What a strange growing season we’re having! Our spring was so cold and wet that I direct sowed my veggies almost two weeks later than usual – a huge difference when you consider that we have, on average, 117 frost-free days in the city. (I didn’t start anything indoors this year or do any winter sowing). June was pretty much a blur of rain – I’m not certain we actually saw sunlight for the entire month. To this date, July has been considerably more moderate as far as temperature and drying are concerned…and my potatoes are kind of blissed out at the moment. I’ve got foliage going on like nobody’s business – I just hope there are a few tubers forming under there. A gardener in the Alberta Gardening Facebook group recently remarked that her potato plants were over five feet tall and those that commented echoed her claim – this is clearly the year of giant potato plants in our province!
And yes, those are hula hoops forming the tunnel in my raised bed…you can see how I set that all up here. I’m a big fan of the hula hoops – they’re cheap, sturdy, and they liven up a public space with their colours! (I’m not sure what our community garden leader thinks of them, but she hasn’t sent me a cease and desist letter so I’m guessing they don’t offend too many sensibilities). Instead of row cover fabric this year, I put up fibreglass screen. Its purpose is two-fold: we have deer that like to jump the fence of the community garden and nibble, so this saves my beans; as well – and more importantly – we are plagued by frequent hailstorms in this part of the world, and this keeps most of the icy stones from shredding my squash. I could combine this set-up with row cover fabric in future years – a good idea if I decide to plant cabbages and want to thwart flea beetles, or if I get seeds into the soil early and need a bit of protection against the cold – but for this year, the screen without the poly has been a satisfactory choice.
Did you plant potatoes this year? And do you use hoop tunnels in your raised or in-ground beds?
And…just for fun – what is your favourite way to make potato salad?
A couple of sweet treats for the start of the week!
A crazy beautiful cookbook:
You could acquire Marit Hovland’s Bakeland: Nordic Treats Inspired by Nature and actually make the recipes – I would highly encourage it! But, really, this cookbook is the most deliriously glorious eye candy you’ll have the pleasure of perusing in absolute ever, so you should spend some quality time simply ogling. A celebration of baking, organized seasonally and inspired by Scandinavian ingredients and design, Bakeland is so pretty you’ll drool. I have no decorating skills so I’m going to stick to the Spice Cake with Cinnamon Almonds. Because chocolate icing is possible for people like me.
If you want a preview of some of the book’s insanely gorgeous food photos, click here. (2018, Greystone Books, Vancouver)
Eat some berries:
If you’re cleaning out the freezer and you find a package of frozen raspberries, make this sauce. I reduced the sugar by a smidge (which is, of course, a completely technical cooking term). Then eat it out of the saucepan (ahem!) and pretend it’s summer already. Do. It.
Do you have any tidbits to share? – for example, projects you’re working on, new things you’ve learned, delicious or interesting new foods you’ve tried, delightful books or TV shows or movies, or a piece of music or art you’ve created or enjoyed?
Flashback to mid-summer last year and a public planting found in a playground in the Beltline area of Calgary. That mix of foliage textures and the pop of lime green, yellow, and pink-purple (possibly combined with the fact that it was crazy late in the evening and I hadn’t eaten supper yet) made me drool.
Pretty much any colour is making me drool right now….the absolutely bananas weather has given me a serious case of cabin fever!
I’m a newbie pumpkin grower (I grew them once, years ago, with mixed results) and so I’m rather proud of these little ‘Algonquin’ plants that have – so far – weathered extreme heat and hail and powdery mildew. I am anxious for the fruit to ripen before frost hits. Last night, our temperature dropped to a brisk 4 degrees Celsius (39.2 degrees Fahrenheit), so I’m feeling a tad worried about the number of frost-free days left in this growing season. ‘Algonquin’ is a heritage cultivar, and the fruit is quite small and elongated, not round. You can check out a photo and description here.