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May 2014

Weekly Garden Update: moving right along

I picked up a German Queen tomato plant the other day, stuck it in the garden on the side of the house. The only German Johnsons I found this year were in six-packs, which is not a thing for me. I think the Queens are smaller, but anyway. Bonnie has a good accounting of most of the tomatoes I'm growing this year.

Only I might have mentioned I mixed up the tags and can't tell which are which for some of them. It won't matter much, but the smallest seedling from a store was apparently rather stressed and is producing itself quite a tomato on its tiny branches. And I don't think it's the Early Girl. Also, hope not. Younggun

I have no idea yet what any of the volunteers are, and I've left them all in there, just for fun. I'm hoping this one is a Brandywine, but it might be Jetstar. Those seem to like seeding themselves an awful lot. At least one Yellow Pear might be nice, but they're all so small, I kind of doubt it; they grow tall rather quickly, in my experience. This one came up next to a marigold, and I'm leaving it right there. It'll be bug-free, at any rate. Those French marigolds smell even worse to outdoor creatures than they do to me. Tomarigold

The Indigo Rose is producing early because I bought it that way. It isn't really the thing to do, but I was very curious about it. They say the skin is a true purple, and has something very healthful in it. Indigorose
They are ready when fully purple and kind of dull all over.

On Saturday, I cut a Red Romaine head, and it's already growing back. So now we can definitely have garden salad every day for awhile, as there are four of those, and the other leafy lettuces are nearly ready, as well. Cutromaine

And the first green beans in the outside space are budding now. There are about 3 dozen plants sown at a two week interval. I was going to add another dozen, but now I think I'll wait until late summer. Greenbeanbuds
You can see the carrots are coming along, and by the time they need more space, the green beans will be there just to fertilize the soil.

Boxgarden

Deckgarden


Theoretical spaghetti sauce...

Sometimes I wish pasta salad hadn't become a thing in 1978 or whatever. Everything has been pasta pasta pasta ever since. But my 2nd gen mom and aunts called it all noodles, macaroni, spaghetti, maybe sometimes there'd be manicotti, which didn't sound remotely like how you say it. For them, it essentially rhymed with ricotta, which they also did not say like you say it. And there was lasagna, of course, contents of which were argued over every time it was made for Christmas Eve, which was now and then. When I grew up, I realized I was now putting my vote in for Aunt Helen's way, with just sausage, but actually, I still prefer all these dishes with the meat on the side, not inside. I've never been a ground meat sort of person, if that's a sort to be. So usually when I do eat it, it's for separate, not for mixing into things and screwing up their texture.

Anyway.  This Google search I just did is absurd, of course. First, because I know how to make spaghetti sauce 18 different ways and counting. Every time I make it, that's probably a new way. But I was looking for this particular one, cooked like a ragù, but without all the ragu in it. Second, because if I typed pasta, maybe I'd have found more of what I wanted, but I wasn't thinking of pasta, even though I'm actually going to put the sauce on ravioli later. And there will be sausage on the side, and salad from my garden.

And so whatever. This is what I plan to do. Chop vegetables, garlic, and a little salami, sauté it, add some tomato paste and red wine and let it reduce, then beef broth and smushed-up canned tomatoes, and some herbs from the garden. That's a fairly basic process. And let that simmer way low the rest of the afternoon. Then I'll see how it tastes later, finish it up, add a splash of cream, and serve it over the ravioli, which I got from Jungle Jim's pasta bar yesterday. Along with the sausage and mixed salad greens.

What's a cooking blog page post without photos, though? Hmm. Here is a linguini dinner I made for the boys recently, with a light chunky tomato sauce, sausage, and zucchini, and two photos of a very good gibson martini I enjoyed a few weeks ago. When the slow sauce is reality rather than theoretical, I will post instructions and pictures. 20140506_191152

Portraitview

Portraitview


Weekly Photo Update

The other day, I noticed one of the three volunteer tomato plants was much too close to a larger one. By the way, I know people call them volunteers when they spring up unbidden, but when you think about how you cultivate and turn over the soil in early spring, and then there they are anyway, volunteer seems inadequate. I call them surprise plants because you really never know where they might pop up.

Anyway, I moved this little lady, but left the other two where they began. Stillcorrect

20140519_162956

20140519_162956

The eggplants are producing beautiful blossoms. If I can keep them from being eaten, I'll finally have a "real" harvest of them. Last week I had to blast off aphids, and I stuck a nicotiana plant nearby. Then I found a caterpillar, which I removed, but something still wants to eat bits of leaf. However, they seem well for now, anyway, and the hot pepper plants I put in with them look great. 20140519_162319
And look, matching chives! It looks nice in that area, though I have a lot of very bad-smelling ivy to keep battling. 20140519_162414

We did end up having a storm late last night, but nowhere near as badly as was expected. There appeared to be some hail, but not much. And everything looks swell. The plants in the garden are still growing slowly but steadily, yet I'm sure they're about to take off. 20140522_075221

20140522_075133

20140522_075247


Weekly Photo Update

I upload pictures to Flickr in summer, but I think I'll illustrate weekly (roughly) progress here, as well. Later on, I will share flower garden photos; right now it's still just getting moving.

For the past few days, it's been extremely hot for this time of year, and most of the plants really aren't quite ready for that, yet. However, it's going to turn colder than normal for a few days starting Thursday. This will be great for the cabbages, greens, and beans, not awesome for the rest. They just like regular May, not vaulting forward and then back. But they'll be okay.

Vegetablegardensouth
Vegetablegardensouth
Vegetablegardensouth
Vegetablegardensouth
Vegetablegardensouth
Vegetablegardensouth
Vegetablegardensouth
Vegetablegardensouth


I did such a dumb thing.

I can't even figure out how this is possible. I adore Cosmos and like to have tons of them growing with my vegetables. I planted some with the new flower garden and thought I had three pots of seedlings in the greenhouse.

Yet somehow, I now have 16 Swiss Chard seedlings in there, instead. Plus the 5 already growing in the garden... 20140508_085313

Do you have any idea how much Swiss Chard this could be a month from now? I could feed this neighborhood with it. But I'm loathe to just kill it all. Maybe I'll go hunt up that community garden I saw somewhere near here and see if anyone there wants some of it.

And besides which, now I don't have Cosmos seedlings to put in with the vegetables. I could plant some directly in, but I've lost weeks, plus, birds have a tendency to eat those seeds.

Chard seeds and Cosmos seeds resemble each other in no way at all except in their ability to eventually produce a plant. So even if I knew I was planting chard and just later on thought I'd planted Cosmos, what on earth would make me plant so many?? And why didn't I plant the Cosmos??


An early garden point of view

I get impatient. I want early May to look like mid-June. But there is time enough for that. Maple seedlings are flying just now, and we haven't had most of the spring storms yet, and the nights have just turned officially warm.

People who want life to always look like a catalog page at every stage are people who miss out on a lot of stuff.

Zucchini
Zucchini
Zucchini
Zucchini Onionsisters
Onionsisters
Onionsisters
Onionsisters