August 28, 2009

Garden Bounty

We've begun to harvest our garden vegetables, at least those that the slugs, groundhogs and fungi left behind. Our potatoes succumbed to blight last week and although the stalks had shriveled to a brown snarl, the potatoes came through relatively unscathed. I say relatively because there were a few that got infected with this creamy white goo so raunchy that the thought of it now sends chills up my spine. There is nothing more foul than a rotten potato. Nothing. Our potatoes were harvested during a heat wave and since our root cellar (aka basement) isn't able to remain cooler than the rest of the house when the temperature climbs above 85, we lost more still to basement mold. Still, I think we managed to salvage about 40-50 lbs of potatoes. Not bad for a what has turned out to be a very blightly year for spuds.The tomatoes were also hit with blight. When it first appeared, I looked online to see what we had and discovered that there are about 4 or 5 kinds of tomato blight, all of which seem to be present on our tomato plants to one degree or another. This is really distressing because you watch your beautiful green globes blacken with spores before they even have a chance to ripen. Some varieties (Purple Cherokee, for instance) are more susceptible than others (Sun Gold). I tried to harvest all the healthy tomatoes I could find, even if they weren't quite ripe. There was also a little discussion about the trade-off between leaving them on the vine at the mercy of the blight or picking them green and taking our chances with the hoards of fruit flies in the kitchen. In the end, we opted for the kitchen. I hope the fruit flies take pity on our poor tomatoes.

Most of the ripe tomatoes (above) went into a Gazpacho tonight, which I served on a bed of our very own mesclun greens. (Did you know that the proper spelling is "mesclun"? I made this realization only a few months ago. I've been saying mesculin for years and feel like a complete arse.)
The carrots are looking good, despite a few groundhog attacks.
And of course, the string beans overfloweth. I tried a variety pack this year which included yellow, green and purple beans. The purple variety turns green when cooked, but looks and tastes great raw in salads. Alden loves feeding them to us, but has no interest in eating them at all. Besides feeding beans to adults, he is quite fond of mashing beans into the fibers of the living room carpet and tossing them into the trunk of his tractor.
So far the only vegetable we've been able to get Alden to eat straight from the garden are cherry tomatoes. The rest are utter poison unless they are cooked and pureed or otherwise rendered completely unrecognizable.I received artichoke seedlings from Joaquin (post doc in the lab) who smuggled them into the country from Grenada. Joaquin's dad is an agricultural engineer and insists they'll survive Maine winters, but also claimed that they wouldn't flower until their second year. I've never heard of any one here growing artichokes, but we thought we'd give it a try. So far, we have 6 little flower buds on our little plants, so his dad was wrong on that account. It will be interesting to see if the plants return in the spring. I hope so, I'd love to be able to eat fresh artichokes next year.

1 comment:

Benjamin said...

I'll post on the blog once I get the new phone running. Old phone still works, but will send it back this weekend sometime.