Just as I was starting to wonder if my asparagus experiment was going to be a complete and utter failure, on my way to the garage this morning, I noticed some very encouraging signs of life!
The stalks are teeny tiny – really more slender than the grass in my lawn – but they’re definitely asparagus. Next spring I should be able to do a light harvest of some young stalks, and the following year I’ll be able to do a full harvest. Mmmm.. I *love* asparagus, so the idea of being able to walk out in the morning and harvest some fresh to pan sear with a little butter and some scrambled eggs for breakfast is simply divine.
The strawberries have been showing more regular signs that they’re getting well established as well:
I am not sure if I should expect to actually get fruit from the strawberries this year – they’re an everbearing variety, so it’s definitely possible – but even if not, the prospect of a nice full bed of beautiful red fruit next summer is rather exciting.
Late last week I finally managed to get all the seeds in the raised beds – cukes, radishes (yes, I know, terribly late), snap peas, summer and winter squash, and lettuce. I have one bed still empty for tomatoes and peppers (which should arrive later this week), and room still in the other beds to do another sowing of lettuce, radishes and peas, so here’s hoping I planned better this year and don’t end up with the jungle of tomato doom that overshadowed everything else I planted two years ago.
Unfortunately, I also have one quarter of one of the beds that’s been overrun by grass; I dug out as much as I could, and have covered the area up with big rhubarb leaves in hopes of starving it of light, but the roots are so embedded in the soil that I think I may just have to resign myself to Round Up at the end of the season to kill it all off.
I also, for the first time since I moved into the house, harvested some of the monstrous rhubarb that grows in the side patio bed. I brought 8 or 10 stalks to my sister’s yesterday since my brother-in-law is a rather avid cook and I figured he could find something fun and tasty to make with it. I picked that much again tonight, cut it up and stuck most of it in the freezer. I’m planning to make at least some rhubarb cordial*, but may also do a rhubarb cake or some such as well. I expect that I’ll be able to harvest quite a bit more over the next couple of weeks, but I’m pretty sure it freezes quite well and frozen fruits (though I’m pretty sure it’s not a fruit..?) are always good to have on hand.
I’m also thinking ahead a bit to later in the summer when the cukes start coming in and contemplating making dill pickles. I’ve never done it, but I *love* crunchy dill pickles and I will likely have more cukes than I’ll ever eat fresh, so I’m thinking this might just be the year to try it out. Hrm. Which pr’bly means I should plant some dill, too.
* Cut up rhubarb. Fill a quart jar with as much as will fit. Pour 1 c. or so of sugar over fruit. Fill jar with vodka or white rum. Shake daily until the sugar is fully dissolved. Let age until it tastes right or the fruit turns white. Strain out the liquid and bottle for a taste of early summer in the dead of winter. This general recipe – cut up fruit to fill a jar, 1 c. sugar, fill with vodka – will work with most fruits to make cordials and I’ve found it considerably easier than the recipes that require simple syrup.