6. we are on the same track – I too pulled my shallots this evening! I made an amazing summer squash soup which incorporated them as well as other goodies. Beets are a big favorite around here. I roast them and toss in good olive oil with salt and pepper – poor David, it’s really an acquired taste! I’m inspired by you to go and ‘prune’ the tomatoes!

  7. Are you sure that David didn’t intentionally sabotage those beets?? 😉

    I used to hate beets, now they are one of my favorites. Try them roasted, then sliced thickly and tossed with olive oil and raspberry vinegar. Yum. What a gorgeous garden you have!

    I wonder if you can eat the okra flowers like you can squash blossoms?

  8. As a lifelong Southerner I knew what okra flowers look like already but I am so glad to see that other people are taken with the lovely blossoms, too. The burgundy/maroon heart of the flower is fabulous inside the paler edges. Agree?

  9. Ah Anne, I am jealous of your garden and loving the pictures of it at the same time. I miss what little bit of a deck garden with tomatoes I used to have.

    I have to vote for the beets! Roasted with a little bit of balsamic drizzled on them and just the slightest bit of salt and pepper, my favorite way to eat them. That or with their greens sauteed with them and then cut into chunks with some toasted walnuts and balsamic. Enjoy your midsummer harvest!

  10. Your posts always make me want to go run out and garden. Then I remember I hate both bugs and dirt. I do think I’m going to pick up some beets and roast them, however. They looked absolutely delicious in that picture.

  11. I keep saying this, but I am so envious of your garden! Despite all of my fencing efforts we still have something nibbling (okay, chowing down) on our garden! The master gardeners in town say it’s deer. Or voles. Blech. I can’t wait to hear all about Knit Nation!! Looks like it will be a blast!

  12. My okra did not sprout at all. Darn cold spring here. As for beets. I SO want to like beets. They are beautiful with a nice texture, So many colors and varities. Husband loves them, so I bring them in to the house and cook them up. I try a bite every time, but still do not like them. It is possible you could poor melted cheese and ranch dressing (two things i crave and can not eat) all over them, and I still would not like beets. Crazy.

  13. One of my favourite beet recipes is from “Diet for a New World.” Basically, you steam the beets, then add the stems, then add the leaves, and finally mix into a dressing made primarily from lemon juice, olive oil and a good amount of basil. This recipe even converted my kids! I especially love it because you use the stems and leaves as well as the beets.

  14. Your garden is gorgeous. I just planted my first garden (decided to do container gardening first to try things out before jumping in to real beds) and some things are doing great, some not so much. I’ve been away for three weeks and my husband is taking care of it. I look forward to seeing it when I get home and see all the beautiful surprises!
    I love beets and fortunately the rest of my family does too. Roasting them with balsamic is my favorite too. Now if only I can convince them of kale and chard…..

  15. Poor David…I can so sympathize. But how nice that he would make the effort.

    The okra blossoms look a lot like the Rose of Sharon in my back yard. Very lovely!

    I am watching your garden pics and thinking of expanding our little plot next year. We had hoped for carrots and green beans, but the bunny nest took precedence.

    And I love the bee pictures – I’m quite allergic but still think they’re fascinating creatures. 🙂

  16. It is as you say, like magic. That acorn squash. It’s almost hard to believe. I completely agree – every morning I take my coffee down to my little tiny patch and find something new every time. Sometimes it’s not the fruit of my labor, but just the business of the bees or the evidence of last nights chipmunk raid or rabbit visit. It’s like a little micro-world that I often think I’m the Grand Creator of . . . until that darn mother nature reminds me that she’s still in charge.

  17. Hooray for beets! I love them roasted with potatoes, onions and garlic…they are so delish.

    As ever, your garden is inspiring…I can’t wait to get home and check my tomatoes 🙂

  18. Ah, next year I will have a tiny bit of a garden again. My Chicago back yard provides limited sun, but I can grow a few things. This year it is a tangle of weeds, ferns (which I cannot get rid of no matter how I try) and perennial herbs because I had shoulder surgery during prime planting time. Your garden is so inspirational! Next year…

  19. Someday I hope to have the time and the space to do gardening. the few times I’ve had the opportunity to do it have been so fulfilling. Alas, I am an apartment dweller, and do not have a yard of my own. However, I’m here to really offer you beet support. Beets are AWESOME, and I think you just gave me a new idea on how to eat them. Roasted beets sound absolutely fantastic!!

  20. Always love your garden pictures, of course the knitting too. My husband doesn’t like beets either, although we haven’t tried them roasted. I like them pickled and need to make some for myself.

  21. Have you ever considered writing a vegetable garden cookbook? Sort of an instructional on tending a vegetable garden, then what to do with the harvest, with instructions on storing garden goodies along with some simple recipes for enjoying immediately?

    I, for one, would buy that book. 🙂 I’ve been searching for a good book resource that’s similar. I’m sure I’ll find something comparable, but I really enjoy your photography and the recipes sound delicious. 🙂

  22. I’m with you on the beets David! I’m not fond of them, although I will eat a bite or two if they’re roasted. If it cools down enough tonight I think I’ll take the shears to my 3 tomato plants and thin them out-maybe it will help. I do have a pepper on each of my plants, and they barely made it into the ground this year because it got so wet we couldn’t get them planted for the longest time.

  23. Hollyhocks, okra, and cotton are all in the same family. They all have similar flowers. Another factoid: may apples have to have a warm-blooded mammal, ie. rabbits or rodents, eat the fruit to process the seed in its digestive system. Once the seed is “processed” in the digestive system, it is expelled in the feces and is set to go to seed a new plant.

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