The beautiful summer 2013 garden line has arrived! See the magnificent detailing on the celery, observe the inventive silhouette of the burgeoning oregano plant! And we love that pop of color on the wild strawberries, so unexpected and restrained!
We have been watching a lot of old Project Runway seasons at our house, so forgive me if a bit of that vocabulary seeps into my garden descriptions. In any case, gardening continues to consume a lot of my time and produce abundances of food and joy for me this summer. I actually did get spring plants in this year. We enjoyed a lot of delicious spinach, and I learned to cook with radishes a little bit. My beets are still in progress, as are celery and fennel. All of these are experimental crops this year; I don't really know how to grow them, so I don't expect to reap an abundant harvest, just get an idea of their life cycle.
I did reap an abundant harvest of salad greens, though. The volunteer lettuce keeps coming back--this spring was its fifth reseeding; descendants of plants put in two springs ago keep coming up every spring and fall, and they are delicious. Onions, cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers are the star billing for this summer. It's a gazpacho themed garden: now I grow everything necessary for refreshing gazpacho, come mid-July!
On Sunday, I was out weeding near my basil plants; one of the tiny weedlings I pulled smelled suspiciously amazing. On closer inspection, I realized that the dead cinnamon basil plant tossed on top of a bed over the winter had seeded the area with adorable, aromatic, delicious offspring. Another garden miracle! Also, a half-dozen volunteer tomato plants populate one corner of the garden. I'll need to replant them or possibly donate some. But the miracles of nature really never cease to amaze me; the sacred yearnings of life to continue overpower winter, unfortunate mis-weeding, lawn mowers, bugs, and other pests.
A man for whom I feel great un-admiration (what is the opposite of "admire?" is it "disdain?" is it "despise"?) once defined a weed as "anything you didn't plant where it is." I think about that every time my beautiful volunteer plants present themselves to help feed me and J., to bring extra beauty to our garden, to exude vitality. Now, I struggle with weeding; who am I to determine which plants are worthwhile and which are not, which deserve sun and rain and reproduction and which must be uprooted? But nature is so fertile, and any agricultural attempt must involve some unnatural selection. Still, the side effects of not weeding can be tasty and beautiful at times.
Which brings me to my most exciting garden announcement: We have a MULBERRY TREE growing in our back yard now!!!!!! J. and I have maintained (or, well, not mowed down) about 20 square feet of "native grass preserve" by our compost pile, just to see what might grow there. Anyway, one tree I kept telling J. he should cut down before it got too big, and he ignored me...so I got out of the car and noticed BEAUTIFUL PURPLE BERRIES on the tree everywhere! I can make mulberry jam from my very own magical berry producer! Berries! In my yard! And nature provided them for me from munificence and plenty!
Mom had a mulberry tree on her family farm, and she took us out one day when I was little. I remember thinking it was the most magical thing on the planet, just to pull things off of trees and eat them, plump fresh berries all warmed up in the sun are almost syrupy in their sweetness.
Anyway, I'm going to start canning jam this afternoon. Summer is amazing. Gardening is amazing, a daily revelation of the plenteous and liberated vision God has for the world. Ta-ta for now.