Wednesday, August 12, 2009

In the Garden

When I refer to my garden I'm almost always referring to the vegetable garden. There are currently two vegetable gardens on the property, this fenced area in the back, and an area near the houses where we've begun a raised bed garden, to be referred to as the Kitchen Garden. I find the garden very hard to photograph in its entirety. Details are much easier. The play of light and shadow seems to confuse everything when I try to take an overall photo. And I "save for the web" in photoshop in order to keep the file sizes down, which lessens the saturation of the photos a bit. Nonetheless, here are a few from this morning. Compared to previous years we're having a pretty productive year.

This is the garden gate. It's functional, not pretty. The plot is fenced to keep the dogs out. Also, I am aware that part of the problem with being able to get a good photo is the completely out of control weeds. We need to start mulching to keep them down, but last year we tried, and the straw turned out to be full of seeds, so this year we have weeds from last year's mulch. Pecan shells would do well, but be kind of expensive, and wood chips can foster bacterial problems that I think we already have in some of the soils. So what's left? This year it was just no mulch.

The (weedy) rows. Tomatoes and tomatillos and peppers in the foreground, corn, beans and squash in the background.

Purple de Milpa tomatillos and marigolds. We have three tomatillos, and all have grown to be large plants, but only this one is producing a lot of fruit so far. Hopefully the others will step up, because I love tomatillo salsa, and I'd love to try canning some this year.

Pollination in progress in one of the zucchini flowers.

Morning glories mean summer to me. Love them. They can be invasive in the garden, but I don't care, anything that blooms that beautifully is welcome to steal a little water from the other plants.

Garlic chives in bloom. A very tasty addition to any salad, plus a natural pest control.

The artichokes and pickling cukes that I picked today. We're stockpiling the cukes for this weekend, when we intend to try my Grandma's bread and butter pickle recipe.

We've grown our black beans right up the corn stalks for the second year in a row. Its an ancient technique, and we like the way it looks and saves space.

Our watermelons just started to form fruit. Hopefully its not to late for them to reach maturity.

Artichokes are so cool, not to mention tasty. We've had more than enough to eat this year, especially since last month it was so hot that we couldn't bring ourselves to heat up the house by actually boiling them. We have a bit of an artichoke backlog in the frig now.

Looks like we left this one too long and its about to bloom.

Zinnias. I'm a big proponent of flowers mixed into the vegetable garden. Its a good place for those that you intend to cut and bring inside. We've been expanding the garden year by year, and next year I'd like to have a whole plot dedicated to flowers for cutting. Old fashioned flowers like gladiolas, dahlias, zinnias, and cosmos. We almost always have cosmos, but for some reason this year we didn't. I think its just because we started everything from seed, and just didn't have any cosmos on hand. We'll definitely have to remedy that next year.

The entire days harvest-- artichokes, Armenian cucumbers, zucchini, basil, tomatillos, and pickling cucumbers. There was also plenty of swiss chard, kale (its still going strong despite the heat), and some beets, tomatoes, and chiles-- but generally we don't pick those until we are ready to eat them.

For lunch I made one of my favorite snacks-- cucumber slices with dill, chunks of smoked cheese, and nuts. Its a great snack to serve with a chilled white wine-- though I skipped that today. I prefer it with walnuts, but all I had in the frig were these pine nuts, so they had to do.

One last photo as a bonus. I'm rather addicted to taking dark sky photos, and I took this one last week because the remaining hint of sunset against the dark trees was too pretty not to document.

1 comment:

  1. I love this post! I hope you do more gardening goodness here so that I can live vicariously through you.

    I adore tomatillo salsas and sauces, but for some reason have never once purchased any. What in the world am I waiting for? I'd love to see some of your tomatillo favorites.

    Man, your artichokes are pretty. I remember seeing a wedding bouquet in California made entirely out of artichokes - it was gorgeous!

    I also love what you're doing with beans around corn and flowers as natural repellents - I remember getting a tour of the biodynamic farm in ABQ that's over by Los Poblanos and being fascinated by all that can be done simply through plant arrangement.

    Such a great day's harvest!