Saturday, August 13, 2011

Harvest Basket

 There is an old saying that the best fertilizer for a garden is the gardener's shadow. That's generally very true. Unfortunately, no matter how much time you spend in your garden, you will not cast a shadow if the sun never comes out!
It's been a pretty cool summer and I decided to cut down my tomato plants so they will stop taking up valuable space and to get going on my winter garden plantings. This is the first time in 25 years of gardening that I have given up on my tomatoes before they produced anything. I have had a realization that tomatoes and peppers are a luxury that I cannot afford this year. I am finding that the higher altitude of the Homestead has been a real challenge for these last two cool summers.


Cilantro is a cool weather crop and it did really well. It likes to bolt before I can use it all though. A good friend gave me the idea to make Cilantro pesto. I picked what I had and whirred it up in the blender with some mild olive oil.
Now I can put it in my freezer in blobs and pull it out to put in Thai, Mexican and Indian dishes all winter. She's a genius!

 I also like to let a lot of Cilantro bloom for two reasons: the tiny native pollinators absolutely adore the little white blooms and I use the Coriander (Cilantro seed) for next years crop and for cooking.
It is looking like I will be getting a couple dozen yellow zucchini before the rain comes back. I've never been so anxious for zucchini before. I am usually begging people to take them off my hands by now.
There are greens galore and we have been eating gigantic salads and "Eggs in a Nest" for dinner. 

"Eggs in a Nest" is when you put a 1/2 inch of water in a sauce pan and then you put leaves of chard in layers (8 or 9 leaves) into a bowl shape in the pan and then crack a couple eggs into the bowl of leaves. Salt and pepper, a little mustard powder. Put a lid on it and cook over medium for as long as you like your eggs cooked. I like mine to be over easy style, June likes hers hard cooked. It takes about 5-8 minutes.

As far as beauty goes the big hands down winner in my garden was the Speckles Butter Head lettuce and the Lobelia I planted at the end of each row. I will definitely do this pairing on purpose next year.
My baby asparagus is doing pretty good. A few of the roots didn't take. 80% of them are doing good. I think it was because of the state they were in when I bought them. They had been displayed in an open box at the nursery and had been very dehydrated when I brought them home.

The plethora of basil seed I planted didn't come up in the cold soil and by the time I noticed it was too late to start any. Desperate for the smell and taste we associate with summer, Buck bought some Basil at the store but we didn't get around to finishing it all. I put it in a glass of water to make it last longer and it rooted. I planted it in the garden and it took off!
I started the seeds for my winter garden the end of July and I am now seeing my sprouts of several kinds of lettuce, chard, radishes, beets and peas.
I feel grateful for what I have. My harvest basket isn't full of tomatoes and melons, but it is full of turnips, Cilantro, three kinds of lettuce, Chioggia beets, Purple Viking potatoes and Five Color Silverbeet chard. These are some of the most nutritious and yummy foods from a garden.


  1. ..hehe you have a bigger garden but the veggies are all in the same stages of growth..Usually we are overgrown with zuch..this year, none. I am going to try out that 'eggs in a nest'!

  2. Ugg... I haven't started on my winter garden yet. I guess I need to see if there are a few things I can squeak in.

  3. EGB you must be at about the same elevation as us. It seems like summer hardly got here and now my winter garden is doing better than the summer garden. I never thought I would be excited to get a zucchini in September...

    Hi Robin, Even though it's late I would suggest you go ahead and plant a bunch of chard and lettuce and beets and cabbage. even if they don't get big enough to eat by winter they will hang around till very early spring and then go whole hog- much earlier than you would expect.Just remember to keep up with the slugs!


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