Pileated woodpeckers start deep holes in the logs of the cabin. The woodpeckers soon learn the wood is too hard and they’ll never peck a hole deep enough to accommodate their size. The red-breasted nuthatches are content to claim squatter’s rights. Nothing goes to waste here in the forest garden.
garlic harvest day
Garlic fresh from the garden…now for the month-long cure. Fresh garlic is mild compared with its cured version, and tasty in its own right. Curing the garlic by hanging with stems and roots attached in a cool, dry space concentrates and intensifies its flavor. The cured garlic can be kept for many months, and cloves from the best heads can be planted in the fall for harvest the following summer.
Letting some of the romaine that did well go to seed this year. Will save the seeds and try replanting them next season. I saved seeds from broccoli, tomatoes, and chilies last year. Most of the saved broccoli seeds successfully germinated this year. Only a couple of the saved tomato and chili seeds germinated, so will have to try those again this year. The goal is to develop hearty local varieties by saving seeds from my best producers year after year.
missing the bees
Seeing first-hand the difference in the garden between having honeybees and not. My hives didn’t make it through the winter, and the backup plan to capture a swarm didn’t work out this spring. Last year with honeybees on site, virtually all of my vegetables got pollinated and yields were high. This year I’m seeing about a third of my vegetables withering on the vine unfertilized. I did get a number of visiting honeybees while the cover crop of crimson clover was in bloom. During that time, the garden was looking full of healthy veggies. This winter I’ll order new local bees for the spring. In addition to being cool little
First year I’ve planted eggplants. Flowers are stunning!
rainbow garden harvest
Purple cauliflower, carrots, summer squash, broccoli, and garlic. Making a rainbow for dinner….
fruit in the new orchard
These Starkrimson cherries are almost ready. Can’t wait to try them! Many people don’t know northwestern Montana grows some of the best cherries in the world, with dozens of successful orchards surrounding Flathead Lake. I picked most of the green cherries off the trees I planted last spring. According to the nursery where I got them, the second year the tree should be putting most of its energy into building a strong root system and filling out rather than producing fruit. Figured it wouldn’t hurt to leave a couple of clusters, though.
When rocambole or other hardneck garlic varieties start the flowering process, they shoot up a central stalk with a bud. If you want a good-sized bulb of garlic to form rather than the energy of the plant going into producing a flower, you need to harvest that stalk once it starts to curl around. The harvested part is called a “scape,” and it’s delicious. The scape has a mild green garlic flavor, and is great chopped fresh in salads, sauteed in butter, tossed into pasta and stir-fries. Some people like the buds fried in tempura batter like a squash blossom. You can also pickle the scapes if you’d like to
Explosion of colors in the garden and surrounding forest right now… Crimson clover planted as a cover crop has temporarily taken over the garden Nasturtium reseeded itself, blossoms are smelling sweet Lupine is carpeting the forest floor Daisies are coming up around the deck Borage is blooming prolifically along with Thai basil Yarrow is coming up here and there Scottish bluebells, too Wild roses are on their way out and the dandelions have already gone…