The Big Garden...
the potato plants are enormous, the garlic is nearly ready to be harvested, the black hollyhocks (for dyeing) and beginning to bloom, and the onions are scraggly
Just yesterday as I prepared our dinner, I realized we have turned the tide in our gardens. Until then, it seemed I was harvesting variations of greens...lettuce, spinach, bok choy leaves, beet greens, parsley. But then last night ~ oh! what variety! In addition to our regular salads, we ate broccoli, peas, and the thinnings from carrots and beets...little baby ones steamed then tossed in olive oil and garlic with a little butter. We ate our garden meal with a homegrown chicken...the first one this season. Because the first batch suffered high loss (very cold and wet spring), we are doing a second round which are faring amazingly well.
But my oh my, those sweet and tender young carrots are delicious! I admit, somewhat sheepishly, that I have chased my kids away a few times as we didn't plant nearly enough this year and I recall last year that we never harvested many...the kids ate every last one when they were the size of my pinky. The year before, our dog ate every last one...yes, we love fresh garden carrots and yes, I am determined to eat them when they are good and long.
The Kitchen Garden...
the peas never got trellised so they creep along the bed, winding amongst the bush beans coming up. The sweet peas mysterisouly never took, even our second round. Extra potatoes, tomatoes, basil, and peppers are doing well, and we tasted our first cucumbers yesterday ~ delicious!
It's a funny thing for me about location. In the Big Garden, I am working towards putting the food by in quantities. We grow our year's worth (and beyond) of garlic, and this year I'm trying to see how much space we need for potatoes and onions, carrots and beets. While it is still not quite halfway built, it is large and tidy, structured more for bounty than beauty. On the otherhand, up beside our front door, the Kitchen Garden is a vibrant tangle of flowers and vegetables, intermingling with a few weeds. The meandering pathways welcome the children to pick as they wish and fill up on strawberries, raspberries, peas, and chives. Bicycles have been ridden through and toy trucks regularly drive under the walls of leaves.
Often, someone will plunk down beside me and help weed a little here, pick a few flowers there. This is where problems are most often presented and advice lovingly doled out, side by side, hands in the earth. Each of them likes to gather strawberries, and I have been the happy recipient of many of the day's second best berries. But mostly, the kids seem to be found hanging from the limbs of our cherry trees, eating the juicy red (and sometimes only pink) cherries, having spitting contests with the pits.