Last updated on July 17th, 2016
How’s your veggie patch progressing? Any problems to report? My own Kitchen Garden, above, got off to a later-than-usual start this year. But the tomatoes are climbing, the potatoes are vining, and…well, here’s my July “farm report,” followed, I hope, by yours:
I should probably mention that the garden is planted with flowers and veggies that are not attractive to varmints. After last year’s fiasco, when a woodchuck devoured my sweet potato vines and zinnias, I said “no mas.” And so far, I’ve had no pest problems at all. (((Knock on wood.)))
Wanna eat something while we stroll around the garden? I hope you like Chocolate Chunk Cookies with Fresh Mint (recipe here).
We can sip something, too. On hand today is a pitcher of cool, refreshing Limeade (recipe here).
What’s that you say?
You’d like a splash of vodka in your drink?
We’re on the same page, dear. Bottoms up!
Now click your heels three times, and…
SWOOSH! We are standing before the Kitchen Garden’s entrance gate, with a view of some just-starting-to-bloom snapdragons. Like all members of the sage family, these Antirrhinum majus are not attractive to woodchucks and rabbits.
Because I like to use snapdragons in cut-flower arrangements, I planted tall ‘Rocket’ varieties. Would you like to meet them?
Say “hello” to this ‘Rocket Yellow’…
And this ‘Rocket Bi-Color’ …
And this pinkish ‘Rocket Rose’…
And this dashing ‘Rocket Red.’
There. We’ve covered the garden’s 4 central 2×8 beds. Let’s meander clockwise to view the veggies:
Bed #5: Bell Peppers. These are flowering and fruiting now. I use the fruit — some green, some red, to make a profoundly delicious and utterly versatile Basque condiment called Piperade (recipe here).
Bed #6: Hard-Neck Garlic.The crop looks a little haggard just now, because the bulbs are approaching harvest-time. Hard-neck garlic produces the scapes required for the most delicious pesto in the world. Here’s the recipe. After harvest, I’ll replant the bed with some already-sprouted russet potatoes.
Not sure when to harvest garlic? See this post.
Bed #7: Bachelor Buttons, Scallions, and Lovage. Do you have Bachelor Buttons in your garden? This Centaurea cyanus is a happy magnet for honey bees, but it is ignored by pests. Alliums, which include garlic, scallions, and onions, are also immune to curious creatures. Lovage is loved by me, and loathed by wandering woodchucks and rabbits.
Have you tried my Lovage Pesto yet? Here’s the recipe.
Bachelor Buttons, up close. You can employ the blue blossoms the old-fashioned way: Poke a flower in the button-hole of your shirt pocket. In a bygone era, unmarried gentlemen did this very thing to indicate — and presumably to women — their availability for courtship. Hence centauria’s popular nickname, “Bachelor’s Button.”
Bed #8: Asparagus. I planted this crop two years ago, but it will need another year before stalks can be harvested. Mercifully the plants are repugnant to 4-legged vegetarians.
Beds 9 and 10: Potatoes. Unlike sweet potatoes, regular white (or red, or blue) spuds offer no appeal to Woody, Chippy, and Bugs Bunny. For the best harvest, the vines must be “hilled” as they grow. I hill mine with shredded leaves.
Bed #11: Tomatoes! I planted just 4 varieties this year, or enough to satisfy my cravings for Classic Tomato Pie (recipe here.) Yes, chipmunks and squirrels will sometimes eat the unpicked fruit. But they do not bother the foliage.
Bed #12: Onions. These, as I mentioned earlier, are members of the pest-proof Allium clan. I planted the ‘Copra’ variety because it stores well for winter use.
Well. We can check this garden’s progress in another month or so. Meanwhile, in the comments field below, let me know how your own veggie garden is coming along. Are you harvesting yet?