Saturday, August 08, 2015

I have waited eleven years for this.

Another garden update, how shocking.  I'm just enjoying the puttering and watching and green-ness so much.

Thing the first: the stargazer lilies are just about to pop.  One stalk has quite small buds, but I'm not going to complain on its first season after confinement in a plastic bag on the store shelf.

Stargazer lilies ready to pop

Thing the second: the Doone Valley thyme is establishing well and has started to creep.  I would love for this to completely fill this planter that the curly willow resides in.  It's more of a groundcover thyme than a culinary thyme, since it stays small, but it has beautiful pinky-lavender flowers.

Doone Valley thyme, off and running.

Thing the third:  My 2015 garlic harvest is complete.  Ha!  This is a scrawny clove that sprouted in my kitchen before I could use it, so I stuck it in one of the planter barrels and ignored it.  I had no real hopes for it, but lookie here- I got a little bulb of seven cloves!  I'll definitely be planting more in the fall, to harvest next year.

Garlic harvest 2015. From a clove that sprouted in my kitchen.

Thing the fourth is the main point of this post: the garden annexes.

The Tomato Annex has exploded with growth.  Four of the plants are now officially taller than me, and the others aren't far behind.

The Tomato Annex 8.8.15. Four plants are officially taller than me.

AND, today I got the first ripe tomatoes from the Tomato Annex!

First ripe tomatoes at the Tomato Annex!

These are on one of the mystery heirloom plants that I got off Freecycle in May.  I don't know the variety, but they're very vigorous plants, and have good sized tomatoes.

Thumbs up for tomatoes!

Thumbs up for tomatoes!  Yay!

Here's a shot of the sucker I stuck in the ground to replace the Oregon Spring tomato that never really grew.  Five weeks in the ground, and it's now waist-high and has itty-bitty fruits.

The six-week-old sucker.

While I was weeding this afternoon, I discovered something funny.  The north end of the Tomato Annex is still a compost pile, where I've been tossing all the weedings and prunings. 

Volunteer potato and tomatoes in the compost pile

Shortly after I planted my tomatoes, I discovered that a potato had sprouted in the compost pile; it's the bushy viney thing toward the front in that picture.  Today I discovered something more.

Potato, tomato, tomato, tomato

Those are volunteer tomato seedlings.  I'm pretty sure that those are volunteers from the seed bank in the compost pile, since they're so small.  Three little sprouts.

These, however, are not volunteers from the compost.

Tomato x5

Those five sproutlets are suckers that I pruned off my plants last weekend and tossed on the compost pile.  I dug them up to see because I couldn't believe it, and they all still have the broken-off stem end where I snapped them off the parent plant.  I didn't bury them or do anything except toss them over there.  They rooted themselves before they dried out!

I'm a little frightened at the power of this compost pile and these tomato plants.  :-P  Wonder if they'll have time to set any fruit?

In the Basil Annex, it was time to harvest again.  You may notice that there are five more plants in here now- I rooted some cuttings a couple weeks ago and stuck them in the ground.  I figured that since I'm keeping the plants trimmed and harvested, they don't need so much room between them.

So here's before:

Basil Annex

And here's after.  I think this is the sixth or seventh time I've harvested this amount from these plants.

Pile o' basil. Again.

In the Cucumber Annex, there were two cukes waiting for me.  And perhaps it wasn't the deer that were nibbling my stevia plant?  A turkey left a feather.

Cucumber Annex and turkey feather

So here's today's harvest from the garden annex.  Yum!

This looks like dinner.

I decided to just freeze the basil plain, since I don't have the other ingredients for pesto in the house right now.  I got six quarts of washed and picked leaves...

Basil before

...which became about a pint and a half of finely chopped basil and olive oil.  I put in a quart ziplock, flattened out the air, and stashed it in the freezer.  Because of the oil, it doesn't freeze super hard, so I can cut off what I need for a recipe.

Basil after

And for the best part.  I have tomatoes and cucumbers ripe at the same time.  It's SAMMICH TIME!

Oh my gosh I can't wait.

I haven't had a BCT (bacon, cucumber, and tomato) sandwich for eleven years.  The last time was in 2004, with my mom, with produce from her garden.  That trip was the last time I was with Mom in person before her car accident the following spring.  I just went back and looked through my photos from that trip and coincidentally, it has been eleven years to the day from when we had those sandwiches, on the last full day of that trip in Maine. Spooky.

BCT sandwiches are one of my favorite summer memories from days of yore.  I would run out to the garden and grab the veggies while Mom made the bacon, and we would chow down.  I remember Mom giggling when the tomato juice ran down her chin.  Making a BCT with store veggies was unthinkable.  Perhaps Farmer's Market produce would suffice, but really, there's no beating a sandwich made with produce less than 10 minutes from the garden, with the tomato still warm from the sun.

BCT sandwich. Oh yes.

Oh yes.  That's what I've been waiting for.


Rachel said...

First -- what a cool way to remember your mom...although it is a bit spooky the down to the day business. are killing me here Sue!!! My mouth is watering just thinking about a fresh, home-grown tomato which I haven't tasted in oh...5 years? There are farmer's markets up here but I'm never in town on the day. I love BLT's but my favorite to do with the first tomato was a grilled tomato, cheese, and mayo sandwich. oh yum!!!

Third -- yup. that may be part compost, but it may be the other secret ingredient in our garden and herb beds. ;) This is what my tomatoes always look like -- they go out of control!

Anne said...

I love your BCT coincidence!!! To the day... how odd. And what a great memory of your Mom. Sweet. I'm jealous of your tomato plants. Mine are finally producing fruit, but the plants are wimpy compared to what grows in your garden, and in the annex. There will be a big compost amendment project this fall in my garden. I harvested my first lemon cucumber yesterday and will have a sandwich with it, and fresh tomatoes and basil for lunch today for sure. There is NOTHING like fresh tomatoes.