Archive for June, 2012

 

I’m generally not a huge fan of either radishes or pickles, but an article in the February/March Organic Gardening induced me to order seeds for  the “watermelon radish” (less picturesquely also known as the “Chinese red meat” radish) from Baker Creek.  As the pictures above show, the radish when sliced really does look like a miniature watermelon, and the taste is sweet and mild as radishes go.  Dipped in lime juice, it’s especially nice.  For a cup of watermelon radish slices, a recipe in the article also recommended pickling in 1/2 cup Champagne vinegar, 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water and a pinch of sea salt.  They’re ready to eat in two days and have gotten good reviews from friends who are more pickle aficionados than I, who likes them too!

Despite the radish’s classification as a fall radish, I successfully grew it in the spring, although it does take about twice as long as a regular radish to bulb out.

 

Garlic is usually pulled at the end of June or in July around here, but the mild winter and spring seem to have brought the plants to harvesting time early this year.  When I planted the cloves (mostly from last year’s harvest) in early October, there were some hardneck cloves that showed slight signs of browning, and as I somewhat suspected, they did not produce new bulbs.  But the rest did, for a total of 109 bulbs.  In the hardneck category: 14 Appalachian Red, 22 Brown Tempest, 14 Metechi, 33 Music, and 14 Romanian Red (my favorite hardneck last year, both for its spicy taste and its storage qualities, since by and large hardnecks last less long than softnecks).  In the softneck category: 19  Inchellium Red (most very large, the product of planting the largest cloves over several years now), and 14 S&H Silverskin.  After a day in the sun, they will be curing for several weeks on screens in our cottage in the back.  Our hope is that they will get us through to harvesting day next year!

Well, just two days after my recent post about how well our vegetable garden was going, we were hit by a series of storms with high winds, torrential rain, and marble-sized hailstones.  The Norway Maples on the side of the house lost a number of large branches, and the vegetable garden was pounded.  The pea plants were torn off the trellis into a tangled heap, potato plants were leveled and some broken up, and squash, tomato, and cucumber plants broken into parts. Everything lost at least leaves and limbs.  Fortunately, most will probably survive, even if flowering and fruiting are delayed.  But one thing is clear: it’s not a picture-perfect garden any more!  Today was almost surreally nice, as in the views below from the back of our property.