Once again, we’ve gone more than a week without an update. Things have been hot here in the Mid-Atlantic region, which means that it’s been a productive couple of weeks outside. Not only that, but Panda and I have been active. There was a trip down to Mississippi for my dad’s family reunion last week, and a number of things of other things that I’ll get to in the rest of this post.
So, no, I didn’t fly over to Iraq and vote in an election, in case you were wondering about that photo up there at the top of the post. A couple of weeks ago – has it been more than a month already? – some friends of ours came over for dinner. Before dinner, we were drinking beer in the backyard and playing a bit of bocce, when one of them (an all-around super knowledgeable dude when it comes to things nature-related; handy to have around. If you don’t have one of those friends, I highly suggest making one, grin… for purposes of the blog, I’ll call him “Liono”) said to us, “You know that’s a mulberry tree back there?” And indeed it was. That photo was taken two weeks ago Saturday after a highly productive mulberry picking session. And it turns out that we have not one, but two(!) mulberry trees back there. Food in the back yard for which we didn’t have to do any work! Pretty sweet. We picked close to a gallon of mulberries that day, which we unfortunately didn’t have much time to do anything with, but now we have them all frozen in the freezer, so I reckon we can use them in pies or all kinds of things later this year. Meanwhile, here’s a picture from this last Sunday of the handful that Panda picked to put in her Monday-morning oatmeal:
So, other than mulberries, there’s been a lot going on in the yard. Check out the picture below. First off, the spinach all started to bolt. Not surprising, since it apparently doesn’t love heat. So we harvested it all. You can see that bare patch in the front of the right-hand bed. In it’s place went Waltham butternut squash seeds, the first of which I noticed tonight starting to poke its head up above ground. The arugula and carrots are both out of control right now. We’ve been eating a lot of arugula salads, and the other night Panda made an arugula pesto recipe we found in a Mark Bittman book (I wasn’t a huge fan – I think I like it better as a salad; a bit too bitter for my taste as a pesto, though totally edible, I think I prefer the classic basil or maybe a basil-sage mix; Panda seemed to like it pretty well though. From the same book, we’ve also made a warm chickpea and arugula salad that was pretty solid, as well as plenty of just plain tossed-with-oil-and-vinegar-and-mustard salads, which I also love). Meanwhile, you’ll notice a number of other things going on down there: I’ve built a tripod for our cucumbers to start climbing in the right-hand bed, and a “centopod” tomato cage in the Back 33. It was originally intended to be a trellis for the beans until I looked at the seed package and noticed that we had not, in fact, planted pole beans (as I’ve called them so many times in here thus far), but they are in fact Royalty Purple bush beans. They’re doing so well I’m pretty sure they’d have grown if we planted them in wet concrete. As you might have gathered, cucumbers are doing well, most of the tomatoes that we started indoors are doing well, the summer squash is rocking pretty hard (front of the left-hand bed), and I’m pretty excited to find out what Anise-scented basil tastes like. Totally smells licorice-anise-y, in any case, but it’s still way to small to harvest any leaves yet. But wait, dude, you’re probably saying to yourself. There’s so much more greenery in there than in your last post! Yeah, we cheated. Or, as Liono put it, we’re not cheating; we’re just ensuring success.
I don’t know exactly which is the right answer on that question, but it definitely felt a little like we’d changed the rules about ten minutes into the first half, which seems more like cheating to me. But then, I reckon cheating is one way of ensuring success, so maybe it’s just the wrong question to be asking. In any case, we broke down and went to the garden center. We bought two tomato plants (a Big Boy and a Roma, if I recall), three different varieties of sweet pepper (including a pinot noir that already has a pepper growing on it; I totally thought it was sick or rotting immediately before Panda reminded me that it’s supposed to be that color), and extra cucumber, some sweet basil, and an eggplant. I think that’s all there was, in any case.
So, I’m pretty sure that’s all the garden news. In the meantime, I’ve got one last picture to show you – consider it a teaser for the next post (also overdue). I’ll get to that soon enough. In the meantime, take a gander at 20 lbs of fresh-picked strawberries: