Garden bounty

While “everything in moderation” might be a sound strategy in principle, it doesn’t apply when you have a bumper crop in the garden. In that case, you consume huge quantities of the fruit or vegetable until it peters out…ideally around the same time you think you couldn’t possibly eat any more (until next year).

Each night Cherisse has come in with 2-3 quarts of beautiful strawberries. We purchased 25 Sparkle plants years ago, and I’ve been rotating the daughter plants from bed to bed ever since. However over time the strawberries have spread on the ground (plants climbed over the beds and established themselves, and some may have self-seeded). These bonus plants make it challenging to walk around the garden (you have to avoid stepping on strawberries), but they are very healthy—and very productive.

Our strawberries are the best I’ve ever tasted (with the possible exception of some we once had in New Brunswick, Canada). Sweet (with a little tartness) and juicy, we eat them on cereal, pancakes, waffles, shortcake, in daiquiris, or plucked right off the plant and into our mouths. We share some with the birds and slugs (and for awhile the chickens, until Cherisse put a fence around the garden), but we’ve got plenty.

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The asparagus has had even longer run; we’ve picked large bunches every day for weeks. Now the time has come to let them go to seed and store up energy for next year. We’ve had a lot though, and are happy to wait until next May for more.

In early spring we planted a small amount of snap peas which have offered a steady supply of fat pods. Most get eaten in the garden. The dogs love the shells, and sit waiting for you to scoop the peas into your mouth and hand over the good part. (Once a pea fell to the ground; in turn they picked it up and spit it out.) A few peas have made it to the kitchen, and were added to stir fries or salads.

Early planting has also rewarded us with an abundant supply of lettuce, arugula and spinach. For the first time we’ve had great success with bok choy, possibly because of the row covers which we’ve kept on all the beds. This seems to have deterred the small cabbage worms that decimated our bok choy in the past (and our cabbage). We can’t keep out the slugs, but they don’t do as much (or as rapid) damage.

All of this will carry us through to the summer fruits and vegetables. Blueberries get bigger, as do our our tomato plants, peppers, eggplant, squash, carrots, parsnips, celeriac, cabbage, kohlrabi, and melon. Looks like good eating ahead.


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