Friday, July 15, 2011
Tidbits, Some Yummy!
Florence Fennel growing indoors in a pot in the cafe at the Chicago Botanical Gardens.
The weather is going to turn incredibly brutal this coming week here in central Wisconsin. Days of temperatures in the upper 90s and dew points in the 70s, conditions that will make central Wisconsin feel like a tropical desert, because, of course, we haven't had much moisture.
With all the places I grow plants, here in my own yard, at the family garden, a my small nursery, the retail area where I sell plants, and clients for whom I do some work; this next week I will have my hands full with watering tasks.
Up in northern WI, my friend DebiO! has been busy putting up peaches and blueberries in her blogpost, "Just Peachy!" All that stainless! Oooooh!
Others of you are looking for information on weeping Red jade crab apples. They only grow about 6 feet tall because they start their weeping thing at about 5 feet. I don't think they are ever grafted 9other than possibly a root graft) and you have to prune and do some top work to achieve a nice flattish umbrella shape, but there are very few water sprouts, if any really, so this is not an onerous task.
The last couple days, I have been weeding like a mad woman. The family garden having been a fallow field has surprisingly few broadleaf weeds, but it does have quack grass. I really hate crab grass, pigeon grass, and turkey foot, and I have to assume those annual grasses do not compete well with quack grass because there are none of those. There is quack grass, though.
Having been sick for two days, I have lost weeding time. As the mission of this garden is organic, one of the ideas I incorporated was space. I felt watering might be an issue. The closer together you plant things, the higher their water needs. I know this is anti-thema to all the square foot gardening (principles I employ in the potager here in the village), but space is the great luxury at the family garden.
Secondly, I have definite yield goals, so I didn't want plant stress from heat and lack of rain to impact that more than I could control. Already, we have MUCH more greens and salad lettuces than either family can consume. Some of our cabbages are ready to harvest. I cut the first and it was marvelous, nearly twice as big as my nephews' heads. It was a Savoy-style and incredibly beautiful as well. (We have been little bothered by cabbage moths.)
I cut a Florence Fennel for my sister-in-law,too. It is a veggie she is totally unfamiliar with. She gets really excited about all this organic product coming out of the ground at her house. I cut it above the ground. I held up the end of the fennel for her to inhale the rich anise flavor. "Oooh!"
She confessed to me she didn't know how to chit or plant potatoes (which we did together in the spring), nor did she know what they look like when they are are growing. Yesterday while weeding the potatoes, I found a Yukon Gold thrown up by the errant passage of the tillers' blade. It was the size of an egg, and it got her very excited.
This whole project has been a food exploration for her.
My son, on the other hand, is like a rangy, young lion, prowling the yard looking for where his mama "hid" the growing 15 hills of Yukon Golds (his favorite). I planted just a few for use as fresh salad potatoes.
For my son, it is not about the growing...
Just the eating!