I’ve been growing bulb fennel for years, but I’ve always had trouble with bolting. It can be a picky crop, there are lots of things it doesn’t like, root disruption, cold weather, hot weather, lean soil, etc. I finally decided to try a few hybrid varieties, this year I tried ‘Preludio’ from Johnny’s Seed and it’s FANTASTIC!
I have eight bulbs in the garden that will be ready to harvest in the next week or two and three more succession plantings of them for the summer and fall. I’m really looking forward to fennel salad with lemon and parmesan. Fennel is an expensive vegetable to buy, I’m always looking to grow what costs me the most at the store.
What plant/vegetable took a few tries for you to achieve success with?Filed under Around the Garden, Edible | Comment (0)
Garlic scapes are a wonderful vegetable this time of year. I love that they come just about the time broccoli and sugar peas come, which means stir fry around here! Scapes are so interesting the way they twist and turn, I find their shapes fascinating. I was especially amused to see this one shaped like a pretzel yesterday.
I should have the rest of the scapes harvested this coming week, some of them will end up the freezer because we just can’t eat them all when they’re in season. Luckily, they freeze well and will be just as tasty in the middle of winter.
Do you grow garlic? What’s your favorite way to eat the scapes?Filed under Around the Garden, Edible, garlic | Comments (4)
This year the wildlife tax has been really high for the strawberries. We have a large patch of berries, they are one of Mr Chiot’s favorite fruits. There are two, 70 foot long rows that are 3-4 four feed wide. Last year we froze around 40 quarts for winter. This year we lost the first flush of berries to waxwings. A flock of about 15-20 of them came in and gobbled up about 12 quarts of berries in one night.
We realized what was happening and covered the berries with row cover to protect them. The few nights later, the raccoons came in and ripped holes in the cover and ate the ripening strawberries. Thankfully we aren’t keeping pigs this year, so we have just enough electric fencing to surround the big garden.
After building Fort Knox around the strawberries, we were finally able to harvest a few quarts. We celebrated with shortcake for dinner that night and the next night as well. Generally we love to share our bounty with friends and neighbors, but there hasn’t been enough berries for that.
Overall we lost about 50% of our harvest this year to wildlife. Since there has been a drought this spring in Maine, the harvest was already reduced as well. Luckily we have a large patch and are still getting a few for the freezer and a few for eating. At least we have a large enough patch that we are still getting a few berries for the table. Next year I will definitely be covering the berries really early to protect them from the birds and the electric fence will most likely go up around the garden first thing in the spring.
What methods do you employ to protect plants from marauding wildlife?Filed under Around the Garden, Berries, Edible, Wildlife | Comments (3)
I’m a sucker for trying new varieties of all kinds of things, especially vegetables. I have six different kinds of strawberries in the garden and I just acquired a new one.
These ‘Old North Sea’ strawberries were said to have been found on an ancient ancient, viking village site in Denmark.
I thought this variety would be a nice addition to my collection of interesting strawberries. It should be interesting to see how it performs and reproduces in the garden. I’m looking forward to tasting one of the berries next summer.
Do you collect different varieties of the same plant?Filed under Around the Garden, Berries, Edible | Comments (2)
A few years ago I started growing broccolini and rapini and fell in love. I love that you can direct seed it very early in spring. I love that it reaches harvest very quickly. I love that it has a slightly bitter taste.
It’s different than broccoli, though the essense is the same, it has a much more complex flavor. I cook it very simply, blanching it first in a pot of salted water for 2-3 minutes. Then I sauté it in a skillet with garlic and olive oil. Like spinach, you’ll need more than you think for each serving.
This year I actually grew three different varieties, each one had unique characteristics (Sessantina Grossa, Spring Raab, and Happy Rich all from Johnny’s Seeds). Two had that bitter essence that you get with raab, the broccolini florets had no bitterness at all. I actually prefer the smaller leafier version with bitterness. I’m a bit fan of bitter notes when it comes to my food. I’ll continue growing these beauties to add more variety to our plates. They definitely fill that void when you want something other than salads as a vegetable and head broccoli isn’t even close to maturity.
What new vegetables have tried to grow recently?Filed under Around the Garden, Edible | Comments (2)