It’s been a tough summer for the farmers of Columbia County NY. An unusually cool July and record rain ruined the strawberry crop completely and gave a very late start to the cucumbers and tomatoes. Home gardeners and farmers alike don’t remember ever having so much rain. It’s raining hard as I write this blog…
When the rain stops, the bugs are legion. Summer renters like me sometimes wish we had tails to swat off the flies and mosquitoes that follow us everywhere and make relaxing on the deck an exercise in keeping the citronella candles lit.
Despite all of the difficulty, there is some beautiful produce to be enjoyed. On my deck, I’ve grown radicchio, kale, a variety of lettuces, cherry tomatoes, and lots of herbs–all in containers. I recently planted some brussels sprouts and have tucked red cabbage seedlings here and there into my large flower containers where they add a alluring splotch of deep purple.
It’s great fun to run out to the deck every morning as soon as I wake up to see how everything is doing. I know I have to harvest the lettuces before they languish in the heat, but so far I haven’t been able to get myself to harvest the outer leaves in the “cut and come again” pattern recommended in the garden books.
Forget harvesting: I just love watching everything grow. But a few days ago, I took a deep breath and snipped the outer leaves of the kale plants. The sweetie braised the coarsely chopped leaves with a little bit of fried sausage and some Peruvian purple potatoes we had roasted the day before. Very pretty and tasty too. My first experience of eating my own home-grown produce, aside from herbs which I always grow in my Manhattan window boxes. More to come!