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A busy weekend

June 16, 2008 - Kathie Evanoff
It was a wildly busy weekend, but most summers are like that.

There was plenty of garden work to do, including getting the last of the plants in the garden beds. We managed to get all the herbs planted, as well as the alpine strawberries that I started from seed in the greenhouse in April. Many of these plants already had blossoms on them, which means when the June strawberries are winding down, I may be still be getting some sweet berries in my garden.

I spent early Sunday morning pulling out several handfuls of the weed, Hairy Galinsoga, from one of the vegetable garden beds. This is the only bed we didn’t cover with black plastic to try to control this horrible weed. The reason this bed wasn’t covered was because I put in the early season crops, garlic, shallots, radishes, turnips, chard and potatoes before the plastic went down in the remaining three beds.

Later in the afternoon when the sun was fading, I tied the tomato plants to stakes with old pantyhose I cut into strips. Once tied up, I cut off the suckers that grow between the branches on the plants. To find the suckers, look at the main tomato stem and the side stems with leaves. An extra stem will try to grow from between the main trunk and side stem. If left to grow, those extra stems will get as long and thick as the main stem, pulling the vine down to the ground causing an unorganized sprawl all over the ground. If left alone, the plant will produce more tomatoes, but they will be small. If the suckers are not allowed to form and grow, the leader plant will produce much larger tomatoes and will be easier to handle when staked.

There have been years when we chose not to stake the tomatoes but instead left them sprawling on the ground. The fruit was difficult to harvest because we had to step all over the sprawling vines and our tomatoes often rotted or succumbed to insects. I have found that keeping a neat tomato garden produces the best fruit.

The asparagus bed is doing well and the small crowns we planted last month are sending up some young fern-like plants that will strengthen the roots below. Next year, I may be able to harvest a few asparagus spears for a couple of weeks early in the spring, or I may decide to wait one more year for a harvest. The size of the spears that come up next year will make that determination for me.

Part of the busy weekend included putting up 15 jars of strawberry jam from fresh berries purchased at a local farm. It didn’t leave any for freezing, but that’s okay because the later berries are the sweetest anyway. In a couple weeks, we’ll go back for those and put several quarts of berries in the freezer for strawberry smoothies.

I check the farm markets on a weekly basis now to see what is available, that I don’t grow myself, for stocking up and freezing. Fresh fruit and vegetables in season are much better than what has traveled several days to get here. If something is not in season here, you can easily determine how far it traveled by counting back about three months and figuring out what areas had the climate three months ago to produce this item. In most cases, it is California, Mexico or South America.

Breakfast this morning began with oats made with half a banana, brown sugar, cinnamon and a half ounce chopped walnuts.

Lunch was a sandwich made with whole wheat bread, two ounces sliced turkey, one slice muenster cheese and lettuce. I also added to my plate an ounce of whole wheat crackers and the other half of my breakfast banana.

We opted to go out to eat because a repairman at our house took a little longer than expected. Neither of us felt like cooking that late, so decided to have someone else do it instead. I opted for the salad bar, which as you can see, was loaded with all sorts of veggies. Besides the lettuce, I also chose grape tomatoes, peas, beets, sunflower seeds, chopped eggs; a bit of chopped bacon and my favorite dressing, half blue cheese and half French. I also had a slice of Italian bread.


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Breakfast: 1 ounce grains; 1/2 cup fruit; 1 ounce meat; 1 1/2 ounce oils; 1/2 cup dairy; 60 discretionary calories (sugar in tea and oats)