A Little of This; A Little of That


The summer veggies are coming in at a pretty good clip now (well, except for tomatoes–slowly, and eggplant–barely starting to bloom).  Squash and bean production are adequate and the cucumbers are insane–a dozen or two daily from my small trellised patch.

Yesterday's load of cukes

I’ve been growing this variety for a couple of years now–it’s called “Summer Dance” and I’ve only seen it offered through Pinetree Garden Seeds.  If you trellis them, they almost all turn out perfect–long and slender, with thin skins and sweet, crisp flesh.

Unfortunately, only one of my pickling cukes germinated–and I wasn’t ready to do another seed order yet for just one thing.  So, I am making do with 1-5 little cukes a day from that vine–tucking them down in the basement crock to ferment.  I will probably buy a load of picklers from one of the vendors at our market if I can.

A little of this; a little of that

Today I layered on the mosquito-barrier clothes and spent some time weeding out the northcentral garden, which has gotten pretty messy over the past month.  I didn’t get the whole thing done, but I made a really good dent.  There are actually what you’d call “aisles” now.

I finally got the row cover off the melon vines (direct-seeded between spring cabbage stumps), so they can get pollinated and make melons.  I’m growing “Green Nutmeg” and Minnesota Midget” this year–the latter being the one that’s pretty much guaranteed to give me a few fruits; the former being a trial because I like the idea of a “spicy” melon.

Melons aren’t really a major crop for me because I’ve found them to be tricky on our soils and often pest-ridden.  You would think if cukes grow well, melons would, too, but space considerations almost always mean they go in a less-than-ideal spot.

They look pretty good so far, but I’ve learned never to assume I’ll get many–if any.  The best melons I’ve ever grown in these gardens (muskmelons and Moon & Stars watermelon) have been volunteers–meaning I didn’t really grow them at all.

With the summer harvest coming through the door daily, I’ve been able to get some produce down to PrairieSun, have a decent amount to sell at the farmers market, and make the CSA deliveries as well (which is the main commitment).  And (of course), we’ve been eating a bit, too.

After-party dinner

Last night I made these focaccias out of a round of Red Wagon artisan bread sliced crossways, brushed with garlic oil and toasted, then spread with homemade goat cheese, topped with thin-sliced green pepper, summer squash, and halves of the first few cherry tomatoes, then broiled.

We had actually planned them for an “after bar” (not after it closed, just after the party in question left the bar) celebration of a friend’s birthday, but when the pizzas were ready, and we went to the pre-determined party location, no one was there yet.

It wasn’t really a problem–we had the food, so we brought it home and gnoshed on it ourselves while watching weather radar of the storms coming across the state.  There was even a bit left over for breakfast!

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