No doubt taking a rest from the heat, the dry dry wind and the longest day of the year! We’re having to fill bird baths, frog watering dishes, the bee-beach*, and other watering holes daily. So many birds, butterflies and creatures need water bad about now around here as we’ve had no rain here at Larrapin for a long while.
Be sure to keep your waterers full and fresh and make sure some are on the ground for frogs like this one and those cute toads that are your garden’s friends. For ideas and tips on watering, here’s a previous post on easy ways to water: http://ozarksalive.org/larrapin/?p=910
—A Larrapin Garden www.larrapin.us
*will explain the “bee beach” soon… Posts most wednesdays & weekends. Don’t miss any—you can subscribe by Email here. You can also get bonus links and recipes by “liking” our Facebook fan page atwww.facebook.com/larrapin.garden. We’re even on Twitter athttp://twitter.com/LarrapinGarden. Thanks for stopping by—leave a comment and share what’s at your water source this week!
It happens regularly, I drift away from blogging about the garden because I’m OUT in the garden all the time I’m not working! (Note: gardening, even chain-gang style busting up rocks to plant trees around here never counts as “work” to me. Family and friends have gently let me know this feeling is not universally shared…)
OK, so I’m not really in the garden “all” the time because it’s so hot mid-day to mid-afternoon that there’s a long retreat time that would be perfect for blogging…but ahhh, what can compete with a summer nap? Not much.
Meanwhile the onions are in. And I must say, an onion harvest like the one above, makes me feel RICH.
It took me a long time to figure out that onion love rich soil and never being too dry or too wet. They look tougher than that to me so for years, my onions were pretty small. But get the soil and the watering down and onions really plump up well.
While “too wet” was the theme of May, the raised bed must have saved them because they look pretty good. The pics above are from June 5th. I planted these quite early — the last of Feb I think — in a heavily mulched bed because I had to plant *something* or go winter crazy! Turns out they seem to like that and I’ll try it again next year.
I let them cure in the sun for a day since rain was expected the next. Normally you would let them cure a few days in the sun, with the green tops somewhat over the bulbs to protect them from sunburn. I had to hurry, so after their day in the sun, they were moved to a dry & shady open porch to finish curing. Still, because of all that rain in May, I wouldn’t expect these guys to keep as long as usual, so we’ll be using LOTS of onions this summer and fall. If they don’t store well, I will chop them and freeze in typical recipe portions to be easily grabbed when needed for any cooked dish or soup.
—A Larrapin Garden www.larrapin.us
Posts most wednesdays & weekends —except during garden season and then I just don’t know! But you can subscribe by Email here. You can also get bonus links and recipes by “liking” our Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/larrapin.garden. Geesh, we’re even on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LarrapinGarden. If you have good onion growing tips, please leave a comment and tell me about it!
If I’m lucky, this little bloom will grow into a delicious cantaloupe! I didn’t get it planted till late, but probably in time to still get plenty of melons if the raccoons don’t get them first. (The chew a nice hole in the rind then scoop out all the good stuff with those little clever paws…)
What I’ve always called a cantaloupe is actually a muskmelon, while true cantaloupes have a thick, warty skin and are more favored in Europe it seems. But muskmelon sounds strange after a lifetime of cantaloupe…so cantaloupe it is.
Like most melons though, this bloom will need about eight visits from a bee if indeed it is to become a melon. I’ve noticed the bumblebees LOVE the blooms and roll around inside getting completely covered in pollen. Go bees go!
So this pic proves the bees did their work — another good reason to have flowers in the veggie garden is it entices the bees to stay close. Here you see a baby muskmelon/cantaloupe in progress. This pic was several days ago and it’s about twice that size now.
As usual, the vine is taking over an entire garden bed and now spreading out in the rows. One trick with raised beds is to plant it toward the end or edge of the bed, then run the vine out into the lawn to sprawl. You’ll need to put down mulch or landscape cloth under it or the grass underneath will get huge by the time the melons are ready. I’ve read about dwarf or bush vines, but haven’t tried them yet.
I’ve found this is a good way to kill the grass where I want to put a future garden bed – grow melons next door and use the spot as the vine-runner space over a newspaper+mulch or landscape-fabric covered area. By the end of the season, the grass/weeds underneath are dead and it’s ready to be worked into a bed once you remove the covering! I tried a tarp once but, ooops, they don’t drain water and I had to put my cantaloupes on little life rafts after big rains…
Thanks for stopping by Larrapin – where we’ve had another whole day of soft rain and everything is SO happy about that!Read More
Lemon Verbena has a heavenly scent so strong and amazing it is hard to believe it’s real. Like basil, it seems to have a human-catnip effect on me. The plant I bought this year is growing wonderfully, so what to do with all those lemon scented leaves? The answer was to be found as close as the nearest French food blog, Chocolate & Zucchini, where I found a recipe for Lemon Verbena Sorbet. I read it and swooned. Oh yes, I have to make this.
But I had no ice-cream maker. Hmmm. I couldn’t really see myself doing it without it, even though the French blog says that’s no problem and to just ‘put the mixture in the freezer first thing in the morning, then stir every hour, and it will be ready for dinner.’ Luckily our friends who were coming to dinner were willing to bring along this wonderful little Krups ice-cream maker shown below. The bottom bowl, where the ingredients go, is kept frozen until you are ready to use it, then the mixture is ready in only about 30 minutes. It’s now officially on my wish list!
Then I got a little confused with what exactly the French mean by the ‘soft kind’ of sugar, not granulated. And I knew for sure I could not locate a rare Italian vodka mentioned in the recipe by dinner time. Hmmm. Since I’ve only taken up cooking in my middle ages, maybe the French blogs are a high bar for me. So a little more searching and I found a simple recipe from The Splendid Table:
Lemon Verbena Sorbet
Nothing but vibrant and refreshing it’s lemon heaven.
Makes 1 quart, 8 servings
- 1 cup (gently packed) fresh lemon verbena leaves
- 1 cup superfine sugar
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 cups cold water
Grind the lemon verbena leaves and sugar together in a food processor until the mixture turns into a bright green paste, about 30 seconds; stop to scrape down the sides as necessary. Add the lemon juice and process for 15 seconds longer, then add the water. Strain the resulting liquid through a fine sieve to remove any bits of leaf. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.
The sugar + leaves combo in the food processor was pretty amazing green. I didn’t have any superfine sugar, so I made sure the sugar was well dissolved in the water when the time came. The little strainer below worked both to get the seeds out of the lemon juice as well as to get the leaves out of the herb mixture.
The results were divine. WHAT a flavor!! And what a lively color. I took the French advice to serve with ginger cookies and that was perfect, of course. Those French folks know their flavors! This is going to be one of those treats that comes to symbolize true summer — like the first perfect watermelon. We were all so anxious to try the results I took it out of the ice-cream freezer when it was still a little soft. The leftovers in the freezer firmed up just right…but they never made it past midnight…. Thanks for stopping by Larrapin Garden on a foodie night!