Tuesday, August 29, 2017

End of Summer and the Picking is Easy

It's hard to believe summer is almost over! Today is August 29th, and still very warm outside. I had to wait for the garden to be cloaked in late afternoon shade before heading out to water. While outside tonight until 7:30pm, the breeze was so warm it felt like July, what a treat!! That warm breeze also kept the mosquitoes from taking flight so I had a glorious time in the garden... picking, watering and feeding on fresh, warm strawberries.

Seascape strawberries ~  huge, flavorful and juicy
The second crop of Seascape strawberries are magnificent this year... huge, flavorful and juicy. We are very lucky to still have an excellent, abundant supply of high quality, potable water at this time of year. Many farmers and gardeners have suffered in this long, dry spell. Some are experiencing very low water supply and the need to make a choice on where that water is rationed. Livestock and animals are taking precedence over their gardens. It is sad to let the veggies go. As for flowers, well, as I always say... "if I can't eat it, I can't be bothered growing it!"
Big, beautiful berries!!
As the weeks pass by, I'm picking larger bowls of strawberries every 2-3 days. However, I've also noticed more berries are being damaged by a possible rodent in my garden. It's pretty hard to keep all of nature out in organic gardening, so we'll just have to share. The June crop is always ravaged by the robins and their young, along with slugs, wood bugs and other assorted pests. In August, the picking is easy and although a different clientele of pests, we get a descent sized bowl full. These days, more than what we can eat fresh, so a few actually make it to the freezer for winter smoothies.

Corentine cucumbers
The Corentine cucumbers are still producing well. The 12 plants are picked  every 2-3 days to keep the size about finger length. Today's harvest will be packed in a 2-quart jar with dill weed, garlic, pickling spice and a salt brine then topped with my 'E~Z Pickler' fermenting lid. After five days, of fermenting at 21 degrees Celsius, they will be ready for the fridge. 

I leave a few cucumbers on the vine to grow large enough for salad and slicing... or to scoop up hummus or salmon salad. Near the end of their season, I leave more cukes grow larger for one of my family's favorite pickles. They make great 'Aunt Stella's Pickles in a Pail', from my cookbook 'For the Love of Food' page 227.

With September and Back to School just days away, who knows how much longer these balmy days and nights will continue. We are due for rain ...and desperately need it... but for now I'm enjoying this lovely weather and easy, plentiful picking from the garden!

Till next time... Enjoy a safe, long weekend... Happy Gardening and Bon App├ętit!

www.gourmetbysallyrae.com
Photos by Sally Rae

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