How my garden does grow

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July 13, 2009 by 8junebugs

Given the travel and stress of recent weeks, I’m hanging on the Eat Local, Real Food wagon by my right pinky. If that gives out, it’s takeout and ice cream until I close Mom’s estate or defend my fucking thesis.

Plus? It’s that gorgeous sort of DC summer that makes you reconsider the value of the Mid-Atlantic region. The humidity, to my knowledge, hasn’t hit 80% yet. I know it’s only July…I do. August looms large and drippy. But seriously? I’m blogging from my balcony with a setting sun behind me, drinking a cider drink and watching my cucumbers grow. My hair ISN’T EVEN IN A PONYTAIL. That’s how clement this DC summer is.

This, for all you Mid-Atlantic folks who haven’t lived in the East Bay, is what it’s like there. If this is the result of global climate change, I may have to tell Al Gore “Thanks, but no thanks. More pollution, please!”

Anyway, I have neither the time nor the energy to be a proper chef. Fortunately, the garden is kicking into (relatively) high gear and I have to think less about what to eat than about which blossoming herb needs to be trimmed back for the benefit of my vinaigrette.

Tonight, it was rosemary. I wound up making two small salads. In the first, I used spinach, tomatoes (balcony!), broccoli and carrot strips (mostly broccoli), and shrimp. With enough willpower (somehow) to set aside the extra shrimp for a lunch salad tomorrow, I just used the broccoli/carrot trips and tomatoes in the second salad, but added a bit of honey goat cheese from Cheesetique.

Currently growing on the balcony:

  • 6 peppers, still green. Remember, though, that I planted Carnival Hybrids, so they could come in red, orange, yellow, white, or purple. Or something in between. It’s a mystery!
  • Two cucumbers, which hadn’t really started when I left for NYC. One is hanging over the balcony rail–I hope I’ll know when to pick it…before it falls on a neighbor’s head. The other is hanging on the safer side. There will be more, I’m sure–yesterday I watched a honeybee handle the dirty work for some more blossoms.
  • A handful of green beans. Only one plant grew, and it’s bearing well, I suppose…the one I ate tasted like a green bean, but I don’t know how many I’ll get out of it.
  • Some lonely strawberries.
  • Countless tomatoes. The plants are hardy–the Napa grape tomatoes grow and ripen even when the branch they’re on is nearly dead.
  • I’ve thinned out the zucchini plants again and cleaned out most of the dead branches and leaves. We’ll see if that helps with bearing, but it looks like this year I’m just growing squash blossoms.

Not a bad haul for the first year. The herbs continue to do well…I’d like to find a way to keep them indoors, once summer’s done.

I’ve got a new neighbor to the east, two doors down. He came out last night to survey his balcony and called across to say hello and ask me what I think of the place. Doesn’t matter, really, as he’s already apparently signed a lease. Anyway, he’s trying to figure out what to do with the balcony and he and his roommate are “big into cooking,” so he wants to put some herbs on one end… I’m not sure, but I think he was flirting. Or he’s gay. Could go either way–either he actually cares about growing fresh herbs or he’s one of those guys who thinks a woman will swoon at the thought of a man who knows his basil from a hole in the ground.

Strangely? That doesn’t work on me anymore.


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