August 19, 2013

The Foodie's Veg Patch

One of the greatest pleasures in gardening are edibles. Fruit, berries, vegetables and herbs - all fresher and tastier than any farm stand or farmers market, since one can not only pick ones one produce precisely when one needs it, but because one can select only the choicest varieties - often those not found commercially or at farmstands, since many of the tastiest varieties are less productive, or simply not familiar to people, so few purchase them. In your home garden, you can grow what you want, and I do exactly that. Each year I choose not the most productive, but, the tastiest varieties. Here are some of my favorites. Click more...

When picked before the blossoms wilt, early in the morning, the tiny, ribbed fruit of 'Costata Romanesco', a choice heirloom Italian zucchini treasured by foodies world wide, await the kitchen.

The flat heirloom Italian pole bean 'Meraviglia di Venezia' or 'The Marvel of Venice', produces tall vines
and a bounty so large, that we are already freezing batches for winter meals, and sharing the bounty with our neighbors. Gotta love pole beans in the summer - they always come in on the hottest day, and all at one time. Brings back memories of my mom and dad harvesting buckets of beans and then my brothers and I would clean and can beans until 2:00 am. 

There is nothing quite like home grown celery. Yes, it's not easy, requiring lots of water and organic fertilizer, as well
as rich soil and a long growing season. Celery is demanding, but the results are incredible. Imagine celery with
the flavor cranked up, and the crisp factor enhanced. This week it the first week of my harvest, but it will continue until frost, and even into the snowy winter. The variety here is 'Conquistador'.

Joe tending the honey bees. We took off three honey supers this past weekend, and preparing to extract nearly 100 lbs of honey next week.

I could grow sweet corn, but with our local farms growing so much, I decided to grow an heirloom, green field corn
grown for flour. The stalks are nearly 12 feet tall! Oaxacan Green has been grown by the Aztecs for as long as time.

Oaxacan Green field corn, so tall, that I can barely reach the ears! 
Fresh veggies enhance some left over Basamati rice, with garden fresh broccoli, red chili's so hot that I
nearly went blind! ( I know! I should have known better, but it is allergy season!),  fresh eggs from the hens,
some fish sauce, fresh cilantro, green onions and lime juice.

Asian pears are our favorite. Crispy, and full of snappy juice, these are nearly ready. We have SO many Asian pears
on our four trees, that they are bent over and nearly touching the ground! Sometimes, a wet, warm summer pays off!

The best think about Asian pears, is that unlike other fruit trees, they seem completely bug proof - not a speck of damage, which means no insecticides needed. Just fresh rain water, and a little Turkey poop from our flock of turkeys.

As I said earlier, my tomatoes are late this year, but even when green, this German heirloom ' Riesentraube', 'Reisetomate'  is already interesting with it terrible impractical, yet undeniable cool, fused tumorous tomato.

Daphne, our female baby Irish terrier was clearly busy tossing her toys around, like a wild fox playing with a lemming.
Except, this lemming comes with a squeeker.
Daphne, catching honeybees again, ( yes, she will learn soon enough), as they try to grab a drink.


  1. I don't know how you do what you do: what scrumptious pictures! I am particularly taken with the squash blossoms in the glass (something-WECK), backlit--magical! And your api-phagous Daphne--brave dog! Your garden looks to be a veggie-lovers paradise! I'm jealous (this was a bum year for fruit due to horrible spring frost, and we were gone at veggie planting time)...incert envious emoticon here..

  2. I am also growing Meraviglia de Venezia but it is just starting to produce. It seems to me that for pole beans, when I use my own heirloom beans saved from the previous year, they come to maturity faster than bought beans (as is the case for me this year with Meraviglia de Venezia). Last year a new variety was Garafal Oro and it was the last one to produce but this year Garafal is not later than others. Perhaps the bought ones are older and dryer.
    Congratulations on your celery. Your results are magnificent.

  3. Apiphagous? really PK? LOL. Well, she is as well as sneakerphagous. Thanks for your kind words, but really - no fancy tricks here, just some new Photoshop actions and a decent lens. I think about your apricots from last year - yum, if only we could grow them here.

  4. Thank you Alain. I have not tried to save seeds from this, but I think I will try this year. That is an interesting observation, I think I will need to try an experiment now.

  5. Anonymous3:03 PM

    Yummy! Your garden looks wonderful!

  6. Hello Matt,

    I would like to try the tomato "Riesentraube" next year. The images from an online search do not match your picture, instead they depict a more typical grape tomato. I'm more interested in the monstrous clone you have, because tomatoes of this type make wonderful salad tomatoes. Please let me know where you got your seeds. As always, I love your blog. Best regards, Paul

  7. Oh Paul, I made a big mistake, and thanks for catching it! The tomato i question is NOT 'Riesentraube', but Riesentomate'. I've made the correction in the post, but you can find both at Baker Creek Seeds. Thanks for the comment! Have you grown Riesentraube before? I may try it next year.

  8. Looks like a great harvest! I have to say I'm envious of the bees/honey. That is one thing I have been dying to do, but alas most rentals won't allow it :)

  9. Hi Matt,

    A little tip I picked up from Kaytlin Kayte (sp?) from Vibes Up is to spit on your seeds so they adapt to what your body needs. Hey, worth a try.


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