13 July 2014

Relief and Renewed Hope in the Summer Harvest

I have to admit, I was getting really discouraged. Hail storms, one late freeze after another, plagues of birds and ravenous insects...the list of calamities our gardens have been trying to endure has been seemingly endless. We planted seeds as often as possible despite our preoccupation with our lovely new baby girl, Tesla, but each time something new seemed to come along to dash our hopes of eating abundance from our permaculture garden.

Oh, we've had kale and a few other greens, and the occasional beet. But Spring saw little coming from the garden to our table, and frankly I was sad.

But then a trickle came. A few peaches that clung on through the freezes and hail storms. Okra here and there that produced despite stunting from unseasonably cold weather. And then the cucumbers went gangbusters, signaling the rest of the garden that it was time. And today, this:
We ate WELL tonight.
Yes, we ate almost all of this tonight. FRESH from the garden.

Everything on the cutting board came in today. The jars are full of lacto-fermented relish and pickles from the first cucumber surge a couple of days ago. Well, almost full. It turns out they're delicious and we're impatient. And we're not the only ones excited and a bit impatient about the fresh pickings:
"Tesla, what'cha doin', honey?"
*Om nom nom apple*
Bye, bye, apple.

What a cool beet! Happy pink on the outside, and hiding a pink zebra on the inside.
Lovely Chioggia beets
So there's an apple (or at least there was), some carrots that amusingly showcased which parts of the garden actually have shallow soil with hard caliche right underneath, tomatoes that were just silly delicious (yes, we already ate them. With the cucumbers. In shopska salata), Chioggia beets that were almost too beautiful to eat (...almost), wild onions that had been hiding under carrot greens, okra (most of it not pictured because I snack while I harvest), zucchini (despite several attacks from squash vine borers), seeds from a sunflower "weed" that got huge in our fertile garden and only a few of the cucumbers (we gave half to the neighbors because we have so many more almost ready to pick). Erik picked wild flowers for us as well, adding a perfect sentimental touch to the joy of eating from our own garden.

It's been a lot of work, a lot of learning, and a lot of energy. I know this is just the start, but I can't help feeling this just got real.

Cultures for Health has wonderful fermentation recipes and guides to make your garden food even more nutritious with the bonus of a longer shelf life.
Seeds for our garden came from Native Seeds/SEARCH, Sustainable Seed Company and High Mowing Organic Seeds.