Monday, June 29, 2015

Fractal Cauliflowers, Big Cabbages, and Other Things in the Garden

I was out in the garden and rather blown away by the cabbages and cauliflowers.  They're huge!  Well, the plants are anyways....they're just starting to form heads.  It is remarkable to watch.  Matt started a seed in the basement in March.  We transplanted them out into the beds mid-April.  They're starting to form heads by the end of June.  Being a part of the process so intimately is life-altering.  I have found that its hard to take food for granted when you have a hand in the process of bring it to the plate.  I wish that everyone could have the experience--maybe there would be less food waste and rampant overconsumption.  And even if not, I bet there'd be increased appreciation of having a plate heaped with food.  That would be a good thing all by itself.

It baffles me to find June is over.  You'd think this garden would help me realize the passage of time, but no!  All of the sudden June is over, the spinach has been pulled, and there are tiny baby cauliflowers!

Sidenote:  Cauliflower is one of my favorite German words.  In German it is "blumenkohl."  "Blumen" means flower and "kohl" means cabbage.  Cabbage flowers!  I get a kick out of it, I must say.
The cabbages and cauliflowers heading out into the garden for transplanting.  April 14, 2015
They were starting to get rootbound in their pots, but just barely.  This was an ideal level of root development, I think.  The block of soil was held together for easy transplanting and the cabbage should have a good footing in the garden--but without feeling like the poor thing had been being smashed in the little pot.  Its nice when timing works out like that.  April 14, 2015
Matt dug the holes... 
...and we filled them with freshly sifted compost.  April 14, 2015
Then we tucked the little transplants in and gave them a good drink.  April 14, 2015
A garden overview.  Onions in the closest beds, potatoes in the beds behind them.  From left to right:  cabbage/cauliflower (back corner), Swiss chard (and lots of empty space soon to be filled with tomatoes), peas (now all picked), carrots (not up yet and lots of empty space soon to be filled with tomatoes) and celeriac and fennel, garlic and strawberries (hidden behind the garlic), and raspberries.   June 18, 2015
With all the spinach bolting and, as a result, getting harvested we've made a couple of these tofu quiches.  I thought this one was particularly attractive.  Its good to be eating outside, too.  June 18, 2015
Our little apple trees are doing the best from our itty-bitty orchard.  I am so excited for my first homegrown, freshly picked Honey Crisp....they're far and away my favorite apple.  Apparently there are too many deer in the neighborhood to have such small trees in the front yard.  The apricot is doing okay.  June 18, 2015
Our onions are looking like our most promising batch to date....but time will tell!  June 19, 2015
We harvested six of these potato plants for our creamed peas and potatoes last week.  June 19, 2015
Carrots, celery, celeriac, fennel, eggplant, and peppers.  I am such a fan of the warm weather crops.  June 19, 2015
All those peppers make me happy.  I am still using up the last string of the cayenne peppers we dried last year.  Matt thought maybe we'd grown too many, but I've made good work on them.  I've not had to buy hot sauce in years!  I've got my recipe dialed in just the way I like it.  Its awesome.  June 19, 2015
The garlic looks so good--and the scapes were a tasty seasonal treat!  I am so eager to see what the bulbs look like.  The raspberry patch (on the right) has become Ginger's fortress of choice.  June 19, 2015
The pea vines were pulled last week--with another pound shelled.  We tried a new strategy this year--no trellis.  We found them easier to pick and we have the bed space early in the year--so its not like we need to go vertical.  We also learned we could easily put in five double rows instead of three without the fencing/trellis in the way.  I think we're sold on it.  June 19, 2015
The tomatoes transplanted out into the bed formerly occupied by spinach and chard.  We're growing a lot of paste and roma varieties, as usual, for our sauce making.  We got a couple oddballs through--a couple different Tigerellas, gifted to us from one of my colleagues.  There is still a little chard in the very back of the bed.  Chard takes the heat so much better than spinach--and is so pretty!  June 19, 2015
Bok choy going to flower with the cabbage and cauliflower in the back.  June 19, 2015
Ginger goes outside on her own, but I check in on her every so often--just to make sure she is still in the yard.  She's pulled a Hoodini on us a couple of times and ended up at the neighbors.  So, I went out to check on her and at first couldn't lay eyes on her.  And the I noticed her eyes peeking out from the cabbage patch.  She loves the garden.  June 22, 2015
A garden overview from the west, highlighting the potatoes and onions.  June 22, 2015
Matt enjoying a Moscow Mule and admiring the little bitty Honey Crisp tree.  June 25, 2015
This is the other apple tree--a Haralson,  June 25, 2015
We caged up the tomatoes after giving them a good top dressing of compost.  June 25, 2015
We really like these DIY tomato cages, too.  They nest inside each other for winter storage and are super easy to place in the beds and harvest around.  June 25, 2015
Eggplants and peppers--heaven for my tastebuds--also with a nice top dressing of compost.  We really like doing it that way.  Then when it rains or is watered the compost goodness can just work its way into the soil.  We never have enough compost though.  June 25, 2015
A farmer at the Farmer's Market talked us into buying a fennel bulb three years ago.  Previously I don't think I knew you could even eat fennel except for the seeds.  Heavens was I mistaken!  A roasted fennel bulb is magnificent.  Such tenderness and flavor!  I am sure glad we took a chance based on that farmer's advice.  She was on to something!  Last year was the first time we grew it.  Its attractive and smells nice, too.  June 25, 2015
Pretty purple potato blossoms.  This is the first year since we started gardening that we won't be growing purple potatoes.  We couldn't locate any locally and have given up ordering seed potato through the mail because of the weight/cost of shipping.  And all the other potato fiends got to the local purples before us!  Oh well....there is always next year.  June 25, 2015
The cabbages have gotten so big.  June 25, 2015
I like the way their leaves sort of spiral out.  June 25, 2015
Speaking of spiral!  This isn't the best photo, but I left my camera in the rain and its drying out so I cannot take a better one.  We grew a blend of different cauliflowers (blumenkohl!), but they all seemed to turn out to be Romanesco--awesome spiraled, fractal veg!  Sometimes its called a broccoli and sometimes its called a cauliflower, so I am not really sure--though the seed packet we used called it a cauliflower.  Whatever it is called it is pretty spectacular!  June 25, 2015
I had a few more photos to add from the last couple of days, but they're trapped on my camera until it dries out.  I went out to harvest the currants.  Snapped a few photos of them.  Set the camera on the porch.  That was silly....I should have just put it in my pocket!  The garden sure enjoyed the rain though.  Its hot out!

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