It’s been such a pleasure working in the garden this past week. We have actually been able to plant new crops of snap peas, lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, radish, beets, Asian greens, carrots and more. Now all we have to do is pray that the heat doesn’t return to the high 90’s in order to give those little seeds time to germinate. The second plantings of cucumbers and beans are starting to climb their fencing, so it won’t be too long before you will have some more of them in your CSA share.
We use lots of leaf mulch this time of year, especially when we are planting new seed beds. The leaves were saved from last year’s tree cleanup, so nothing is wasted. The mulch helps to conserve the moisture in the soil, which is so important on hot sunny days when new crops are coming up.
It’s been wild berry picking time! Although I grow these here on the property, they are still a native berry. On top are chokecherries, and below, Oregon grape.
Oregon grape is sometimes referred to as “False Holly” You can see why in this photo. It is a low growing, ground cover like shrub that is evergreen. The berries are challenging to harvest because the leaves are prickly!
This is the time of year when I do most of my preserving, canning and playing with the bounty that surrounds me. The wild berries will be made into jams, chutney and flavored vinegar. Other fruits and herbs will give their personalities to flavored oils, butters and other experimental concoctions. It’s an alchemical process with such a wonderful assortment of inspirational vegetation. So, this is a good time for you, too, to take advantage of the beautiful organic produce that is grown here in the gardens and preserve some of the goodness for your own eating over the winter. If you have never “put away” produce, I have lots of experience and recipes, so just ask! I encourage you to find ways to become more self sufficient. Right now, there is an over abundance of cucumbers, summer squash and basil that would be wonderful additions to your freezer or pantry.
This week’s share will include beets, carrots, scallions, kale, summer squash, shallots, broccoli greens and basil. There will be a few tomatoes again, but it definitely is not a tomato year. I am really disappointed and at a loss! The heat was just too much for them. Peppers are struggling, too, but they are coming slowly. Eggplants are showing promise.