Sunday, September 13, 2009

MixedPlate: Garden Party of One

The Puget Sound was blessed with a comfortably warm weekend, which only serves to apply pressure for me to get out into the garden and take care of some periodic upkeep. But it didn't preclude me from taking a break and falling into the arms of a lazy Sunday beer, care of the fine folks at New Belgium Brewing of Fort Collins, Colorado.

The only Skinny Dip you won't regret, and one you can enjoy in front of others. - Photo by Wasabi Prime

We're in that in-between phase of gardening, where some things are starting to peter-out, while others are going for their final fall harvest push. Most of the things we planted were spring/summer morsels like spinach, green onions, and a small empire of sugar and snow peas. The greens have started to go to seed or just die back altogether, so I just went ahead and ripped those out now, much to the chagrin of several spiders living amongst the nexus of foliage. They made sure their grievances were heard loud and clear, from the number of red welts on my arms. That's where the beer comes into play. Medicinal purposes only, kids.

Some of the last hurrah of our vegetable garden are carrots and most notably, several yellow table squash plants. I had thought the seeds were too old, so I planted them all, but they all managed to sprout and I did not thin them back. They're overcrowded, so despite the number of plants, I think our harvest will be pitifully small. As of right now, there's just a few of the bulbous, somewhat naughty-shaped squash growing successfully. An inner-monologue with myself brought up that scene from the movie, Forrest Gump, where Tom Hanks' title character hauls in his first catch while attempting his hand at being a shrimp fisherman. Among the garbage and flotsam, he manages to catch maybe four or five little mudbugs. Another fisherman observes, "A couple more and you can have yourself a cocktail." Judging from the bounty of squash we have growing, I think I might be able to make a salad. For two, if we're lucky.

One is the loneliest number that you'll ever eat - Photo by Wasabi Prime

But all is not lost in Le Jardin du Wasabi. Herbs have always been a hearty, successful thing to grow. The rosemary plant we received as an Easter gift is turning into more of a bush, so we've been able to snip sprigs without fear of over-pruning. The strawberry pot that's been the home of a lemon thyme plant and several tufts of chives continues to thrive after several years of rough winters. The flat-leaf parsley has already gone to seed, but I was able to get plenty of fresh sprigs from spring through summer, and it will die back, but not out, so I anticipate a return next season. The Italian basil has already gone the way of pesto, so it's been clipped down, but lives on in a tasty sauce.

LL Cool Sage. Don't call it a comeback! I been here for years! - Photo by Wasabi Prime

We still have a sage plant that's getting its second wind after the summer's heat -- perfect for fall dishes. There's also a mint plant that's always been a strong contender, plus its pernicious cousin, a lemon balm bush that continues its ongoing threat to engulf the house, since I was stupid not to start it in a planter. I'm particularly pulling for a couple of chili pepper plants in the back corner. I've never had great luck with peppers in general, but I thought, maybe if I get something small, it will grow faster and I'll be able to get something out of it before the growing season is done. We'll see how that logic pans out, as the wee bitty peppers on the plants are looking, well... rather wee. So keep an eye out in future posts to see if any of these home-grown ingredients make it to the dinner table.

The edible garden of delights. Photos by Wasabi Prime

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  1. Thanks for taking us on a tour of your garden! Those sage leaves look wonderful- I bet they would be perfect all crispy fried in brown butter and sprinkled on top of some butternut squash soup...mouth watering. AND New Belgium is one of our favorite breweries! Brad grew up in CO and every time we visit Denver we make a trip to Ft. Collins to tour the brewery and sample the beers. They are great! Hope your arm is getting better from those nasty spiders!

  2. Wow, that is a beautiful garden. Times like this I sort of wish I didn't live in a condo. ;)


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