Saturday, June 22, 2013

Summer, Saturday, and Strawberries!

What an incredible day! I spent the morning in a garden workshop at Gracewood Studio (see my other garden blog for today) and came home to a wonderful quiet afternoon, 75º outside, no wind, and a dozen and a half of fresh-pickable strawberries, not to mention a couple snap peas and the first raspberries of the year.

I rinsed these off and have eaten half of them already, with my supper. For the last few I mixed up an easy instant chocolate sauce (1 Tbsp. nonfat Nancy's yogurt, 1 tsp. cocoa powder, 2 Tbsp. powdered sugar. Adjust quantities for sweetness and thickness), and oh my goodness, what incredible, astonishing flavor. I feel that I am now in a position to HIGHLY recommend Seascape strawberries! They are growing and producing great guns, and throwing runners like it's going out of style, and the berries are so sweet and bright-tasting they practically effervesce. They have exactly the same sprightly bubbliness on your tongue that a perky flute of champagne does. I have no idea how that happens, but it does.

The Liberty apples are growing faster than any of the other apples and pears, about 1.5" in diameter now. The pears have grown, as have the other apples, but they're way behind the Liberties. So far the footies seem to be stretching easily to fit the fruit. I'm wondering if I'll need to go around and partially untwist the footies so they'll stretch more easily. I'm just keeping them under observation for now.

My tuscan kale is so beautifully lumpy! It's also more tender, quicker to cook, and milder than any of the kales I've grown so far. I need to start blanching it because I can't eat it fast enough to keep it under control. It's great with potatoes and vinaigrette.

My bergarten sage in the veggie patch is looking beautiful and blooming more than last year. The other little ones I put out other places are still getting established, but I'm hoping they start looking like this next year. I love the big light blue flowers.

I've learned a bunch about basil this year, trying to grow it for the first time. In mid-may I bought 7 little pots of it and planted them in with my blueberries, and one green one and two purple ones in a pot on the patio. The slugs promptly ate every one I put in the ground, and within a couple weeks the ones in the pot were rotting at the base of their stems and falling over. I told a friend and found that she keeps hers in her greenhouse till June. Two weeks ago, I happened on an herb man at the Oregon City Farmers' Market who told me that basil plants do just fine outside down to 40º, but only after they've been hardened off. My big mistake was buying plants from greenhouses and then setting them out immediately, and not to mention, putting them in the ground without a moat of slug bait around each one. I bought two new green ones from him, and put them outside in the pot with the one living remnant of the purple ones that's still hanging on. I did put a plastic cloche over them when the rain was coming down hard, just to keep them from getting too wet and beat down. July 4th and the dry weather are both coming. The fragrance is fantastic. I pruned the sprout tips tonight and put them in with the potatoes I cooked. Mmmmm. This is turning into a wonderful year.

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