What a pleasant surprise to have a nice, steady rain last Saturday night. I woke up Sunday morning feeling like all was right with the world. I didn’t have to haul one hose, fight with one sprinkler, or feel discouraged seeing my poor plants gasping for water.
I pulled up the rest of the peas. There was so much wild morning glory entwined in them that they were barely recognizable.
I did discover a row of Brandywine tomatoes planted on the other side of the trellis. I had forgotten that I put them there to be supported after the peas had passed. Wow! They were so weedy that the weeds had acted like supports. Now they are about five feet tall with just a couple of leaves. They cannot stand alone. They remind me of those poor women in Thailand with the neck rings. Supposedly, they would be unable to hold up their heads if the rings were removed. Cultural ideas of beauty seem pretty hard on our bodies, to wit: high-heeled shoes?
I pulled up one potato plant. It looked terrible — the Colorado potato beetle had had its way with it. Wonder of wonders, I discovered 22 perfect tennis ball-sized red Norland spuds. I promptly scrubbed them with a cloth and boiled them in their skins. My mother always called the skins “jackets.”
I tossed them with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and chilled them overnight. I added my first stove-top batch of dilly beans this season.
I’ve told you the recipe many times — why change now?
Boil one cup apple cider vinegar, three cups water, two tablespoons kosher salt, several cloves of garlic, a bunch of dill heads and snapped green beans.
I served the bean and potato mixture cold over my first shredded head of red cabbage.
It was a big hit with my son and grandchildren.
I grew the potatoes by placing the cut seed potato on top of the ground and covering with a couple flakes of hay. Because they aren’t “planted,” they are clean and very easy to pick.
I think growing up, we ate potatoes most every night. My dad filled his plate with them, added at least a half-stick of butter, black pepper and salt. He could fit into his World War II Navy uniform up until the day he died at 89!
Besides weeding, deadheading and dead leafing of day lilies, time could be well-spent planting fall vegetables.
Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t done it, but am thinking I should. Beets, carrots, lettuce, kale and radishes could get into the ground in the next few weeks. Even cucumbers, bush beans and zucchini could still make it. They only take a couple months, and we do have those beautiful October days ahead of us.
There is a well-kept garden on the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road. It has a white metal bed frame as a flower “bed” in the front. There is a beautiful stand of old-fashioned captain’s lilies right along the house. I do not know their proper name, but was told they came from China with the whaling captains in the mid-19th century. They form little black bulbs all along the stem, which can be planted by the human hand, or Mother Nature to grow more.
I have two tiny artichokes, I seeded them this winter in the greenhouse. After they sprouted I put them outside to freeze so they could be tricked into thinking they were in their second season. I’m astonished that it worked. I am keeping an eye on them as I know they are prone to flowering pretty quickly — not that I would mind. They have a fabulous purple thistle-like flower.
I’ve always been a big fan of conserving water. I shut off the faucet when brushing teeth, take really short showers, draw off water into a watering can while waiting for it to get hot, check for leaky faucets and hose fittings, and never let it run while doing the dishes.
Gov. Jerry Brown asked California residents in January to voluntarily conserve water because of the serious drought. People failed to heed his pleas, so last week a law was passed unanimously in the state legislature to fine folks $500 a day for infractions such as watering pavement, washing cars with no automatic shut-off on the hose and using fresh water in fountains. People, let’s all become more mindful of our fragile planet and its resources.