Garden Diary - July 2020

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Janet's Victorious Vegetable Garden in Summer

Monday, 13 July 2020

"I've started to dig the garlic." Janet advised me. "But it is all hardneck so pretty stiff. You are welcome to try braiding - maybe it will be easier once the stalks wilt." The answer is, it makes no difference. Hardneck garlic is lovely to eat, stores well. Doesn't braid.

The summer garden. It's growing, changing, starting to burgeon with produce.

The cucumbers are starting to bear, with pickle cucumbers first.
No silly, they're not pickled on the vine. So you can slice and eat.

The first peppers are making an appearance. Amusing that we eat
peppers both green and under-ripe as well as red ripe and sweeter.

Almost time for the first garden ripe red tomatoes. I like fried green
tomatoes but not now when everyone is waiting for Jersey Fresh.

Not tomatoes but tomatillos. I use them to make salsa verde
both fresh and cooked. Janet grows them for the bees, then
shares the fruit to Hispanic cooks. Perhaps me too . . .

"Would you like some potatoes?" Janet said. And promptly dug some Red Norland for me.
The potatoes will be the start of dinner but I needed something of equal quality to pair up.

Aha! I have it. Tillapia fillets, separated along the seam, dusted with flour, some salt and a little fresh ground pepper. Slice up two baby bella mushrooms, saute in butter and a little oil. Cut a few shrimp into 4 pieces each, add to mushrooms. Set aside. Saute tillapia until just done.

Plate up thicker section of fish, add mushrooms and shrimp, set thinner portion of fish at an angle across everything and top with a thin slice of mandarin orange. Potatoes had been boiling while fish was being prepared. When done slice up, add butter and parsley. Delicious!

The eggplants had been growing under fleece to protect the young plants
from flea beetles. Bees must be allowed access, now that they are flowering.

Same purpose, different plants and insect pest. Pumpkins and winter squash
are surging under fleece that protects them from striped cucumber beetles.
As the plants come into flower they must be uncovered if they are to produce.

There's been a spell of heavy rain over a few days. You can see how well Janet's mound and furrow system copes. Kingwood Twp. has a high water table and the original soil was not great. Years of planting green manure (buckwheat), adding load after load of stable bedding of shavings (the horses urine has more fertilizer value than the solid bits), and planting daikon radish whose roots dive deep to open up the heavy soil has given the garden a delightfully loose open loam.

Janet has planted a few okra. We agreed that cooked okra must be
a Southern thing. Slimy! Small baby okra, eaten raw, are not bad.

The artichokes, started indoors at winter's end are now beginning to flower.

And here at the start of summer's abundance, seedlings growing
to be planted in the garden for autumn harvest. Garden's cycles.

UPDATE: Thursday, 16 July 2020

Back to Janet's impressive vegetable garden today, with a car load
of corrugated cardboard for mulch underlayment. Camera in hand

See why my offer of cardboard was happily accepted. This stack was already on hand.

As each new bed is prepared it is raked over, planted (seed or transplants),
then cardboard over area adjacent to planting, which is covered with mulch.

The first sowing of corn is beginning to tassel. Those are not weeds,
but bean seedlings, planted later than the corn and ready to climb.
Two of the Iroquois Nation's Three Sisters, which included squash.

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