Friday, June 27, 2014

They're ba-ack...

Squash borers. If you see one, there are hoards. I won a battle, it's true. I, Fearless Gardener,  prevented them from invading the stem directly, but revenge is sweet. Here's how it went down, literally:

 Thwarted at the ground level the soft, oozy caterpillars gathered at dusk in the canopy of the defenseless, fruiting Zucca Maxima, in the prime of her bloom. There, they hatched a plan to invade from the air. Oooo, this would be fun! They would bore holes at the junction of the leaf and leaf stem on the underside knowing that I, Fearless Gardener, their opponent, would be watching down on the garden floor below.
The point of entry.
     In a stunning, mass assault they each chose their individual leaves for cover, waited until dark of night, signaled silently using pheromones and started chewing. It was hard work for a time, but they had time, and darkness of night, on their side for the Fearless Gardener would need respite. 
Fearless Gardner, weapon at hand. 

     Simultaneously,  they began their chewing through the fibrous stem they found waiting undefended a cool, wet, natural waterside. All together, with elation at their victory, they slid down their curvy, watery stem-slides. Ity-bity voices cheering joyously, "Weeee!" and "Waaa-hoo!" Exhausted but victorious, and just a tad hungry, they snacked their way into the luscious, mother-stem bringing Zucca Maxima down much as a dragon brought down by arrows.
Now you will die! I will squash you!

     It is a sad day, gentle gardeners, in Grande Oak Garden. A sad, sad, day. Really. I am in mourning.

Monday, June 23, 2014

The large and small of it...

Ta-da! I was right. Again. Elephant garlic is a biennial.

Here's how it works:
Year one: Plant the hard brown pips that are attached to the mother garlic in late September/early October. It will sprout green leaves that look remarkably like leeks. Wait about 10 months. It will not flower and you, dear gardener will leave it in the ground. 
Year two: Wait some more. It will sprout again and grow all winter but...this spring it will send up a flower shoot which you, gentle gardener, as soon as you notice,  will pinch off as soon as you notice. This will allow your Elephant garlic to get bigger. Wait for the leaves to turn brown, pull it from the ground and you will have a milder version of the garlic we all know and love.

Does it kill vampires? Haven't tried it yet but I know they are out there. The new millennium term is Republican.
Elephant garlic with clove and pips and the regular stuff

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Harvest Time

Potatoes, cabbage, beets (yep, I did it) turnips and green beans galore are all coming out this week. It is deadly hot and dry, dry, dry-so out they come. No point in going on, or as Freakonomics my favorite drive-to-work podcast would suggest, failure can be a good. Give a listen and, if you have ever failed, you may feel better about conceding to your opponent(s).

In the winner's corner: I have given cabbage to neighbors, hope to have potatoes for a fall harvest, and have been eating steamed green beans with my fingers, like french fries, for weeks.  Grill roasted potatoes, turnips and beets have graced my dinner plate. Okra is up and looking pretty darned good. Field peas are thriving and by some miracle of fate the squash borers haven't attacked before I got some squash. Now that's something to talk about!  Life is good when the garden is giving. Food foraging for blueberries and blackberries at River Lumber, I am reminded of my place in food history. Dudes. It's hours of picking to come up with enough ity, bity blueberries for a cobbler. I do not exaggerate.
Red okra. A Christmas gift.