Hyperlocal: The Backyard Garden
The rain has been quite welcome in my garden this week. I try to water as little as possible, but our rather long stretch without any measurable rain had me out giving a little water to my parched garden.
I have a rather aggressive planting schedule. It’s a gamble, but one that I hedge with protection for tender plants when necessary. This year’s weather has been all over the map, but we haven’t had a freeze since mid April, so everything has done quite well. With the warm winter and early spring, many things are ahead of schedule. In fact, I’m finding that has been the case for the past few years. Even with brutal winters like we had last year, the springs have been warmer and earlier.
I have June bearing strawberries called Seascape. They are having the best year since I planted them 2 years ago. They get picked and consumed with gusto. Anyone who visits is treated to their sweetness. The flavor is absolutely phenomenal. Eating locally and seasonally can be so rewarding. There is just no substitute for gorging yourself on perfect fruits and veggies while they are around. We are eating strawberries until we can eat no more. They are perfect and satisfying in a way that no berry in January can be.
Garlic scapes are one of those things that many are unfamiliar with. They are the curlicue shaped flower pod for hard neck garlic. I find that more people are entranced with my garlic. It is huge and beautiful in a way that most are not ready for. I’m often asked if it’s corn. Garlic scapes are kind of the perfect freebie from growing your own garlic. Soft neck garlic does not have a scape, so you must be sure to plant the large, spicy hard necked varieties if scapes are your goal. If you can find scapes at your local market, be sure to snatch them up. The texture is similar to a green bean, with a mild garlic flavor. They’re absolutely wonderful in stir fries, or light spring soups.
The root vegetables are coming into their own as well. My family is a huge fan of roots. I do 2 planting of root veggies. One in early spring and the other in mid July. The kids gobble up beets, carrots, parsnips and turnips with glee every year. In fact, even with all that I plant, it is virtually impossible for me to plant enough in my garden.
The greenbeans are growing by leaps and bounds. These are a bush bean variety called Provider. They are so prolific that I’ve been known to beg neighbors to pick and eat them midway through the season. I have planted a 4×4 foot square and will likely freeze 15-20 quarts of beans in addition to what we eat fresh. My father is not a huge fan of beans, but Mom plants them every year. Each July Dad can be heard threatening to move out if he is served another green bean.
We’re also harvesting sugar snap peas these days. The rain has prevented me from getting a clear picture, but I can assure you that they are beautiful and delicious.
Please feel free to ask any questions that you may have, or to show us pictures of your garden. I love feedback.
Heather Smith can also be found at Heather’s Homemaking. She blogs about gardening, cooking, preserving and other homesteading activities.