Hey, look what I found in the garden yesterday morning?
If you read this blog with any regularity at all, you know that I make a semi-regular joke out of my disdain for eating eggplant. I like growing it, I think it is a pretty plant, but I am just not excited to eat it. So, for all of you eggplant lovers out there, here’s your challenge: Give me a recipe to try that you think will change my mind about eggplant. I’ve already got an eggplant parmesan recipe, so don’t give me that recipe unless you have a significant change/improvement on it. My family will eat almost any cuisine and any spice/flavor profile, so there are no restrictions there. We can also pretty much cook with any technique, so no restrictions there.
I’ll make an effort to try several different recipes and share the results with you throughout the summer. I’ll even come up with some sort of spiffy rating system. (Maybe 5 yuck faces, 3 yuck faces, 1 yuck face, a meh-take-it-or-leave-it face, and a I’ll tolerate it half-smiley face? Okay, just kidding.) So leave a comment with your recipe or send me an email. (rmcmahonATksuDOTedu) I’ve already got a list of several interesting recipes started, so I want to see what your favorites are!
We received our Sweet Potato slips last Thursday, and I stuck them in right away. We were planning to plant 2 varieties in the raised bed: ‘O’Henry’ and ‘Beauregard.’ We also received some NC Japanese that I wasn’t planning on. I stuck a couple of those slips in the area where we tried to plant rhubarb, just to have something to take that space this year.
As I showed you last Friday, this is how we got the slips. They are good and healthy! These “slips” are shoots that were cut off of sprouted sweet potatoes from last year. Each slip will quickly root and grow into a large plant.
This is the hole in Bed 10 which is much sandier soil mix. You can see the darker soil right by the emitter that I had turned on, but you can also see that the soil is very dry otherwise. It is clear to see the benefits of mulch and more organic matter in a sandy soil.
Okay, enough of the digression about the different soils and how dry they were.
I planted two slips of both varieties in this bed, roughly in each corner near an emitter. I planted the two NC Japanese slips in the bed with the horseradish. We probably could have gotten away with only planting 2 or 3 slips in this space. It will be fun to see how filled up with sweet potatoes this bed is by the end of the summer!
Now it’s Monday, and the plants were no longer wilted. They were nice and straight, but still not looking great. On closer inspection, one plant is basically a twig. This one had a whole cadre of roly polys on the leaf. UGH! I know it rained last night, but this is ridiculous. Once the vines take off and start growing it won’t be a concern. For now, I hit them directly with a little neem oil/pyrethrin spray.
We’ll keep an eye on them, but I think they will take off by next week.
Have you survived the first bout of heat this week? It is definitely a change for this year!
Here’s the view of the whole garden for the week. I took the picture Thursday afternoon, hence the full sun! Plants are getting bigger, especially the tomatoes, which seem to have doubled in size over the week. You can also see that the garlic and shallots are getting progressively more grey in color as they get closer to harvest. I am still taking the “whole garden” pictures from the other angles too, I just don’t want to spend the space looking at them here. I created a set on Flickr for them, and I’ll get them all added to the set eventually. That set is here.
This Red Large Lettuce Leaf Basil is living up to its name in that it is purple/red and the leaves are getting huge. Whether it looks like lettuce leaves I will leave up to you. It does have a very funky appearance though, especially compared to your typical basils.
I cooked up something tasty this week using garlic scapes, fresh Maiskij garlic, shallot scapes, and some of the lemongrass I froze last fall. You’ll have to check back next week to see what I made! (Sorry, I know…so many future blog posts, so little time this week.)
As per usual, a couple weeks after putting out the wheat straw mulch, we have wheat seedlings growing! This really isn’t a big concern. It is easy to pull out and either let it dry on top of the mulch or add it to your compost bins. If you are more on top of things than we are, you would have watered your straw bale a couple weeks before mulching, let it sprout, then spread the mulch afterwards.
These are the tomatoes from the ‘Taxi’ plant. They sized up quickly over the weekend, although they still aren’t at full size. Unless one of the grape or cherry tomatoes comes on strong (a real possibility), my money is on this plant for having the first ripe tomato of the year.
Have a great weekend!
Since we’ve been busy harvesting garlic, I thought it would be a good time to dust off this video about harvesting and storing onions. Our onions here are not as big as we might wish, but the tops look like they are coming into the final stretch of growth.
I think summer is here. Ugh. At least we are going to have tomatoes this year! We harvested two more varieties of garlic this morning, ‘Sonoran’ and ‘Ajo Rojo.’
This just goes to show that you can’t judge a garlic based solely on how the plant looks above the ground. All the garlic we harvested today was nice sized, but the ‘Sonoran’ bulbs were larger on average, even though the plants were smaller and had thinner stalks.
I had harvested a couple of the ‘Ajo Rojo’ (ah-ho row-ho) bulbs on Saturday as part of the Saturday Sampler. They were ready to bundle and hang today. These bulbs are pretty nice, but there are some from today that aren’t as big. It is hard when the first variety you harvest has huge bulbs. It makes everything else, even when the bulbs are respectable size, seem disappointingly small.
So we have now harvested 3 varieties and the Inchelium Red has reached the dry down stage. I would guess that most of the other varieties are a couple of weeks for dry down and a couple more weeks from harvest. Things could move much faster though, if it stays this hot for long term.