Visitors to the farm are asked to the garden. We love to show off the variety that is being produced from a small plot of land. But the ultimate goal of enticing folks into the area is to get rid of as much produce as possible so the plants will continue to produce. I box, bag, dry and cook and send off loads each day.
The transparent apples have already turned soft and so any stragglers that finally fall from the tree become munchies for the cows in the show barn or the bulls in the bullpen.
The strawberry patch has been tilled under since the season for them is done. The ground will sit for a couple weeks, then tilled again with several more repeats. I’m trying to kill off all the buttercup roots that turn up with each tilling. The roots are so dense that they like to wind up around the tiller tines and I spend more time unraveling the bound-up mess than actual tilling, but each time should get easier.
The earliest of the plums are just starting to ripen. They have a wonderfully sweet taste even at this stage with a bit of crunch to them.
The cabbages are out of control and I have a hard time giving them away fast enough before they split wide open. I have lost three heads so far to this process but the cows are not complaining about the addition to their meals.
Since the summer squash, both yellow and green zucchini is so prolific right now, I have been grating trays and trays of the stuff to run through the food dehydrator. Squash are mostly water and even though I fill the trays up, only a small amount is left after the drying process. It will probably take all seven trays filled at least twice to get enough volume to fill a gallon bag about halfway (this would be the minimum amount that I would need for my fall and winter supply).
Squash is just one dehydrated ingredient that I like to keep on hand to use in soups and stews during the winter months. As the garden continues to produce, I will also dry onions, carrots, beans, beets, potatoes, tomatoes, and a little cabbage. Once the mushrooms come on in the fall, I’ll be drying a large amount of them also.
If I get fancy, I’ll make up little packages of mixtures, but usually I just have a bagful of each one and just grab a tablespoon or a handful as needed.
It seems like most of the day-to-day normalcy of farm life goes on hold as soon as hay season begins. It is a scramble just to do enough laundry to get by as the fields take center stage. The lawn does not get mowed, the cows only get a cursory glance every now and then just to make sure everyone is still hanging around and the garden is dismissed entirely except for a quick vegetable grab to make salads.
I finally got the chance to do some weeding in the garden. Over the last couple of weeks my radishes went to seed, the peas filled the pods and the plants died, I have so much lettuce that I filled a wheelbarrow and fed it to the cows in the show barn and the strawberries are kaput.
But on the good side the green onions are now ready to eat, there were a few ripe cherry tomatoes, the potatoes are blooming, beans are setting on and should be perfect sized for eating by the end of next week along with zucchini and hopefully a cucumber.
And then I got over to the kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, red and green cabbage area of the garden. While most of the cabbages are starting to form baseball sized heads, one oddball is not conforming to cabbage standards.
This one red cabbage plant is making several flower bundles where a head of cabbage should be forming. I broke off the middle one and ate it finding the familiar cabbage taste in flower form. Perhaps this was a hybrid seed accidentally slipped into the packet during packaging. It reminds me of the broccolini that is long single strands of broccoli so I think this should be called cabbagini. I may even try to let it go to seed to see if I can harvest this goofy looking cabbage.
A collective sigh emanates from all the gardeners this time of year as the garden gets planted.
I have put in potatoes and tomatoes in the rows of tires. Seeds of carrots, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, peas, beans, beets, onions, spinach, lettuce (many varieties) in the rows marked with stakes, and a row of cruciferous plants in the form of cabbage, broccoli and kale. I even put in a couple of mounds of cantaloupe with the hope of getting a fresh melon or two. I’m still on the lookout for some plants of lemon cucumbers, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts since the time for germinating seeds has passed.
Now the gardeners that have gotten their beds planted can kick back and enjoy a break before the real work of keeping the weeds at bay until crops can be harvested.
I’m spending more and more time in the garden these days. Most of that time is spent eating.
I go from row to row gathering ingredients for a salad or stir fry while happily munching my way along. (Someone is got to be in charge of quality control, right?)
This mixture is headed for a fried rice dish with chicken and will be enough for several meals.
Meanwhile the beans and tomatoes are rapidly over producing and I will be calling in neighbors to help pick the current crop so that the plants will produce another batch.
Holy cow! The garden has been growing by leaps and bounds over the last two weeks while I had been stuck in the hay fields.
Broccoli, beans, onions, beans, summer squash, lettuce, cabbage, peas, chives, raspberries and apples have all been coming on strong. The spinach, radish and swiss chard all bolted and I had to pull those plants completely.
The cows are very happy with the loads coming out of the garden. They are getting a wheelbarrow load a day of fruit and veggies. I am spoiling the babies and giving them a bucketful of sliced apples. They love the apples and are bold when pushing the others around just to get into the manger to get some of the good stuff.
This is the lovely picture from the magazine.
I was given a recipe magazine recently from a so-called friend. The friend really thought she was doing me a favor by passing on the beautiful pictures and recipes. Continue reading