Saturday, July 31, 2010

Growing awarenes

It's funny how your perception of when harvest time is changes once you actually have a garden. For my own part, I always thought of late August onward as harvest time; and have images of farmers toiling in golden fields, or in large gardens full of rich green bounty with Autumn leaves hanging overhead.

Our own experience so far has been somewhat different. As early as May we were able to harvest the first few crops of radishes and beets, and we also started trimming the tops of the cooking onions to use in salads and as garnishes. June came and suddenly we had lettuce, green beans, swiss chard, and raspberries. Then this past month our zucchini plants have exploded with new growth, almost daily Chris has been finding and harvesting squash that are all well over 5 lbs each! Our cucumbers too have been very productive, and from the amount of blooms still on the vines, it doesn't show signs of ceasing production any time soon. Carrots too, I am now able to start uprooting, though I have to work my way through the bed, only taking the largest ones as many are still too immature.

Zucchini, being grated and prepared for freezing

Many of the vegetables are still not ready for harvesting; the acorn squash are just starting to become the right size, the peppers are still tiny, or not formed at all, and our tomatoes are still green. Chris dug up one of the potato plants to see if they were ready to harvest (as the plants had all started to fall over), but most of the potatoes were still just forming. We managed to get 5 good sized tubers off that plant, so we'll leave the other 7 plants until Autumn.

I had the idea (I really don't know why!) that all the plants would mature around the same time for harvest, and that come Autumn, all the beds would be full of an assortment of ready-to-eat goodies. And though there are some beds that the vegetables have completely taken over, some like the onion and potato bed are now half empty: Chris just harvested all the onions last week! All 70+ of them are currently hanging in nice braids in the kitched, drying out, preparing for storage. But now the very front garden bed has a gaping hole in it! Not a problem really, we just need to decide now what to do with the space! Should we leave it bare, and prepare it for the Winter, or try to get another quick crop in before the frost hits. Not quite sure at this point.

The amazing thing though, about all the vegetables riping at different times, is that we've had such a bounty and variety of rich things to eat the last two months. And last week, I prepared my first meal, completely either from scratch (like the home-made hamburgers) or from our garden (grilled zucchini with roasted potatoes, onions, carrots, and garlic).

The taste was just amazing; I purposly left out any seasonings - and it just didn't need it! In fact, the meal prompted a whole discussion between Chris and I about commercially-produced meals, and how we are now more concerned about what additives are put in to give flavour (such as MSG). Our tastes are changing; as we realise that food can have a few, simple flavours, and yet remain delicious. It's all about quality. I do not need  to add a lot of salt or other seasonings, just enough to compliment and let the flavours of the vegetables take centre stage.

1 comment:

  1. Sweet post minus this
    "the meal prompted a whole discussion between Chris and I"

    Should be "the meal prompted a whole discussion between Chris and me"


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