The path in the garden between two Navel Orange trees is a covered in a confetti of orange blossom petals, and the heady fragrance surrounds us when we walk to the deck
Today I will pull my home corning beef out of the refrigerator where it has been brining for 2 weeks and toss it, potatoes and carrots into the big crock pot and cook up dinner for this evening.
This year I am going to cook the cabbage separately, sauteing it on the stove to keep a little crunch in it, before adding to the corned beef dinner serving bowl. I've posted about home corning beef before - here is a link to one post. If you want to try this you need to five yourself 10-14 days (I like 2 weeks) for the beef to brine.
Back to the garden . . .
For Christmas a dear friend sent me a live Dwarf Alberta Spruce Tree in a pot. For years I have been saying I want to try growing a Christmas Tree (I was thinking Fir) for the wonderful fragrance. Well now I have an opportunity. I chose a spot in our gardens which has shade a good portion of the day, After enjoying for the holidays, we planted it on January 2, 2017. And now about 2.5 months later it has new growth!! So pleased at this point. The real test it going to be the intense summer heat. We shall see.
The key to cooking with the tips of evergreen trees is to harvest them when they first begin to emerge from their brown papery casings. At this stage, spruce tips are very tender and have a fresh flavor that tastes lightly of resin with hints of citrus. http://www.laurieconstantino.com/how-to-harvest-spruce-tips-with-recipes-for-using-spruce-tips-or-pine-tips-or-fir-tips/
I may try a couple of the tips to experiment with, but since I am hoping the tree does well here, I don't want to take too much of the new growth, it is going to be the parts that will hopefully adapt to my gardens. I picked a few this morning to try with the cabbage for today's dinner.
The Bradford is an incredible heirloom with flavor so sweet it goes all the way to the rind. The skin is so tender it was too fragile to ship and the watermelon was "lost" until a food writer searching for it was contacted by descendants of the original grower.
The two tomato types are a cherry a yellow pear (I think - I did not mark which ones :-)
(Allium ampeloprasum var. ampeloprasum) while a member of the onion family is actually related to the Leek (think leek on steroids and a Leek is a Scallion on steroids :-) Anyway the Elephant Garlic which produces a huge head of cloves is actually milder than the true Garlic (Allium Sativum). I am growing both, but the Elephant is producing scapes first.
While checking the garden this morning and taking pictures, I stepped over to the Pink Grapefruit tree area. If the Navel Oranges decorated the path under them with flower petals, the grapefruit decided to drop most of its old leaves!
This is great because I need leaf litter/mulch to top my potato bed (to keep the growing tubers in the dark).
And I now have 3 sets of Banana Bunches!!!!!
I am thrilled as all of these are ripening at the right time for maximum flavor and harvesting. It will be 1-4 months before they begin to turn yellow. (From flower to ripe is usually about 4 months.) This is the Ice Cream Banana variety Musa acuminata × balbisiana (ABB Group) 'Blue Java'. The ice cream reference is to the creamy consistency of the fruit and the mild vanilla flavor (yes to both although not everyone tastes the vanilla).
I've grown the plants for many years and we have enjoyed the fruit in limited amounts mostly because the ripening began going into the cold fall and winter.
The first bunch flowered sometime in December and we spotted the fruit in early January, The second one flowered in February and the most recent one early March sometime.
Needlesstosay I need to figure out how to enjoy all the fruit as it ripens. Besides fresh I may have to make homemade real banana pudding!
I hope you enjoy a glimpse of my gardens and that it inspires you on your own edible garden journey.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
-- Catherine, The Herb Lady
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