8/9/11

Mrs. Muddy Knees Visits the Garden


This is what happens when you work in the garden in the Northwest.  Thank goodness for old jeans. 

I paid a visit to the garden today to harvest the first of my garden lettuce.  Up until now I've been harvesting the lettuce I grew in the greenhouse.  I have three varieties.  On the left is a Romaine variety known as Valmane.  In the center is a green leaf variety known as Esmerelda, and on the right is a red leaf variety known as Red Sails.  I've had good luck with these three, and so I grow them year after year.  With the growing conditions I contend with, I don't mess with success.



Yes, one of the green leaf heads strayed out of its row, but I've learned to be grateful for whatever grows in my garden.  If it's edible and it's alive, it grows where it grows.  Isn't this lovely?



Tonight I'm making a salad using one of the cucumbers I grew in the greenhouse, the remaining heirloom tomato I have from the Portland Farmer's Market, and this lettuce.  I make a nice orange vinaigrette for it.  I just whirl it up in my mini-food processor.  It tastes so clean and fresh on a salad.  Here's what's in it:

1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1/2 tablespoon minced shallots
1 tablespoon orange marmalade
1 tablespoon sherry vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)
1/2 tablespoon hazelnut oil (or olive oil)
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
pinch freshly ground black pepper

The corn is now the size it should have been a month ago.  I don't worry about it too much since I've noticed that even the "big boy" farmers' corn isn't any taller than mine.



I don't have a lot, but I have enough I think.  I'm just now getting the first zucchini blossoms.  You know it's been a sad growing season when even the zucchini are tentative.



The green beans are just now starting to climb their poles.  Who knows if we'll get any beans this year? Maybe enough for a few meals, but I doubt I'll have enough for canning.



The beets are the stars of the garden this year.  It's so strange because this year is similar to last year . . . late in warming up, lots of rain, and cool temperatures.  Last year, I didn't get a single beet plant.  This year, I have more than enough for eating with meals and canning pickled beets. 



The tomatoes are finally starting to get some size to them.



There are lots of flowers, but so far, I haven't seen a single tomato.



Too bad there isn't a prize handed out for the largest moles.  We gave up long ago trying to control them.  When you live on an acreage, you learn to share your home with the critters that lived here long before you.



Speaking of tomatoes, the greenhouse tomatoes grew so tall they were touching the ceiling.  We took out the slats on the upper shelves and moved them to the lower ones.



And I have lots of tomatoes too!  I can't recall the name of these, but they are a type of slicing tomato.



I've harvested two cucumbers so far, and there's a third one that's very close.  If I'd known these would do so well, I would have planted more.



The rest of the garden is doing well too.  One of the dahlias has bloomed and the others are heading up.



The echinacea is heading up too.  I love this when it blooms.  It blooms and blooms and blooms.  It's a very gratifying flower for very little effort.



This is what oregano looks like when it blooms.  Sometimes I put it in with cut flowers.  The bees love it.



And despite my concern for our earlier lack of bees, they've returned to the lavender so that it positively hums with their presence.



Remember the little flower pots I planted earlier in the spring?  They've overflowed their pots now.



I purposely planted less so they'd have more room, but they have grown like crazy.  I just noticed that the little yellow straw flowers finally were able to make their way to the surface after being overwhelmed by the daisies and the snapdragons.



The gerbera daisies are doing as well as I've ever seen them.



Apparently, they like being in the shade of this big pine tree, which is good since nothing else will grow here.


The catnip is growing well despite constant harassment from George and Gracie.



Remember when I planted it this spring with rocks all around it so that Gracie wouldn't roll on it and kill it?  (It works!)


I observed in an earlier post that our hydrangeas did not do well this winter.  They've bloomed almost not at all, and earlier I had to cut out about 90% of the plants that was just dead wood.  This bluest of blue hydrangeas is just now starting to bloom--months behind schedule.



This late-blooming clematis is now showing its best face for us, despite being notoriously hard to photograph.


And with the garden having been fully inspected and photographed by George and me, I came inside, washed my lettuce and baked a rustic marionberry tart with the marionberries I had left over after making my vodka infusion.  Yum.  I blogged in an earlier post about how to make this tart.



Can't wait to have this tonight with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

We're having dinner guests on Monday.  I've been on a week-long cleaning binge in preparation.  We generally have people over a couple of times a year, if for no other reason than to give us an excuse to clean the house.  Mike has observed that if we never had people over, the house would never get cleaned. 

So with the fun stuff out of the way, I guess I'll get on with the drudgery.  Sewing will have to wait a little longer.

4 comments from clever and witty friends:

Stray Stitches said...

I'm quite envious of all the things you grow. I keep trying to get my DH to move to the NW without success. I have many relatives up there so have visited many times and love it!!

quiltzyx said...

How lovely does your garden grow! A bit slow, but still enough for smiles :D

That Marionberry tart is making me drool again. Enjoy!

Linda said...

Your garden is so wonderful. I miss having a garden, but I don't have enough sunlight any more. The corn on the farms around here is growing positively huge - we've had a scorchingly hot summer, but we've also had a huge amount of rain - including yesterday's biblical rain! The result is that anything green is growing like crazy!

Snoodles said...

Your garden is green and lush, though behind schedule - mine is pretty much petered out, except for my okra. You just can't kill okra, even with a drought! LOL
Thanks for the lovely flower photos; I always enjoy your photography. I'm looking at a Nikon (actually drooling over it) and hubby is interested in my choice this time! Maybe it will follow me home from the store next time!
Jacque in SC