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midsummer garden

I started seedlings later this year than last. Despite the later start, they seem to have caught up and are all doing well so far:

Super Sugar Snap peas

Graffiti Purple cauliflower

Mammoth Red Rock cabbage

Chiogga beets

Black Forest kabocha squash

Cayenne peppers

Gold Star summer squash

Flash collard greens

Rocambole garlics – Siberian Purple Stripe, Montana Giant, Russian Red

Toma Verde tomatillos

Waltham 29 broccoli

Romaine lettuce

Nasturtium, chilies (Hatch, chocolate & orange habanero, Traveler Jalapeno, Christmas Tree), tomatoes (Cherokee Purple, Climstar, Frederik, Kakao, Purple Bumblebee, Black Cherry) are also doing well so far. Dark Star Watermelon and Early Black and Black Beauty Eggplant starts didn’t make it in the main garden — both got eaten by pests soon after planting. The eggplants are doing well in containers, though. Royal Snow Peas are small, but coming along. Chard, carrots, spinach and other plants I direct-seeded are just starting to sprout. Looking forward to the first of fresh summer produce in the next couple weeks….

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outgrowing the nest

Baby robins are getting ready to fledge soon. They barely fit in the nest…

June 13th update:

And then there was one…saw #3 fly from the nest this morning. They grow so fast!

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green cherries

The first of the fruit trees I planted last spring have fruit — check out the green cherries…

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baby robins – eyes open

The first of the hatchlings’ eyes have opened…

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the view…

…never gets old.

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hatchlings!

The last of the robin eggs have hatched!

They should be out of the nest within a couple weeks (and I’ll thankfully get my ladder back)…

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first elk sighting

First time I’ve seen an elk so close to the house…

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pea shoot soup

Pea shoots taste like the essence of fresh peas in the pod you get later in the summer. Raw, they’re perfect on their own or in sandwiches and salads. Cooked, they marry that fresh pea flavor to a dish. One of my favorite ways to use them cooked is in cream of cauliflower pea shoot soup:

Cream of Cauliflower Pea Shoot Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium leek, sliced into rings
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 head fresh cauliflower, chopped into large pieces
  • 4 cups stock (vegetable, chicken, or beef – whichever taste you prefer)
  • 4 cups fresh pea shoots
  • Couple dashes garlic powder

Directions:

  • In a stock pot, melt the butter and add the sliced leeks
  • Sautee the leeks until just soft, add the wine
  • Heat for a few minutes to vaporize the alcohol
  • Add the cauliflower and stock
  • Simmer until the cauliflower is soft
  • Add the fresh pea shoots, stir into the mix
  • Cover for 3-5 minutes and simmer until the pea shoots are bright green
  • Add the garlic powder
  • Puree the soup with an immersion blender stick or run through a countertop blender or food processor in batches until smooth
  • Add salt and pepper to taste

The pea shoots turn the soup a vibrant green — a beautiful complement to any dinner.

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bumblebee?

Yesterday afternoon about a half dozen or so of these large, fluffy, yellow and black flying insects with clear wings were feeding on the lilacs. First thought it might be a bumblebee queen, but it didn’t make sense that there would be so many in one place.

I asked some fellow beekeepers. Turns out it’s not a bee, but a moth — Hemaris difinis to be exact. Some call it the “flying lobster” due to its flat, splayed tail. It’s also known as a “hummingbird moth” (pic below from erie.wbu.com). Unlike other moths, these lose the scales on their wings that give other moths their wing color so the wings appear mostly clear — like a bee’s.

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2017 garden started

Forecast is for a warm and mostly sunny week, so moved some of the more hardy plant starts outside. Started these summer squash seeds a month ago.

Mammoth Red cabbage got started mid-March.

Also planted Waltham 29 broccoli, Chioggia beets, Kabocha winter squash, Graffiti Purple cauliflower, tomatillos, and sugar snap pea starts. I’ll direct seed carrots, lettuce varieties, Swiss chard, spinach, and sunflowers later today.

It’s still a little risky here in the northwest to plant chili and tomato starts outside — that will be a mid-June project. The garden looks so empty this early in the season. It’ll be a jungle by July, though, assuming all grows well.

Garlic planted last fall is looking good!

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