April 29 2010: In The Kitchen Garden

male kiwi 2.jpg

This is the male fuzzy kiwi I got this winter to pollinate the two female fuzzy kiwis that I got two years ago and planted in half wine barrels.  This wasn’t meant to be their permanent resting spot and this year I will be putting all three in the ground to climb over a metal arbor around one of my garden gates.  Hardy kiwis do more reliably well here in the Pacific Northwest but I couldn’t resist the attempt to grow the bigger more well known variety.  I had bought a male to go with the females and it died.  So I know there is risk for them.  I love the fuzzy growth on their stems- and in this male the coloring is really red!  Some people have cute new lambs and kids to get excited over, I have male kiwis.

red currant 2.jpgI also bought three red currants a couple of years ago that ended up living in pots until last month when I finally put the surviving two in the ground in my monastery garden.  That may not be their permanent spot but they needed a more substantial bit of soil to grow strong roots.  They are still very young plants but I saw that one of them flowered and now there are these very tiny berries hanging delicately the thin branch and my hope is that they will ripen so I can finally taste them.  I will need to get one more, of a different variety, to improve pollination, but it’s exciting to see progress in the garden even when it’s small.

red rome apple blossom 2.jpgLast summer we managed to dig up a few of our good plants from our old house.  This was not my favorite apple tree but it was the one in the best condition.  It’s a Red Rome apple.  It already produces quite a few apples on its small form.  We’ll be getting another tree to ensure pollination.  There are apple trees fairly nearby but when one is planning a food producing garden it’s important to make sure that you have all the pollinators available on your own property because you never know when neighbors will cut down their own trees. 

white lilac 2.jpg
A lilac has a place in the kitchen garden just as all flowers do that attract beneficial insects.  I wouldn’t have chosen to plant a white one myself, but this one was already here and now I’ve come to enjoy its delicate coloring.

I’ve been clearing out my raised beds full of quack grass.  This is no easy feat as I have let them really settle in.  The first bed I worked on broke my shovel.  Literally.  My great lesson this year is to never let the quack grass completely take over any of my raised beds.  It’s almost time to plant out the summer vegetables like summer squash, tomatoes, corn (I don’t grow any but many do), cucumbers, and all the other vegetables that need the soil to be warm before transplanting. 

The lettuce I planted is coming up but not nearly as much as I planted, so that’s disappointing.  My peas and favas are up and climbing and looking really robust!  I look forward to growing and eating peas and favas every year.  I’m already planning the dishes I will make with them such as pasta with favas and peas and my constant favorite: grilled polenta and fava rounds which I usually serve with a marinara sauce and other grilled vegetables.

I’d love to know what’s going on in your gardens too!