Saturday, July 2, 2011

Here's the week: Predators, Beans, Beets and Scapes!

I won't start this as I started a previous post..the old "it was the best of times, it was the worst of times."

But that actually does describe the week.

Strange and horrific things are happening this year. 

The garden and Jeremiah

One of my two beautiful baby Rouen ducklings was snatched from his heavy wire cage 2 nights ago.  I couldn't figure it out.  No wire was pulled apart, nothing really appeared to be disturbed.

 Sick.  I just felt sick.  His sibling was frantic, hence my gardening partner in the above photo. My sidekick.  My beautiful little BFF.

Yesterday it was a chicken, one of my lovely Plymouth Barred Rocks. During the day, I believe.

Then the sighting by Mollie...a weasel.  My neighbour George brought down his Jack Russell to try to sniff the stinker out, but despite Lulu's best effort...the trail turned up cold.

My little duck, Jeremiah, is in the garage secure and safe, and the chickens are locked up tight tonight.
But I won't rest easy till we catch him.

Years ago, perhaps 14 or so, a weasel slaughtered my pet bunnies.  About 15 of them.  The tell tale marks were on the neck.

I have no love for weasels.

That seems to be the year it is though.  From an excess of racoons, skunks and coyotes who are even around during the day, to the scourge of the garden-flea beetles, squash bugs and cucumber beetles, they are all out in big numbers. 

I just do my best.  I use no sprays, powders or other concoctions on my plants.  Certain organic and biological preparations can still cause harm to beneficials, so I aim for being on top of my game...I'm vigilant and am quick to squish. With flea beetles, easier said than done, of course.  So I simply don't plant certain crops with high "flea beetle appeal" at this time of year.  That would include arugula and mustards.

What I am planting now is beans. Still. Lots of beans.

Why not?  Most bush beans are 45-65 days to that would take us into mid August to September.  I don't know about you, but I can still eat lots of beans at that time of year.

Pole and runner beans tend to take a bit longer- 75 days and up.  But I still like beans into mid-September and regardless, I need to save seed from 30 or more varieties. 

Special ones, like the gorgeous bean pictured above.  This seed, Inca, is a climbing french bean from the Heritage Seed Library in England, of which I am a member.  I received only 10 seeds of this very rare bean, so must save the seed to build up my seed stock.

Today I also planted the very beautiful "Alice Sunshine Snap" bush bean," Molly", a french bean from Chiltern Seeds in England in honour of my very beautiful daughter, as well as Rattlesnake, Lazy Housewife (named in honour of me!) and some other truly deserving pole beans.

OH My!!  The biggest garden news of all was left till now....I have red tomatoes!  Yes, Stupice has come through, and my sea of green tomatoes and yellow blossoms in the back hoophouse is about to explode into ripeness. First tomato eaten, ( by me of course..only fitting), was on June 30.  A mere 55 days from transplant.

And my neat little segue into the beets is that I could have started them in the hoophouse too 55 days ago, but didn't.  And haven't.  I'm getting there. Tomorrow perhaps I'll finally get some beets in. Lots of beets.

If anyone out there is interested in the free beet seeds as I described in my previous post, it isn't too late.  I have ten participants, but I'll take more, if you let me know by tomorrow night.  Seeds will be in the mail Monday.  I'm going to try a few little tricks to see if i can get mine going a bit faster.  I'll soak some, scarify some, raise some as transplants and see what gets me to the largest beet by September 18th.

I wonder.

But despite my lack of action on the beets, I am happy that I'm starting to get baskets of produce out to people and my restaurant clients.  Please go to bed happy in the knowledge that yes, the beets will come.
I promise.

There are lots of greens now, and of course garlic scapes, the immature seed head that growers snap off the plant, so that theoretically the plant puts it's energy into growing a bigger bulb, instead of seed.
I've read that this may or may not be the case, and that is my experience too.

No matter.  The scapes are a great garlic addition to your meals.

Here's a simple recipe for Garlic Pesto, which is just so good on pasta.
Please enjoy!

Garlic scape Pesto

8-9 garlic scapes, 1 cup in total
1/3 cup walnuts
3/4 cup olive oil
1/4-1/2 cup parmigiano
1/2 tsp salt

Process scapes and walnuts in food processor till smooth.
Remove from processor, add to bowl, add cheese, salt to taste. Keeps in the fridge for one week. Use 2 TBSP with 1/2 lb pasta...


Iz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Iz said...

So sorry to hear about your loss - that's just awful. Good luck with catching the predator!

I'm going to try the garlic pesto recipe - thank you for that.

I hope soon it will be only "the best of times" for you.