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Archive for February, 2009

Apricot Blossoms

apricot-blossom

The apricot blossoms signal that spring has sprung once again!  Here it is, late February and the wisteria is blooming and the apricot tree is covered with flowers.  I have been noticing lots of bees, and I hope this means a good majority of those blossoms will set fruit this year.  We are a long way from having fruit to cook with…but generally if it’s growing in my yard, there is a farmer out there who will be bringing the first crop of the season to market very soon.  As our tree has yet to provide us with more apricots than the kids can eat standing right there in front of it, I do not have much of an apricot repertoire.  I feel a little Martha when I describe the apricot appetizer my daughter Kiely created for her 6th birthday party.  Apricot Halves with a dollop of minted cream cheese and a drizzle of honey.

Inspired by the rainy days and the little tree covered in paper thin snowy blossoms, I went in search of some apricot recipes I could count on to be perfection.  I ended up at Eric Ripert’s blog, Avec Eric.  He has an amazingly simple recipe for clafoutis.  He uses raspberries in the photo, but says very ripe and very fresh apricots would be good too.  Another yummy sounding recipe from Nami-Nami can be found here.

apricot-blossom-close-up

I’ll keep checking at the local farmers markets for the first apricots…and I look forward to competing in Iron Chef Apricot-home edition –  5 courses featuring the lovely, tangy apricot!

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Plot Update

plot-view

Okay, we’ve had a little rain and things are taking off a bit, starting over in places, and nothing happening at all at times! In the lower left corner…there is a little bit of cilantro beginning to fill in. The lower right corner is where the Fraise du Bois seeds went in, and nothing is happening there…The far end is the sweet pea trellis’, out of the photo on left side is the chard and the right side is the sugar peas trellis.  Notice the luscious and rich looking path?  That is where the leaves from 60 broccoli plants, 2 yarrow, and a whole bunch of chard leaves went down…and then covered with 20 barrels of compost…I am really curious how long it will take to break down…

sugar-snap-peas

Sun, rain and time…now the sugar peas are starting to make their move. I have eaten a couple of pods, not enough for a side dish yet…but really tasty! The broccoli is all gone, save two or three plants left to flower for the bees. In went the assorted lettuces, cabbage, more leeks, & ranunculas. The strawberries under the broccoli are ready for their close up. Let there be light! Under the pea trellis are the onions, and they are doing nicely.

strawberry-patch-take-two

As you may recall, a majority of the first round perished in the October-November heat waves. I later learned that the pure compost does not retain moisture very well…live and learn. They are starting to take off – mostly transplants and tiny starts…didn’t throw down for the H & H specimen plants. The total cost of all the strawberry plant material this year, is something like $16…not a bad investment. I can’t wait until they start producing!

february-chard

Okay, so the left side of the plot is mostly swiss chard…this is what is left after I ripped out half of it! Too densely planted and the lack of air circulation promotes aphids. Yuck! So, I thinned and laid all the healthy leaves on the path, and the infested plants in the garbage. A little more light has helped the beets spring up a bit, in the lower left. Along the path is new cauliflower and the radishes are still in the ground and should probably just come out to make way for arugula, maybe some choi, mache, kholrabi and ?????  Oh-Loofah!!!!!

sweet-pea-patch

The far end border is the sweet pea trellis. They just exploded and are now blooming! The first variety to open is the Painted Lady. An heirloom variety and very sweet smelling!!

sweet-peas-painted-lady

Lovely…in front of the sweet peas. there are newly planted favas, and the carrot patch. Things are looking good aver at the garden…just waiting for the next crop to come in and in the mean time I’ll pick some sweet peas for my desk.

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Broccoli Bumper Crop

happy-broccoli

The happy broccoli entity shown here…Kiely staged this picture…oranges are from the share table! Kiely had a hooky day from school and helped me out at the family plot. We ripped out the broccoli, all 50 or so plants. Some of them were already topless and just hanging out sending out side shoots, which are small and delicious!

kiely-and-broccoli

In the broccoli’s place are now butter lettuce, romaine, mescalun mix and spinach. Also going in around are ranunculas and calendula. The entire garden path was blanketed with the leaves of the broccoli, yarrow and chard. We then covered it all with a thick layer of composted horse that is provided by the garden assoc. We shoveled about 20 wheel barrows of the stuff! In a couple of months the whole lot will be scraped up and placed back in the beds full of nitrogen rich soil.

Also going in, finally, are the favas! Sweet peas are blooming and sugar peas are popping…had a few in the garden yesterday. Photos of the rainy garden later today!

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