Harvest Report

We haven’t actually had much in the way of summer weather. It looks like spring is going to morph right into fall, with only the length of day to cause anything to grow. Well, plus all the rain. It has rained pretty much every night and quite a few days, too.

It’s a pattern that has favored smaller fruit and vegetables. You can see that the San Marzanos are doing great, as are the cherry tomatoes and this smaller variety that I hope sticks around. The big guys are a sick yellow, still, and splitting from all the water. I put a reflective mat under the vines, to encourage early growth. I think the bees were drawn to the warmth as well, because the germination rate was huge. The neighbors hardly have tomatoes at all. Heh heh heh.

This butternut squash is actually bigger than it looks, close to being as big as Jacques’ head. I have two or three that size, thanks to all the rain. I guess I can roast and freeze it.

I won’t be showing you an overall shot of the potager. The potato leaves are yellowing and the weeds are everywhere. Julien and I weed enough that he takes a truckload of green waste in every couple of weeks and still, it’s bad. So, a bumper crop of dandelions for all you winemakers out there. My liitle kitchen garden looks pretty ratty, but it’s producing like crazy. I’ll keep it going until the Brussels sprouts are finished.

You also won’t see the berries because I keep eating them. Content yourself with my first tiny crop of grapes. I had to look a while to find a bunch that hadn’t been taste-tested into oblivion. They really are excellent, seedless and better tasting than the ones I buy at the market. These are trained against a wall across from the terrace. Looking at them, you might almost imagine that it’s warm outside.

The peaches are small, but getting there. And this apple tree is almost doing too well. I’d like to start picking them, but I don’t know when a Reine de Reinette is ripe. Maybe that one at the upper left?

Last one, I promise. Rose hips. Julien stuck some rugosa rose cuttings into the ground intending to transplant them. Then he didn’t. Apparently the spread by their roots because they are taking over, and fast. They, along with the sumac and raspberry roots, are likely Julien’s full-employment program. I guess the rose hips are for me.

It’s tea time. See you!

Jacques Report

Yes, Jacques has been digging. It’s okay: the mice have found the kitchen garden. This is war!

In general the garden is doing pretty well. We are eating all the tomatoes we can stand and reducing the rest to sauce, which we are freezing for winter.
Sometimes things grow where I wish they wouldn’t. You see morning glories burying my nonblooming jasmine. I hope when it clears out I will find the anemones I planted this spring.
To get back to my little wild man, I was prowling the potager, wishing Julien had taken maybe twice as many tomatoes home with him when, underneath the plastic sheeting, I could hear the pitter patter of little feet. I had noticed that something was actually eating a tomato — not a bird or a worm or snail, no, actually eating it. And now here, on the opposite side of the garden, was an actual culprit. No no no: I’ll share, but this was getting out of control. I had no choice but to say the magic words: “Jacques, come here!”

Now, Jacques comes when he figures there is something in it for him. The rest of the time, forget it. Maybe he heard the scratching too. He was there in a flash, pouncing on the little moving bump. Yes!, though I think the bump got away. Since then Jacques has been on permanent mouse patrol. He actually goes through the plants, nudging leaves aside so he can sniff and peer through the foliage.

Sometimes he digs. Yesterday I decided to harvest some potatoes. The tomatoes and squash are fighting for space and the potatoes were looking a little peaked anyway, so why not pull them out. It turns out those little shit rodents were eating the potatoes, too, but only from one plant. Go figure. So of the half dozen plants I pulled out, with a little canine assistance, only that one hole held any real interest for him. I’d pull up a plant, he’d sniff, then look at me. “So why are we here?” Then he’d return to this spot, where he spent a good hour, pretty much the way you see him.

I think he wore himself out. He’s been pretty sedentary for the last 12 hours or so. But I’ll head back out there this afternoon, it being tomato time. I’m sure he’ll be right there with me.