The Bounty of Summer
As the height of summer is upon us, the vegetable garden takes more attention- but at this time of year it’s producing in a big way. So far, I’ve had lots of radishes and lettuce. The radishes have been done for a while, but lettuce production continues well into the season this year. I’m currently growing 4 varieties of lettuce. You can see them in rows on the left and right sides of the garden. On the left side are (L-R) speckled, rouge d’hiver, and Amish deertongue. To the right is green oakleaf. The rouge d’hiver is from seed that I have been growing and saving for years now. It’s a very nice red romaine. The seed is good for a couple of years, and I got an excellent crop last year, so I’m going to allow the speckled to go to seed this year. In the back of my house, I’m growing a second bit of Amish deertongue with the intent of letting it bolt and set seed as well. The oakleaf was a bit of a disappointment- flabby and watery. There is no shortage of interesting varieties of lettuce to grow, so I don’t plan on replanting that one.
The green beans are starting to produce. In fact we’re being inundated with them at the moment. So in addition to eating them, I’m freezing a bunch. Yesterday I prepared 4 pints of beans for the freezer. It was a very hot day, so the most unpleasant task was going out into the garden and picking them. The green beans are the ones that are partly trellised in the photo. They were billed as a bush variety. Then it looked like they were actually going to turn out to be pole beans, so we erected the trellis. As it turns out, they’re floppy bush beans. The un-trellised beans are my first attempt to grow a shelling bean, and heirloom variety called bird’s egg. It’s cropping heavily, but won’t be ready for a while. I’m also growing eggplant (Italian and Asian varieties) and peppers (a red bell pepper and an Italian sweet pepper) from seed this year. Me inspiration for all of this growing from seed and heirloom varieties springs from an Ur-Spo (and Someone) Christmas gift certificate from Seed Savers Exchange. Thanks Sposki. If you look carefully next to the beans you will see that the Basil is just about ready to turn into the first batch of pesto for the year.
Behind the garden is part of my raspberry patch. After several years of going raspberry-less, we are getting a bumper crop this year. This pint has been macerated for making raspberry ice cream. Yesterday I whipped up a pie and discovered that Crisco has been reformulated to be trans fat free. So far the raspberry score for the year is 3 1/2 quarts of ice cream, 1 pie and 8 jars of jam. And they are still coming.
Since we’re on the topic of food, the Gouda that I made in early May was ready for testing last week. I think I’m finally getting the hang of making hard cheeses. This one tasted good, but also had a much better texture than previous efforts. It was softer and less crumbly that my previous attempts. An indication that it’s a better cheese than earlier ones: it’s gone already.