Oh What A Week–In the Garden, and the Kitchen, Too

Maybe it’s a cheap shot to blame it on the stars, but when I heard there was a rare planetary alignment going on this week, I felt relieved. Apparently this is the kind of event that makes everyone feel a little crazy, a tad more pressed and stressed. Now we had our excuse for running around like chickens with our heads cut off all week.

We were dog sitting and house sitting. Still working madly on building structures in the garden, still harvesting greens and herbs for the farm stand every morning (photos above), still watering, weeding, and bug-picking. Amen. Roy was working on three different jobs, and I was developing recipes and taking pictures for a new book proposal.

Yesterday I spent a couple hours on my belly crawling around a hoop house clearing out nasty weeds. (This was pretty fun, actually. At least hot air rises, so it was cooler on the floor.) This morning we got up early to go rake up some hay from a friend’s field, still needing more for our garden pathways and for mulch.  (And this, I have to tell you, wasn’t just fun but incredibly calming. When the planets are conspiring to drive you crazy, grab a pitchfork and head for a golden rolling field dotted with apple trees and pines, cows grazing in the distance. All will be right with the world.)

So no complaining. Absolutely not. It’s all good stuff, and productive, too. Here’s a look at what emerged from our crazy week. And for this we thank our lucky stars.

Over in the kitchen of the lovely house we were camping out in, I spent some time salvaging tiny bok choy and kale leaves from thinnings I’d plucked in the garden (above left). Once I got the roots off  and washed them well, I had just enough leaves for a side dish— the fastest and simplest of sautés with slivered garlic. One morning I roasted and sauteéd a bunch of summer vegetables (yeah, a little ahead of the season) for a main-dish salad I’m developing. My doggy friend Wally (right) got pretty interested when I put the dish on the floor to photograph.

Back in the garden, Roy built a trellis for our pole beans (left) and a cool support structure for our tomatoes (center), both from bamboo that we had also gone on safari to retrieve. (Well, not really, but it felt like that. If you’ve ever been in a forest of bamboo–and tried to cut some down without a power tool, you’ll know what I mean. We got out the power tool.)  We also prepared the squash and eggplant beds and planted both. We  weeded the new lettuce bed and laid down a thicker layer of hay than we’d originally thought was necessary. Darn weeds.

Meanwhile, I lopped off several heads of Tat soi (left) and dinner-plate sized lettuces (right) every day for the farm stand. The next crop of baby lettuces and more arugula are not far behind, planted a few weeks ago. (It may be getting too hot for arugula now, though. It’s pretty spicy.)

Lots of other veggies are making progress, and I’m most excited about the peas which have started to emerge from a flourish of little white flowers. It’s hard for me not to eat the shoots and flowers right now, but I know I need to leave them alone to produce more actual peas.

I’m also ridiculously excited about the carrot bed, which I have been weeding and thinning meticulously. (And photographing–those boots of mine wind up in more garden shots than I can count!). We’re growing three kinds of carrots including Little Finger and Scarlet Nantes. We planted Sunburst Hybrid summer squash (the little Patty Pan shape) and Wee-B-Little pumpkins, among other squashes (middle). And under the row cover, more chard and bok choy are on the way.

Tonight we’re going to transplant the Brussels sprouts. Did I mention I love vegetables?

4 thoughts on “Oh What A Week–In the Garden, and the Kitchen, Too”

  1. Hi Susie, I love your blog. eliza told me about it and I check it out from time to time. We had Father’s Day dinner at Eliza’s house and she had the most wonderful PEI mussels. She promises to give me the recipe. We’re looking forward to seeing you at Stonewall Kitchen, XO Bran

  2. Hi Bran,

    I hope you saw my response to your last comment. It’s over on “The Seaweed and the Scarecrow Post” ! Can’t wait to see you, too!

    Love, Susie

  3. Hi Susie,
    I love your blog!! Gardening is so different than it was for me 30 years ago – use to be tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli, squash, etc. Today it’s bok choy, collards, kale, and so on – I love it all. Thanks for writing and I am going to buy your cookbook.

  4. You’re so right…when I had my garden in Rhode Island so many years ago, there wasn’t a bok choy to be found!

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