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July 22, 2009

At last! Alert the media! The bounty has begin!

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That's part of my weekend harvest. All this time there was a HUGE eggplant growing in the raised bed garden and I didn't even know it was there! Mostly because I didn't bother hunting around in between the leaves. And also because I am not a very good farmer. But anyway, this weekend I watered all the plants and while poking around in the garden I discovered hidden pattypan squash, crookneck squash that were small enough to eat (and some ridiculously overgrown gourds), my gigantor eggplant, several perfect cucumbers and a single red cherry tomato. I looked out this morning before work and now there are multiple red tomatoes on the vines, so I have apparently conquered the tomato!

I also picked one ear of corn this weekend to see if it was ready to eat. I half-shucked it for that picture above, then immediately after the big kitchen photo shoot I removed the shuck and corn silk and dropped it into a pot of boiling water. It was delicious! It was a perfectly formed ear of corn, although on a small scale. It was about 7 inches in total length (miniature!) but so perfectly tasty and sweet. I can't tell you the last time I had an ear of corn that was fresh from the garden. It was decadent! Then I picked all the corn and ate it all before the weekend was over.

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It was delicious.

The raised bed garden is so huge and lush and green that I am shocked to see in my yard. It's really big:

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The cucumber plant is the big vine on the right side there, it's amazing. I can't believe I have such delicious perfect cucumbers this year. And right behind it, you can see the grey-green leaves poking up behind in the picture, is my giant and overgrown and lovely Bonnie "Heatwave" variety of tomato that I bought earlier in the year as a dare to Mother Nature -- even as I planted it I raised my tiny fist of ire and said, I will show you heatwave! I fully expected this plant to expire soon after the first hot weekend, but it has not only withstood several warm Valley weekends, it is actually kind of thriving. Miracle. There are big green tomatoes all over it and I am just waiting for one to ripen (they looked close this morning -- turning almost red!). I plan to wait another week or two and then just throw in the towel and fry up all the green ones. Because that's the lazy and impatient kind of gardener I am. I am practically hovering around it with the cornmeal and canola oil ready to go.

This year I planted two varieties of pumpkin and both are perplexing me. First, my little small pumpkin plant grew two perfectly formed little gourds and then the plant died. The pumpkins are ripe, you see. In July. Did I get the timing off? I'm wondering if I should go ahead and plant another pumpkin seedling in its spot since there are still months and months to go until October.

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My two perfect little ripe pumpkins. In July.

My other pumpkin plant is like something from Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The vines have moved upwards now, and there are baby pumpkins sprouting from all my hedges. What do I do with these? I can't make anymore pantyhose hammocks, the one I made for the first hedge-pumpkin led to the whole bottom half of the fruit turning mushy. And even if I could fashion the perfect pumpkin hammock, I don't think the hedge could support it. I think these are meant to be huge pumpkins. This is the size of the still-immature pumpkin growing furtively behind the garbage cans:

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Hello, big guy!

You can't really tell from the scale of the picture, but I am guessing that still-unripe pumpkin weighs close to 70 pounds by now. And here is the vine taking over the 8-foot hedge:

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And there are baby pumpkins sprouting forth all along it. So my options seem to be: 1) Do nothing, let nature take its course whatever course that may be. or 2) Try to maneuver the vines down off the hedges. But these are 10-foot-long mature vines, and they break easily. GAHHHHH. Why is pumpkin farming so fraught with moral ambiguity?

There are also mystery peppers growing in the garden. They were supposed to be bell pepper plants and they must have been mismarked seedlings, because I am getting what appear to be banana peppers and Anaheim chilis:

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The herbs are still alive and my Dad's chilis are almost ready to pick. I love my herbs and I wish I were a better cook, or even someone who cooks at all, so I could use them. My favorite herb right now is the delicate, lacy leaves of my chervil. I'm not sure what to do with chervil, but it's so green and healthy and pretty. As for the plants in my Topsy Turvy planters, they have all withered up and crisped and died in the intense heat. It was fun while it lasted. I think I might try to re-plant them with herbs or something come fall, who knows.

And I will leave you with one last picture, my little neglected cactus in the corner is blooming again:

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Summer!


Posted by laurie at July 22, 2009 10:14 AM