Just as I left one apricot to ripen while the tree gets its strength up, I let a solitary plum from the tree I planted this spring develop. It was really hard to pick off all the tiny plums back in May, but if that means I’ll get a bigger harvest next year, I’m all for it. This plum had turned a deep, beautiful purple about four weeks ago. It remained very firm, only starting to yield to gentle pressure a few days ago. We actually found it on the ground today, and it may have been a touch overripe.
Still, the flavor was great – not as transcendent as that apricot last month, but still – unbelievably sweet flesh, with a tart skin and more floral than anything I’ve ever eaten from the store or even farmers market. The plum was quite a bit smaller than I expected, but still, it was the perfect dessert after the great Indian meal Janna cooked up today.
After the disappointment of last year’s Hardy Chicago Fig not being so hardy after all, I replaced it with two more bush-shaped fig plants rather than the tree-shaped version I had last year. I was disappointed again earlier this summer, when only one breba fig appeared, and then broke off its stem before it ripened. But! A few days ago, I took a close look at the bushes, and saw a couple dozen tiny figs forming! The bush shaped plants have 4-5 stems rather than the one stem from the standard-pruned fig that died over the winter. This seems to be much better for fig production!
My plan is to let these figs ripen, and then bring the whole contraption inside in mid-fall. It should retain all its leaves and make a nice, if huge, houseplant, and also have a good start for next year’s season.
As the weather gets hotter and hotter, the nightshades in our garden are getting really happy. One of my new experiments this year was with chichiquelite huckleberries. The plants in my old potato box are thriving! They’re each about three feet tall and peppered with clusters of berries. Some of the first to show are now ripening, and I think in a few weeks, I’ll have quite a haul. I’ve also got one plant in the cucumber/pepper/eggplant bed, and one in the community garden, both of which are quite a bit smaller. The berries grow in clusters of 6 or seven, and each cluster ripens more or less at the same time. The berries change from green to a deep, lustrous black when they’re ripe.
I tasted the first few berries to see if they were ripe. They certainly are – they’re very sweet but have a bit of an odd taste. It’s a bit of a disappointment – but they still might be good cooked into a jam or pie or syrup. The flavor isn’t exactly bad – it’s just really…different. Almost like a sweet green bean if that make sense. Once I try cooking these, I’ll make a judgement as to whether I’ll try them again next year or give over the space to even more ground cherries (which I really love.)
I grew this! In Ohio! And there are more on the way! The community garden is going gangbusters. So far, I’ve had beets, kale, cabbage, onions, tomatillos, cilantro in great volumes, and today, this artichoke was looking up at me. I’ve got a squash about a foot in diameter growing, and even the watermelon volunteers look great.
Of course, I’ve never seen an artichoke so fresh. The color is so much more vibrant than anything I’ve seen in the store. We’ve got to eat it today. It’s going to be part of lunch, with some red beet greens.
After a few busy weekends of work and family visiting, the community garden had got a bit out of control. We’ve had plenty of rain, so I hadn’t paid it a visit in three weeks. When I did go last Sunday, I was pretty horrified – it was literally choked with weeds. I spent about five hours over two days, and finally got it cleared out. It’s amazing how fast weeds grew in the communtiy garden plot as compared to the raised beds we have at home. I’m not sure if it’s the soil mix I use at home, as compared to native soil, or the fact that the edges aren’t separated from the grass in the community garden, or the fact that there are so many more weed seeds around the community garden. But it was bad.
Underneath the carpet of weeds, lots of plants were actually doing really well. I’ve got a solid six-foot row of cilantro, and I’ll probably let some of it go to seed for corriander.
The artichokes have started to take off – they were relatively clear of weeds all along. They’ve got a lot of growing to do, though, if they’re going to be productive.
The tomatillos I planted in the community garden aren’t staked, but they’ve also grown huge, and these are even starting to bear fruit.
The cabbages getting nice and big, and the cauliflower and broccoli are doing pretty good too. I caught a couple of worms on the cauliflower, but they hadn’t done much damage.
While weeding, I did have a few casualties. A few onions and a zucchini plant got pulled inadvertently last Sunday. But near the compost piles, I found some volunteer watermelon seedlings, so I’m giving those a shot in the empty space.
The community garden should be getting a lot more attention moving forward, because I’m starting a new job on Monday that will require much less travel! Woohoo!
Right now, the garden is in an in-between state. Some things have taken off fast – the tomatoes, ground cherries, even the chichiquelite huckleberries are getting really big. Other things are taking their time – the black currant bushes are healthy, but haven’t grown much. A eggplant I started from seed and was pulled up by some bird or squirrel is dwarfed by its nursery-bought neighbors.
Among everything else, the tomatillo is enormous – it’s at least four feet tall, and it could easily be taller than me in a month.
After my hardy Chicago fig turned out to be not so hardy, I bought two new bushier figs to put in the planter. I didn’t expect much out of these this year, but there is one tiny fig starting to grow on one of them.