Thursday, June 24, 2021

Plantpalooza and Pieces of Me

A tiny spider guest adorns this flowering plant, Guess what plant it is!
Gardens and Goodness are abound this time of year!  Everywhere you look, there's plants growing and showing their summer spirit.  Bright greens, medium and dark, vines, brambles, stalks, bushes are all around.  Green is the color of the moment.  Splashes of reds, yellows, oranges, greens, plus speckles, even purples, shine, even on the overcast days.    I've been cultivating, pruning and nurturing my crops and projects, hoping for the best outcome possible.  
Plants big and small, short and tall have gone into beast mode, spilling out of rows, pots, raised beds and hanging vessels, proud 'produce parents' are sharing garden stories already, picking from the readily available deliciousness; a tomato here, some zucchini there, yellow squashes and green beans galore are being bartered and traded, some have made it to the farmer's markets.  I am ecstatic to see my 'veglings' ( (yep, I made that word up)  prosper, it incites a certain fulfilling magic that helps me tap into my inherent roots, though this is not my first rodeo.  
Year after year, I've expanded my repertoire with more diverse and interesting crops.  My Rainbow Chard is doing awesome this time around.  The Japanese Eggplant is growing well.  I planted some heirloom Black Eyed Peas, so far, so good.  The strawberries are doing better than they were before, I had to thin the Moss Baskets, which I show in an older post, their growth was stifled, and the moss, though still a bright gorgeous green, was hogging all the much needed water from the not sprawling vines, good idea, wrong approach.  I even planted some okra this year.  I have never liked okra.  I plan to harvest at it smallest viable size and hope I can see through my own taste buds, why it is so popular.  I did, however, find a good use for the okra pearls, or couscous, once they'd passed the desirable size.  I created a recipe that lowers okra waste since they are so fibrous after they reach more than 3 or 4 inches long, I removed the shell.    I blanched the pearls, then shocked them in cold water, drained and sauteed them in olive oil with a tad of bacon fat, then folded them with  green peas and roasted red peppers, with fresh sage from the garden.  The pearls actually taste like corn, so that part is pretty cool. By now, you may have guessed (unless you already knew) the photo above is baby cucumber, it's so frickin' cute.  Let's hope it stays that way, cute that is...
 Before I go, I wanted to show you what I did with an empty 50 lb. dog food bag.  I turned it inside out and filled it with some good and nutritious soil and planted my potato eyes in it, for ease of harvest when the time comes.  I am somewhat far removed from digging in the hills and rifling through hardened earth, to find the spoils of this multi faceted and wonderful tuber. My hip, back and foot pain inhibits my ability to perform certain tasks optimally at present, but soon  the hip will be replaced and for that I am grateful.  I fractured and dislocated it in  a motor vehicle accident, now it has to be replaced.  I also broke my arm in half just above the elbow, broke 17 of the 23 bones in my foot opposite my left hip, damaged my lower back from being partially ejected from the window before hitting the ground and the impact collapsed a lung.   I've since had reconstructive surgery with a hamstring graft on my right knee and Carpal Tunnel Release Surgery on my right hand, I've got pins, plates and screws on the inside.  All of this, just 19 days after we laid my big brother to rest, at the untimely age of 43 years, in the truck his wife gave to my Dad...Alas, I digress...Oh, I was 9 weeks pregnant at the time of the accident. On my way into emergency surgery, the doctors told me I would probably miscarry in the upcoming days, because of the trauma to my body.  Bronwyn will be 14 years old this August.  She's my baby girl. I believe in Guardian Angels, Prayers and Blessings from above. We are all very much like flowers in a garden, picked at the time to be determined, flowers indeed.
I am proud of this featured method below, because I am able to up cycle an otherwise discard-able item and  utilize it to the fullest.  This method is also great for gardens with limited space, recyclers, homesteaders,  senior gardeners or for those who just want to take an easier route. I have quite a few more ideas for using these bags to share with you in the near future, but this is one of the simplest.  Once the potatoes are ready, I can make an incision or flap in the lower part of the bag  and remove the potatoes with no problem and best of all, no digging!!  I will be posting a picture of the process, later on, down the road.
If you have some spuds that decided they wanted to see ( have 'eyes' on them haha) givem' a dirt nap and save some money on a popular produce item, you can thank me later!
My 'Potato Poncho', made from an empty 50 lb. dog food bag!

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