Garden Update for June 2008

I had my first foray into home gardening about a year ago, which was great for herbs, but the leafy greens came to an untimely end.

This year, I got smart and we’ve had a fence around the garden from the beginning.  As a result, well…we’re going to be eating lettuce throughout the rest of the summer, as you can see.

The sage and thyme survived through last winter and got an early start on growing this season.  Both had grown enough to begin blooming, but, seeing as the bloom season seems to have passed, I’ve clipped both down considerably, leaving one or two stalks for the benefit of the bees.  Also making a reappearance was the oregano which, like mint, grows like a weed, but I’ve left it alone because it’s more versatile than mint (which was dug out of the garden and now rests peacefully in its own pot).

Leaving the sage, thyme, and oregano meant that I had about 90% of the square foot garden left to play in.  I set out to complete the herb set, so I picked up some basil and a tarragon plant (new for this year).  I haven’t used either of them in my cooking so far, because I want them to grow a little more before harvesting.  On a whim, I picked up a lemon verbena plant and potted it next to the garden, and the few weeks of warm weather have perked it up considerably.  I also added chives and scallions to one corner – the chives are thriving, and I have three good scallions.  Both, I believe, are perennial, so I may never have to buy chives from the store ever again.

As far as crops go, I learned my lesson from last year and decided not to plant carrots this time around.  Instead, I again planted lettuce and spinach (the lettuce took off, and the spinach has been hard to cultivate this year) and tried my hand at broccoli rabe.
In the cool days of late spring, the broccoli rabe wasn’t very active.  The next thing you know, it’s waist high and has already bloomed, which may or may not have affected my ability to eat it – I haven’t tried any of it yet.  It is tempting, though, to consider sauteing a mess of broccoli rabe in garlic and olive oil, roasting a pork shoulder in the oven until it’s falling apart, and slapping all of it onto rolls paired with some painfully sharp provolone.

I really enjoy the level of self sufficiency that we attain during the summer months with our garden.  At this point, food shopping consists only of picking up the meats that we need from the store, and everything else that I need to make a dish pretty much comes from what we grow.  If only our homeowners association would allow me to raise chickens and cattle, I would never have to go to the store at all.