State of the Garden: August

We’ve been doing our best to eat something from our garden every day. Some days we fail, but mostly we’re doing alright. It is easy to incorporate something everyday because we tried to plan the garden for things we actually eat – not entirely plants I just wanted to grow for the hell of it, although there are definitely some of those in there. We have had massive crops of basil, and we’ve been eating pesto, tofu pesto spread, basil on our sandwiches, and i don’t know what else. If i were a slightly better person, I might have put some basil or pesto in the freezer for the winter, but alas, I have not.

We have grown some show-stopping carrots in a variety of squiggly shapes. I asked Levi one night if he knew we were eating carrots we grew ourselves, and he said, “Of course. They don’t sell carrots that ugly at the store.” He’s totally right. Produce at the grocery store has to meet a beauty contest standard, or people won’t buy it. When you grow it yourself, you get so much insight into all the diversity of our natural world. Here are some astoudningly ugly (or beautiful, depends on your perspective) carrots. We grew organic Scarlet Nantes carrots this year.

Our heirloom tomatoes are doing absurdly well by Pacific Northwest standards. We did use tomato cages to support them, but they grew much, much larger than the cages. As a result, we have ended up with many broken branches from the weight of the fruit. What do you do with green tomatoes? You can make green tomato relish, which I have never made or eaten. Or you can bread them and fry them. We all love fried green tomatoes. However, it is a RIDICULOUS level of deliciousness to fry green Valencia tomatoes on the cusp of ripening, especially if you use blue cornmeal batter with jalapeños. Yes, we know we are ridiculous.

We have eaten some deliciously ripe mysterious heirloom tomatoes. Some of them have been identifiable (Valencia, Black Prince) and some were more obscure (“Maybe this is a Moskovitch?”)

We’re pretty sure that yellow one is a Valencia. I hope so, because I keep calling it a Valencia. This is the fruit of MONSTRO, one of the tomato plants Krista named.

These are two different kinds of red tomatoes. I can’t remember what varieties we guessed they were, but they were lip-smacking good. Have you ever seen such a beautiful tomato? I didn’t think so. They are like the super models of tomatoes.

We have been harvesting potatoes and eating so many of them. I grew one Yukon Gold, which hasn’t been harvested yet, and a half-dozen Cal Red potatoes. These cal reds are glorious potatoes. They are the best tasting tubers I’ve ever laid my tastebuds on. We have mostly been roasting them, eating them for breakfast or in tacos, or making oven fries out of them. The consistency is perfectly smooth and buttery, and the flavor is so delicate. I would definitely grow these again! We have gotten about 7 lbs of them so far, all from 1 tire. I think dollar/pound, potatoes are one of the cheapest and most rewarding things to grow. I spent about 65 cents on seed potatoes.

We have about 100,000 scarlet runner beans hanging on the vine, but no one has been inclined to eat them, so we haven’t harvested them yet. We did pick off 1 or 2 pods and snack on them while we were working in the garden. They are amazing because the pod is bright green and the beans are pink. It’s very colorful. The scarlet runner beans are the one plant I grew just because I wanted to, not because I knew we would eat them. I might grow them again because they are so pretty, but I am more inclined to try my hand at black, pinto or soy beans next year. Or maybe chickpeas!

The leeks are pretty much victims of tomato sprawl. They don’t look so good. None of our peppers are quite ripe yet, although some of them are starting to turn. The shallots are hanging in there, but not getting too big yet. The ground cherries are getting closer to harvest every day! It’s a very exciting time in the summer garden. I have no idea if/how we are going to pull off a fall/winter garden, since we’re moving smack in the middle of it all.

The state of the garden is strong.

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Filed under food, summer, urban farming

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