Update From the Gardens

scapes

Garlic scapes (the curly-cue that is part of the seed-head) make a delicious pesto!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so today’s post is going to have lots of pictures!  A fellow blogger was concerned that I hadn’t posted in over a month, so to reassure her, I thought I would just let you all know that the rains did, indeed, end and things are growing!  As well, market season is in full swing, and I attend the Elora Farmers’ Market every Saturday morning.

The spring certainly had it’s challenges, with early heat waves, followed by flooding, then more heat, then more rains…you get the picture.  As farmers, there aren’t many options but to make the best of it.  Some of Ralph’s fields were ripped up and reseeded.  Some of my veggies had to be reseeded several times.  We know that there is always next year, and we count the blessings of our successes each season.

Moon and Stars Watermelon

Moon and Stars Watermelon

I always like to try some new varieties of vegetables.  In fact, although we still have extensive perennial flowerbeds, I would much rather pore over veggie seed catalogues than visit garden centres these days!  There are SO many incredible heirloom varieties!  One new watermelon was discovered on a Facebook friend’s post last year.  Moon and Stars lives up to it’s name – the dark green watermelon sports beautiful vibrant yellow dots as it ripens, that resemble the heavens.  I was surprised that the leaves show the same type of patterning.

walkingonions

Another really neat addition to the gardens are the five Egyptian Walking Onions.  I felt a bit like Jack in the beanstalk story, paying for these unusual onions, but they are growing well, and I look forward to having perennial onions!  They spread by sprouting a seed head at the top of the plant, which then comes down to the ground, sprouts and starts growing, aka “walking”.

wintergold

Winter Gold Tomato

I’m really excited about this tomato variety, “Winter Gold”.  I have never seen such a robust plant.  This tomato is picked near the end of the summer, and slowly ripens to a gold colour through the winter, making it an ideal storage tomato.

elbertagirl

Elberta Girl

“Elberta Girl” is another new interesting tomato.  It’s fuzzy, silvery leaves make it stand out from the other tomatoes.  As well, it’s fruit are already showing the unique striping pattern that will be on the red and gold fruit.

tomatoes

This compact “Russian Saskatchewan” tomato is proving to be one of the earliest varieties, with a medium-sized fruit, perfect for salads or popping straight into your mouth!

spuds

Lots of potatoes!

We’ve put in more potatoes than ever this year, and so far, not too many potato bugs!  Ralph was very diligent last summer, picking them all off by hand every night, after dinner.  So far, there have been some, but not nearly as many as we had feared.  We have two varieties of “fingerling” potatoes, which make the BEST potato salad!  As well, some Blue Caribes, some Yukon Gold, and a few others.  Much of the seed was saved from last year’s crop.

broadbeans

The last featured new veggie is the Black Russian Broad Bean.  It is a very rare seed, and I will probably be keeping all the seeds for next year, to build up the inventory.  It’s interesting to have in the garden, because it has a completely different plant structure than “normal” beans.  The flowers have a distinctive black spot on them, similar to the bean they will become.  Cool, huh?

linden

My friends, Wendy and Eric Brown, from Maine, will have a new book published this fall, in which they write about their family’s adventures foraging for food for a whole year.  More on that later, but the book has inspired me to put more effort into foraging/harvesting more of the local food we have available here.  This is a linden tree, which I bought years ago.  In recent years, it has bloomed with the most fragrant flowers.  My mother-in-law told me of how she and other children would harvest these flowers, and dry them, so that they could be sent out to the troops during the war.  I have picked quite a few of them, and dried them, so that we can sip on our own linden tea this winter…

So that’s what’s happening in the gardens here….with all the moisture, it’s a challenge to keep ahead of the weeds.  I find the best method of weed control is still the “Santa Claus Method” : hoe, hoe, hoe!

Until next time, thank you for your support everyone!

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