On the calm before the (garden) storm

A serious lack of dry wood (and dry conditions, as we haven’t finished its roof) have kept Loven out of commission most of this year.  She’s in fine form now though:  here’s the CSA portion of the WW sourdough, and a chicken, a big skillet of pilaf, a big pot of homegrown cranberry beans and some beets and onions are still cooking inside.

Even though I do my best to grow food year-round, it is in mid-June and mid-November where we experience a bit of a fresh-food desert.  Sure; there’s plenty of food to eat fresh year-round because much of it is grown year-round (salad, the onion family, root crops, cabbage family).  We’re human though and so we tire of eating the same things.

But:  new, seasonal things are ripening, whee!  Until we tire of them again, of course.

I like the pre-bounty of this time of year.  Every night means something new to eat, maybe just a few, fresh.  Last night, for example, was the first full harvest of favas.  Such a sensual pleasure, the whole fava experience.  I remember loosing the beans from their softly lined pods with my daughter when she was about three.  She put the empty pods on her fingers as “sleeping bags” and it was so apt:  I would curl up in that soft down too if I could.   The little pile of shells and the growing pile of bright creamy beans as we slip them from the beans’ inner skins:  we’re anxious to eat, and are not burdened by the task.  Earlier crops have likewise had us rubbing our hands together in greed, and we feel a happy anticipation during our pre-dinner trips to the gardens.

Year Five of seed saved from a Copra cross storage onion.  This is a good year for onions:  that cold wet spring seems to have favored them.  We knock their stems over a week before harvest to help store them later.

Despite the bounty, I try hard not to “miss” that which I normally can eat the rest of the year.  There is a shut, bolted, windowless door of the staple crops of potatoes, celery, carrots and beets: despite my efforts, potatoes will sprout; celery, carrots and beets will flower.  Unless the earth slips on its axis and we skip the frosts of early spring, these crops just try their hardest to be unappealing.  It’s a great survival technique.  Maybe I can jigger seed-starting just enough…or plant greenhouse spuds in January….

The distractions of the freshening garden though do help dull the pain.  Up tonight:  artichokes and the first squash of the season.  Oh, and strawberries.  Bon appetit.

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10 responses to “On the calm before the (garden) storm

  1. your stove is lovely! i am inspired to build my own. did you use a particular book or set of plans or instructions from a particular site as instruction? if so would you mind sharing the resource? thank you.

    it is a pleasure to watch you, your family and the farm grow and thrive each and every year. cheers!

  2. nix that question, i just spotted your masonry oven link. thank you for sharing.

  3. I have been realizing this too, that in the evolution of eating seasonally I don’t miss certain things as much. I cheated and bought 2 (greenhouse) tomatoes at our market last week, and they were fun, but I am happy to wait for the glut. Not that I don’t cheat and preserve/extend the seasons 🙂

    Tell me about the artichokes, how early did you plant to get buds this soon? I have one I bought as a bedding plant that seems happy but not too big yet–he’s in the hoop area so will be under cover in the fall if it needs more time. Oh and the favas! My first year with those crazy pods, what fun!

    • Hi Sara. The artichokes are maybe four years old at this point, and I started them from seed. I have cardoon too. And they do live in the greenhouses. I have had a few survive outside as well but they’re not reliable from year to year (that, and I need to build all kinds of contraptions to keep them covered up, which of course the garden voles find so helpful in that I have buried fresh food for them, somewhere warm too, thanks!). And aren’t favas great? Sure they’re space-hogs but they’re up and done early enough to transplant out other things to their spots.

      • Ah, that makes sense that yours are growing as perennials, so they are more mature AND have a head start. Not sure if that will work here (or if this particular variety is meant for it) but we’ll see. If it does reasonably well I can try another type from seed. Definitely fun trying out new things this year.

  4. Oh the finger looks painful. Heal fast!!

  5. You baked that beautiful bread in that beautiful oven? Can you also levitate?

  6. You have artichokes that far advanced this time of year?I am Impressed.

  7. I would love to try baking in an outdoor oven. In the meantime, just trying to get the garden going enough to make a dent in the grocery bill!

  8. Hippiechick, thanks! Hope you find some inspiration to build your own…you can also build a cob oven (just google it) which is basically clay and straw; they work pretty well though aren’t exactly as bomb-proof as this monster is sitting in our back yard.

    Sara, yeah, i am not even tempted by greenhouse tomatoes. Or any tomatoes between Jul-Oct, frankly…. I am not sure there are “hardy” varieties of artichokes. From what I understand, you really can’t get great, forgiving, huge buds unless you get a division of an established commercial-grade plant, and I haven’t looked but I doubt those’d be easy to find. I think this is a Globe but am not certain (I started 2 types from seed). They’re lots smaller than the commercial ones but still pack a punch.

    Hi WF! Nah, all is well with the finger, though yeah it really stinks to hurt yourself stupidly (as opposed to smartly?) Sounds like all is well out in NJ. Enjoy your summer like your kids do!

    CC, no, but some days it does feel like I can do everything. That’s delusion talking, though.

    Ah, John, they’re perennials. See what I said to Sara above. So, well.

    Hiya Ms Trashmaster! Well, yeah, like hippiechick, if you’re interested you might try to build a cob oven…cheap recycling involved there surely. But i do laud your every effort to cut down and reuse and slash the home food bill…it’s a lot easier to do with time. Now I am surprised by how much money we save…but it’s really the quality of the grub that motivates me more than the do-re-mi.

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