Saturday, October 2, 2010
September Garden Update -belated
The garden is winding down and fall is approaching. It's been a lack-luster year due to our cooler than average spring. Our mild winter has also produced an abundance of pests like slugs, snails and aphids... Literally every broad leafed plant I have is holey, it's been frustrating to say the least.
*The "W" was a little experiment I did for Wrigley's gum... the project fell through but I have another idea hatching! It's made with gum.
My biggest success was the zucchini and cucumber plants! I've been getting 2-3 large zuchs and cukes a week. I planted 3 zucchini plants and 4 cucumber plants. The cucumber surprised me the most and I've been enjoying Greek salads for 2 months now. I'm not remotely sick of eating cucumbers yet and will miss them come winter. The Burpee's Supreme is definitely welcome in the garden next year.
What you see in the picture above is my 2nd round of planting for the year. I started with spinach, lettuce, peas, radishes, peppers (BIG FAIL), chard & tomatoes (which is just ripening). The 2nd round consisted of zucchini, cucumber, onion more chard and long beans... also various herbs in gallon containers. I'm toying around with a 3rd round of planting for winter harvest? Maybe garlic, cabbage, kale and more chard??? It's supposed to be a very severe winter and I've never overwinter crop plants before. If I am to do it I'd need to start now and pull out the plants that are slowing production. I still have to wait for the tomatoes to ripen... but the zucchinis are starting to mildew and they've stopped producing... So many decisions and so much to experiment with. I'm learning as I go!
My latest haul... I'm getting less cucumbers and zucchinis but more tomatoes. There's also a handful of basil, Vietnamese cilantro (rau răm) and shiso (thanks to Vic ^_^). This is a weekly harvest with tomatoes coming in between.
The Tomato Jungle:
My tomatoes are finally ripening. I pruned away the lower leaves so I can actually see where the tomatoes are. Seeing this makes me happy!
A good friend of mine gave me a few shiso plants this year. It was my first time planting and eating it. It has a very distinct spicy/pungent flavor. It's hard to describe, but GREAT grilled with meats. I pickled these leaves and ate them wrapped around rice (much like how you would use grape leaves). I've had the Vietnamese variety before, which is purplish and much spicier. My parents used to make Nem Nướng, only they would wrap these leaves around the meat before grilling. The result is a nice infused flavor.
*Thank you Food for For for the amazing recipe! A bit THANKS to Vic for the plants and pickling spices.
Rau Răm is another one of my favorite herbs. We used to eat these with baby duck eggs (Hột vịt lộn - Warning the link is pretty graphic!) You eat the eggs with a handful of these leaves and salt & peper for flavoring. I've always been squeamish about eating a little duck fetuses... so I would just have it with a hard boiled egg instead. It was a wonderful peppery taste and provides a nice kick. I would recommend eating it raw. The effects aren't there when cooked.
It's not all fun and games. Here are a few FAILS from the garden:
Green onion FAIL!
The tomatoes overshadowed these poor guys and I have a pile of limp greens. But the good news is the slugs and snails left them alone! :P
Malabar Spinach FAIL!
I started these from seed late in the season and they never took off... they were also heavily targeted by the slugs. I was supposed to have a vast jungle of them by now, being that they are vigorous growers. But alas this tender trailing vine is the only thing I have. Maybe I can bring this one indoors over the winter and have a head start next year.
For those unfamiliar with Malabar Spinach it's like eating okra, very slimy with an abundance of mucus.
Maple Tree FAIL!
I think I killed him by digging around and disturbing his roots. I had to clear off some bamboo runners and I transplanted another tree next to him. I'll do a severe pruning and hope he comes back next year.