Harvest Aplenty

After a week away from the garden, I returned to only a couple of plants dying from dry soil and neglect: the blueberry plant I bought at the Franciscan Monastery plant sale (quite a chunk of change, and the second blueberry plant I've killed this year--I am, perhaps, done with blueberries for a while), my jicama seedlings, and a Lantana seedling I picked up at a swap. Some plants dried out but have started recovering now that I'm back and watering every few days.

The beau snapped this photo of me with the dead blueberry bush on his new camera. I'm sure I'll get to use it at some point, but at the moment, the iPhone is still my best photographic device.

The strawberries from the Behnke's garden party and the alpine strawberries from the Franciscan Monastery dried out horribly--but they are all turgid and happy now. The alpine strawberry has tons of little berries and flowers all over it--a wonderful use of $2! The standard strawberry has several runners that I've stuck in little pots of soil--I'm preparing for next year's DC State Fair Seedling Swap already.

The 'Brown Turkey' and purple figs dried out, as well. But they're also looking much nicer now that I've watered them a few times.

Now that my admission of gardener guilt is done, I can share a wealth of harvest! You may have noticed a harvest sidebar to the right that is logging everything I get from my gardens (at least, everything that makes it home--there were a bunch of snap peas that didn't). When I got back from San Francisco last Thursday, this is what I got from one of my gardens:

It includes 2 pounds of green beans (of various colours), half a pound of figs, some squash blossoms, amaranth, chard, lemon verbena, and one bunch of arugula from my plot at Newark Street Community Garden (well, the figs are from the communal trees). From Wangari, later that day, I got another 1/2 pound of beans. I blanched them all and froze them--I have about 4 pounds of beans in the freezer right now without a clue what to do with them all!

The figs were all turned into jam (that's right, with the figs I harvested the other day as well, I now have almost 3 pounds of figs turned into jam); the squash blossoms were stuffed with falafel, coated in corn starch laced with salt and chili powder, and deep fried; the lemon verbena was diced and simmered in some water, then strained and simmered some more with a bunch of sugar to make an awesome lemony syrup; and, unfortunately, the chard, amaranth, and arugula ended up without a home in my belly because I was too busy making jams, jellies, and roasted beet-blue cheese tarts.

I've already harvested two small zucchini and a single black cherry tomato (that's less cherry like and certainly not yet black--it fell off during the storm over the weekend while it was still green). I'm not counting the 'Sungold' cherry tomato that I popped directly into my mouth in the garden, because it didn't make it home to be weighed.

The volunteer potato at Newark Street Garden started yellowing and shriveling, so I decided to rip it out--and got almost half a pound of cute little potatoes! I am not sure whether I'd ever grow my own potatoes (other than the sweet variety), but if they just pop up and don't require any effort, like these did, then I'm happy to have whatever I can get from them.

But wait, there's more! The grapes at Mr. Yogato are starting to ripen. They aren't fully ripe, yet--the purplish ones were a bit tart still, but that could also be because the grapes are growing in incredibly dry conditions. Either way, I'm terribly fine with tart fruit (I do, in fact, prefer tartness), so I decided to harvest as much as I could reach, since I missed the show last year. I made jelly with the grapes--it's tart, sweet, and grapey!

The grapes I could reach--there are dozens and dozens of clusters beyond my reach growing up the building's wall.

I plucked, washed, simmered, crushed, and jellied these delicious grapes. The jelly is a nice clear red--it makes sense to call these 'Red Flame' grapes!

Hopefully, I'm done with large harvests for a while--it's hard enough keeping up with it when I have a weekend free, but when I start getting busier this summer (and when the tomatoes start coming in), it will easily get out of hand. I'm going to need a separate freezer and another shelf for all my canned goods!

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One Response to Harvest Aplenty

  1. You are doing very well! What a year you picked to get into a plot at a community garden LOL, is it hot enough for you?? I'm ready to throw in the towel, but I say that every year. I immediately picked up on the fact that it's like 200 degrees outside but your beau snapped the photo - what are you slipping into his morning coffee that would incite him into being willing to brave those temps with the gardener? I need some of that for the whole family LOL, I'm the only one slugging it out but they all like eating it!



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