Sunday, June 19, 2011

Getting Our Hands Dirty

Sorry about the whiny tone in the last post--it's been hard to have this apartment-style living knowing the garden has been growing.

We had some business to attend to in Albuquerque this morning, so we headed down and I got to spend most of the day with my hands in the dirt. We harvested 5 giant purple-top turnips, 3 bull's blood beets and plenty of mustard greens and spinach that are really on their last legs. Our neighbor who's been minding the place enthusiastically took home most of the harvest. We also have a lot of quelites, or lamb's quarters, popping up around the lot. They'll be good when we get back this weekend.

We have a volunteer melon and two squashes of some kind. They sprouted out of the compost (unsifted, clearly) that I added to the beds. I'm curious what they will become. My money is on a canteloupe and a butternut squash. 

Beyond the volunteers, a few additional surprises greeted us on our little homestead. The first were the size and color of the peaches--they were far larger than I remembered  and their color is a deep red-orange. I guess that's why they are called Garnet peaches. They have really persevered through this hot, windy spring. A few more weeks and they'll be ready, I think.

The vetch was nearly 4 feet tall in places and the winter wheat is near harvest. I see some wheat-berry salads in our future....The vetch, while out of control, has provided great habitat for ladybugs, praying mantis, butterflies and honey bees.  So, while it's beautiful in its own right, the vetch is also providing other garden benefits.

The best surprise of the day, however, came from the apricot tree. Throughout the spring I watched as each young apricot fell from the tree, either due to late season cold temps or the spring winds. Imagine my shock when I spotted a perfectly lovely apricot hanging from the end of one of the topmost branches! It has been there all along, and I never noticed. It felt ripe enough, so down it came and made the swift trip into our bellies. While not the best apricot we've ever had--it was a tad dry and lacking in sweetness--it was delicious because we grew it. Maybe that's too self-congratulatory, especially when I didn't even know of its very existence, but there really is something special about eating fruit from your front yard.

The apples are well on their way, too and I will post some pictures when we're back on the homestead with a camera and its respective cable.

While it was lovely to bask in the garden's glory, it also involved plenty of weed-pulling. Lucky chickens now have plenty of greens. This one-day fix should last me through the week, so I promise not to whine anymore about missing the garden. It's only a few days away.

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