This summer has been full of gardening with my family, outdoor adventures with friends, and starting a new job on an organic farm. The way things went this summer, if I wasn't too tired from working, the beautiful summer weather just wouldn't let me sit at a computer to post an update. Well the rains have finally set in and I am more inclined to human hibernation (actives such as wrapping up in blankets while reading or blogging).
|CAUTION: When summer schedules get crazy, night watering and wedding sessions by headlamp and while barefoot can occur. (see below for more)|
For weeks I have felt almost overwhelmed with where to start the updating. It was a shameful and needless source of internal stress, so I decided to start with my garden, since working in the garden has been my long time source of stress relief. I promise to post about starting a new job at Oxbow Farm and a recap of my outdoor summer adventures soon.
We had two gardens this year. We had garden boxes and potted tomato plants at our house and we had a larger garden at our friend's house on the other side of town. The advantage of the garden at our friend's house was that they have less tree cover, which means more sunlight.
|Picture of Garden in May when Alex and I transplanted the tomatoes|
|Picture taken in August when everything was in full swing|
|In Garden Solitude at Sunset... In my top 5 best things about summer.|
We planted about 15 different varieties of tomatoes and over 60 plants between our two gardens. You may ask why so many varieties? Why so many plants? To that I would reply...why not? I had a bunch of seeds that I acquired while working at Seed Saver Exchange last year and my dad and I were curios about what some of them were like. We also did not know what would grow well in this new foreign climate that we found ourselves in, so we did a generous sample. The Northwest is not the best place for growing tomatoes. It can be done but it's not as easy as it was for us in California.
We had a great harvest and my mom has been canning tomatoes like crazy this fall. It's going to be a really tasty winter!!!
|Crazy deformed tomato|
|Tomato trellis with Nasturtium (edible flower |
that has sweet peppery taste)
|Cool yellow spider that was chilling on a tomato leaf|
I grew cabbage because I love to make homemade sauerkraut. If you've never had traditionally made sauerkraut, prepare to have your world rocked! It's nothing like the stuff they sell in jars at the store.
|"Copenhagen Market" Cabbage|
|Me and one of my "Premium Late Flat Dutch" Cabbages|
|What a Crock... that I am making Sauerkraut in!|
This is a crop not a lot of people are familiar with. Before they brought potatoes from the "New World" turnips and rutabagas were the starchy white crop of choice. I grew them because I love the way they tastes pickled. I laco-fermented some a month ago so they should be getting really good pretty soon here.
|Jaccamo helping me thin the rutabagas|
|Guess the thinning worked....|
|... because these things are bigger than my head!!!|
WEEDING & WATERING
Sometimes the best time (maybe the only time) to water and weed is at night. We had family in town at the end of July and after going out to dinner for my sister-in-law's birthday one evening, we realized that no one had been up to water in a few days. I made a quick run up to the garden at dusk which turned to night quickly. I was no prepared for a trip to the garden so I rolled up my jeans, took my shoes off and slapped on a headlamp (yup...I keep one of those in my purse). I love the way mud feels in my toes. Always have, hopefully I always will.
Things got really crazy for me at work in the late summer so my mom, dad and little brother pretty much took over caring for the gardens at that point. But lets be honest, it was mostly mom with our trusty dog, jaccamo at her side. Go Team!
|Watering the Collard Greens|
|Watering the Beets|
|While I was weeding by headlamp, the flies started gathering around my head. I was just starting to reach my breaking point, when I discovered that I had drawn one of the flies into this spider's web. The three of us had a moment.|