Thursday, July 23, 2009

Morning Harvest

Nearly every day from the end of May through about mid-September I walk out into the garden to pick whatever is ripe, and maybe cut some fresh flowers as well. Today I picked out these Black Beauty zucchinis, a bunch of snow peas (see yesterday's post), and some mixed lettuce (Allstar Gourmet Mix, a very attractive, delicious, and easy to grow mix that I've used for a few years.)

The fresh vegetables, however, were no match for the siren song of the Burger Bar at The Point Casino, where we ended up amid acres of fatty delights (the food, not the patrons), and cheap beer. The vegetables will have to wait until tomorrow when hopefully we'll be in a more wholesome frame of mind.

Mr. Rabbit

I have lots of wild (or feral?) rabbits lolling about the property this summer. So far they haven't molested my garden, so all is well between us.

Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Snow Peas

If I could only grow one type of vegetable, it would be snow peas. I love the flavor, they are easy to cultivate, and pea patches are charming. This year I planted Oregon Sugar Pod II from Burpee (left over from last year) on February 22, followed by Sugar Snow Sweet from Johnny's Seeds on March 14th, and more plantings roughly every two weeks afterward until July 15th. Although snow peas are a cool weather plant, I've had no problems succession-planting them through mid-summer. I plant the new rows in front of the old ones, and although that makes harvesting a little trickier, the old vines seem to provide enough shade to the newer ones that they do fine even in the heat of summer. I like both varieties I planted this year equally. The Oregon variety germinated more quickly than the others, even though they were planted in cooler weather, so they have a slight edge, but I would recommend either one for this climate.

Below you can see the patch, with the older vines turning yellow as they die back.

Posted by Picasa


Pretty, aren't they?

Salmonberries are native to our Pacific Northwest, where they are often found in shady spots and especially near streams, as they like it cool and moist. We have a large patch on our property and enjoy the berries from early June to the end of July. They quit producing around the time the blackberries get going. They have a pleasant, slightly tart flavor, and are mild to the point of being bland. They are quite watery and don't keep well, so I always use them the same day I pick them, and wouldn't bother trying to freeze them. Since they ripen around the same time as the strawberries, I combine the two often in crumbles, milkshakes, and other desserts. The salmonberries add a refreshing bit of tanginess to the strawberries. I've heard that salmonberries make good wine, and I think they would be tasty and attractive in a vodka cocktail. I hope to do some experimenting with the latter before they disappear for the year. Salmonberries have remarkable nutritional value. Four ounces, or roughly a cup, contains 60% of the RDA of manganese, 20% of vitamin K, 16% of vitamin C, 12% of vitamin A, and just 52 calories. (I extrapolated these numbers from data provided at, a great source for nutritional information.)

Posted by Picasa