Thursday, September 3, 2015

Hog Peanut

Amphicarpaea bracteata, the Hogpeanut, is common in our woods. It grows in sunny patches or where mature trees have fallen. By that measure, its habitat is expanding since so many trees have come down this year.

These flowers will produce small seeds in pods. The "peanut" of its name is a seed produced at or below ground by this plant's other self-fertile, closed flowers. These seeds are quite edible.

Hog peanut is a vine, although it does not have tendrils, and plays well with others outside of a garden. It scrambles along the ground in the woods, but arrives on the scene quite late, well after most ephemerals have retreated back under the soil. It also contributes as an uncommon, woodland nitrogen fixer.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

When People Ask Where The Good Food Is

...I usually tell them its right outside.

Four heirloom tomato plants have produced more than most any I had ever planted at the beach farm.

I've been looking forward to the German Stripe, the latest to size up and ripen.

Japanese eggplant, 'Kyoto,' have been exceptionally prolific.

I put my green bean seeds in a little late, but still, they are producing now. 

Although my broccoli starts were a failure. Too late, as always.

But I was saved by this guy (sorry to say that I lost his name with a piece of paper) and Anderson Acres. You see the sign, to the left, that says start your fall garden. Yes! Getting starts together at the right time in summer is challenging given busy summer schedules and difficult weather. Hardly any garden business has starts available at this time of year, probably because there isn't much market for it. I'm so glad to have found them at the Minneapolis Farmers' Market in stall 311.

I bought a handful of these lettuce starts, broccoli, cilantro, parsley, and basil.

The fall lettuce.

Betsy's dill, the pickler that she is.

Our local hardware gave away (really, for free) many vegetable starts in July, most well past their prime. I focused on those sturdy sorts that do well in cooler weather -chard and kale. Small and weak when planted, they are now doing fantastic. We eat them every day.

A four pack of heirloom peppers from Shady Acres (whose stall Anderson Acres occupied at the farmers' market) has become quite a bounty of peppers. I've never had such luck. One plant has eight large peppers!

And they're beginning to turn red.

Of course, there are still tomatoes ripening.

These "cherry," or is it "grape," have been fantastic. The name I believe is 'Juliet' -a little sweet, little tart, and meaty -that is the key for me. I do not like watery small tomatoes that pop when you bite into them or crack after heavy rains. These I pick and eat right there in the garden.

With more to come.

The woods has not produced its usual bounty this year, except for the morels early on. Maybe we've missed them, having been so busy with work on the house and field. Of course, we'll keep looking.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Monarch and the Lilac

Choosing to take out a shrub, like this lilac, isn't easily made. 

 It's all the harder when it is graced by a Monarch butterfly.

But then, it also alights on my cutting tools.