Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Meet Susan Delafield

She's quite tall, this beauty, her scape with bloom just brushing my cheek as I move in for a closeup photo.....slim, willowy, with rather large cloves growing under the soil. It's the first year she's been here, but hopefully, not the last. I would like you to meet, Susan Delafield.
Susan Delafield lounging by the firepit.

Boundary Garlic  describes this garlic variety as one of their hottest and most flavorful porcelains, growing tall, producing large bulbs and more tolerant of wet conditions than others. Well, even with the scape left on, this grew a larger than normal sized bulb and I am terrifically pleased with the results. The bulbils are just forming in the scape, uniquely beautiful. Here are two photos to compare this Porcelain with a Racombole. There are more lovely photos on the Boundary site and at Henry's Photos.
Susan Delafield, Porcelain Garlic, not yet matured to flower.

Unknown Rocombole Variety

The Rocomboles I have, are an unknown variety, a gift about thirteen years ago when I started the garden. In fact, until two years ago, I didn't grow garlic "properly". We just harvested the bubils using them when fresh and crispy as they are now (perfect for sprinkling on anything that loves garlic).  In the fall, we dug the baby rounds out of the damp soil, and froze them for winter use. I still maintain a nursery bed of garlic which continues to reseed year after year. It gets out of hand some years but, I wouldn't be without it. The bulbils, if left to their own devices, dry on the stem, drop to the ground, root and grow on. Sort of like Egyptian Walking can have them for life ;-)

For now, I've started curing the harvested bulbs, in cool dry shade inside the summerhouse and elsewhere. There's a breeze blowing through so it should be fine, otherwise, we can put a fan there to help. I did read online that you could crack/bend the stem which would speed up the curing and I have done that to some of mine for comparison. Any comments regarding that ( and all comments of course) would be appreciated.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Zucchini Time!

You know, we don't eat a lot of zucchini in our family so why grow more than one plant? Well, often it's better to plant three seeds in case two don't germinate; or, a few volunteers appear early in spring, filling in the garden, looking lush and healthy. If you are like me, you can't pull them out! Before you know it, July arrives; friends and family are hiding because they do not want any more of your blessed zucchini and Aunt Gina's zucchini chocolate cake starts sticking in your throat. You've made enough curry zucchini soup for the winter, and yes, you've been told there's a variety that has a nutty flavor but it grows football size too!!! Well hide no more because, there's a great zucchini out there for you and for me.

The above blooms are "Cucurbita pepo" Baby Round Zucchini (Summer Squash). In France it is known as Ronde de Nice. Love how that rolls off the tongue! "The unique flower attachment is perfect for edible flower use", so says seed company Botanical Interests, but for my table, we just love this little round golf ball size vegetable picked fresh from the garden.
Here's the good news, it won't grow to basketball size! Yeah! I've noticed if I miss picking one, it starts to yellow and then falls off or I pull it off. Now is that not truly monsters under the leaves, and a perfectly beautiful civilized size for a salad, steaming or baking. I prefer these raw, the taste delicate and crunchy. You probably won't find these Heirlooms in the grocery store, as they bruise easily and don't transport well, but heh, anyone can grow zucchini..right!! Give these a try.

I am saving...almost, the best for last. This plant looks fantastic in the garden. Mine (yes I grew two)))), are directly opposite the garden gate so they are the first plants your eyes alight on...mostly because of it's architecture. The leaves are deeply lobed, silvery green, almost sage like in color. In fact they match the new stain on the back bean wall....not planned, honest!! They would be fantastic in a planter come to think of it.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

July Garden Update

We've been picking our first tomatoes, tiny blueberry size Mexico Midget although the above photo makes them look GIANT! This vine is hidden behind the fence, just inside the garden gate, where I have hopes it will climb to the top of the arbour. It's very vigorous this little wild like tomato with ferny leaves and a mind of it's own. We have also tried Chiapis Wild but so far, no fruit from that. The other tomato plants are doing marvellously as our weather has been prime for Every year I say I am cutting back on the number of T plants we grow but this year, I had an idea to put a few in the compost green bin (which grew such great pumpkins last year when I discarded them in the pile). And yes, the three plants in there have taken off...they are the Chiapis.... sprawlers.
This year, I also potted up two deep containers with tomato transplants, trellised on those wire squiggly things and kept them in the summerhouse. Moved outside about a week ago, they continue to grow well (and a fair bit ahead of those transplanted out much earlier). There's one pot on either side of the summerhouse window containing Cour di Bue and Black Plum. There might be others in there, with lola tags (lost label).

At the back of the garden, we are trellising tomatoes again this year. I tie jute to the lattice, top to bottom and wrap around the stems as they grow. Some of the garlic are back there as well; those tall scapes left for a sculptural focal point are my chin height.

Regarding the garlic, last year, when I pulled mine out, the cloves were sort of separating;and I thought the reason was, I had not dug them out but yanked them out ;-) in my excitement. But today at the Hubbards Market, a farmer from Windsor had garlic for sale. I commented on how beautiful they were and I didn't expect them to be available so soon. She went on to say, they are ready now because they found last year, they left them too long and the cloves started to separate. A light bulb moment. So I came home and dug up a few....perfect! So think mine are getting dug up tomorrow, those that have the lower leaves yellow for sure. These are two big'uns dug out to test, today.

And do you see to the left, that little shrub bean plant...unknown seed, obtained from dried beans my neighbour had left growing in his garden. Well, they happen to be the first beans we are going to eat..tonight with supper (excepting for the fava which are a totally different kind of bean in my mind))). Thanks Q.
Q's French Filet beans growing well

I'll try to blog more often now that things are really starting to produce. There's the baby round zucchini I need to tell you about....

Monday, July 2, 2012

Hail Yes!

July 2nd, here in Nova Scotia...and hail! Yes, Hail!!! I think I must have uttered 'OH NO' or words similar, for five word from Environment Canada why this was not predicted! The damage to our garden...minimal but we won't know fully, until a day or two passes...the bruising and bashing...honestly, I felt their pain. Some of the tomato plants were tattered...but the new flower buds hung on.

But....everyone is having strange weather and Nova Scotia is no different. Do you know, the sea in our small bay was 78 degrees yesterday.  When we were swimming the tannin rich fresh water floating above the salt water we noticed mosquito larvae were active. "Never Before" many times will we continue to say this?

On the positive side..and yet also, 'never before'..have we ever had the abundance of strawberries as this year.

Nor, have we had the flush of David Austin's 'Golden Celebration' rose. As we walk through the back garden, the scent of oranges lifts our spirits..that is the scent of Golden Celebration! It is pure bliss.

We are enjoying the garden and the gardening right now. It is mostly tidy up and maybe tuck in a few new perennials where others have 'passed-away'. The color orange still continues to consume me, and adding more hot colors to the garden has changed/excited my focus on how I want to view the whole composition. There really are no rules!! It is okay to have lots of bright! Not so five years ago , I wouldn't have enjoyed it....but is great and gives my eyes a bright buoyant focus, as well as lifts my heart.