|Getting a head start!|
|Desert King Fig|
My 'Desert King Fig' tree is still small (about 6 feet tall) and I'm always looking for tricks to increase its production. Last year, one of our local master gardeners told me to pinch the buds off (some of) the branch tips in the Spring. I was happy with the results so have done it again this year with some branches. Instead of producing a leaf and 1-2 figs, the pinched tip puts energy into 3-5 figs as shown in this photo. It seems to give a head start to the fruit and the leaves come out later.
The 'Seascape' strawberries are having a difficult start this year. I am still struggling with millipedes in the soil and it seems they are now possibly affecting the roots of the plants. I will assess this problem again in the fall. The June crop of this everbearing variety is always disappointing for me, and a battle with bugs and birds. I must keep reminding myself that the second crop in August will produce huge, sweet berries until frost.
|Red Russian Kale|
The winter bed of 'Red Russian Kale' has started to flower and will be allowed to go to seed. Some of the seed is saved for sharing or allowed to self start for this winter's crop. Small, tender leaves are still very sweet and a pleasure to snack on in the garden or brought in for salads. Our recent out of town guests were surprised that the fresh picked, overwintered kale was tender, sweet and had so much flavor... nothing like the stuff they buy in stores!
The garlic bed, planted last fall, is looking great so far! The straw mulch was pulled back in February so the new shoots could emerge and grow straight. A few weeks ago a sprinkling of blood meal was put down between each plant to encourage large bulbs.
'Rhubarb'... although a vegetable, is the first spring plant to produce anything that can be made to taste like fruit. Like lovage, it is easy to grow. Every spring without fail neon pink nubs emerge, transforming into thick, celery-like stalks topped with leaves the size of umbrellas. The stalks are edible, but do not eat the leaves, as they are poisonous. Even as the plant is picked, it will continue to flourish. In the next few days these beautiful stalks will be transformed into my favorite dessert 'Sour Cream Rhubarb Crumb Pie'. For that recipe and more, visit the chapter 'Rhubarb Reigns' on page 111 in 'For the Love of Food'.
It has been a busy few weeks, spring is in full swing on Denman Island. Time to work outside and get dirt under those fingernails!
Till next time... Happy Gardening and Bon Appétit!
Photos by Sally Rae