Soil and Cellar

Growing and preserving foods in Seattle


3 Comments

Raised beds – At last!

D and I have wanted raised beds since we started our garden 7 years ago, but we aren’t the best project people. But this winter we finally finished! We already have some plants growing, I even started some from seed!

Here’s a sort of photo essay of the building of our raised beds. We went by these instructions from Sunset. It was a really fun project, and normally shouldn’t take more than a weekend. We just got it in our heads that it would be a lot harder than it turned out to be, I think.

We built the raised beds in our garage. Teamwork, yeah!

We built the raised beds in our garage. Teamwork, yeah! D was excited to have a reason to buy a impact driver, but I think a normal drill would be just fine.

Here is the first one finished: they are both 4'x6' and are about a foot tall.

Here is the first one finished: they are both 4’x6′ and are about a foot tall.

The first raised bed installed. It took a lot of prep to get the weeds out of the soil first, so next we...

The first raised bed installed. It took a lot of prep to get the weeds out of the soil first, so after leveling the raised beds we added cardboard.

Checking to see it is level. I will admit that they seem to have settled in parts, but not too much.

Checking to see it is level. I will admit that they seem to have settled in parts, but not too much.

... added cardboard to the bottom of the raised bed, before adding soil. The hope is that this will help suppress weeds. We have morning glory in this part of the garden pretty bad.

Here we added cardboard to the bottom of the raised bed, before adding soil. This should help suppress weeds. We have morning glory in this part of the garden, it’s basically impossible to stop, the best hope is to try to slow it down.

Finally, we had soil delivered. The only access is a walk-through gate in the fence, so we had to block the alley while we brought in wheelbarrow loads.

Finally, we had soil delivered. The only access is a walk-through gate in the fence, so we had to block the alley while we brought in wheelbarrow loads.

I’ve planted a garden of basics this first year – cucumbers, tomatoes, scallions, carrots, zucchini, beans, and herbs. In one bed we direct sowed seeds, the other we planted starts. Wish us luck!


3 Comments

January in the Garden

This isn’t actually about what’s going on in the garden NOW, because that’s a whole lotta nothing. In keeping with my recap/resolutions last week, I’m going to run down the couple of fun things going on in our garden in the last year.

All in all, it was a low key year in the garden. My weekends weren’t spent very productively. But we spent plenty of time hanging out outside, having bbqs and dining with friends.

Thimbleberries on the shrub, in various stages of ripening. You can also see how soft and large these leaves are (I have heard them called - jokingly? - "nature's toilet paper.")

Thimbleberries on the shrub, in various stages of ripening. You can also see how soft and large these leaves are (I have heard them called – jokingly? – “nature’s toilet paper.”)

Thimbleberries galore! Thimbleberry – Rubus parviflorus – is a Northwest native shrub with sweet berries. I picked these as they ripened in July – about a handful a day – and froze them. I ended up with about a cup of frozen berries after a couple weeks. They’re so small, I couldn’t think of the best way to use them so I just ate them. This year I’ll make a plan. Sometimes it takes me a couple years to figure out how to harvest and use edibles.

Desert King figs are green with pink centers. This is the type that does the best in Seattle.

Desert King figs are green with pink centers. This is the type that does the best in Seattle.

We got our first figs off the tree! I am super proud of that. They were delicious! I hope for way more this year, and soon I’ll have enough to make fig jam. Fingers crossed! No fruit on the prune yet, but we’re hopeful for this year.

Our raised beds installed. Here we are checking the level, and adding cardboard at the bottom. We have tons of morning glory in this part of the yard, so we wanted to beat it back as much as possible.

Our raised beds installed. Here we are checking the level, and adding cardboard at the bottom. We have tons of morning glory in this part of the yard, so we wanted to beat it back as much as possible.

Also, we finally built our raised beds! They are installed, and just need soil and we’ll be ready to go this spring. We better get started soon, President’s Day is around the corner.

Saffron crocus - Crocus sativus - flower showing off some of its potential.

Saffron crocus – Crocus sativus – flower showing off some of its potential.

And saving the best for last. The Crocus sativus bloomed and gave us saffron again this year. Last year, I picked saffron but didn’t get to use any of it. I tried to shield you from this painful truth (ie, was embarrassed)… it molded! I thought it was totally dried by the time I stored it, but there was still enough moisture and it went bad. This year I am keeping it in an open container, so as not to trap any moisture. Now I just need to use it. Soon, soon… I have about 10 strands. Does anyone have any ideas for how to use it?

Check back this spring, I hope to have a lot more to report!


2 Comments

Carrot Coriander Relish

Here's the relish I made last year.

I’m finally posting about this relish I made last year. This is last year’s photo, but the rest of the post is from this week.

A few weeks ago I was talking to a coworker about my blog, and she asked about the orange thing in the middle of my banner photo. When I told her it was carrot relish, she wanted to read the post. Well, as it happens, I never wrote about it! It was one of my projects from early last year, before the blog. When piecing together my colorful banner photo, I had to find foods I had made and photographed, which if you can believe, wasn’t common for me back then. Oh, how times have changed.

Annabeth is a great helper in the kitchen. Here she is ensuring that I can't read the recipe. Later she stole carrots from the compost and chased them all over the house, finally eating them. This recipe is fun for the whole family!

Annabeth is a great helper in the kitchen. Here she is ensuring that I can’t read the recipe. Later she stole carrots from the compost and chased them all over the house, finally eating them. This recipe is fun for the whole family!

Anyway, I knew I had to remake this relish, because it is delicious, flavorful, and bright. It’s a great alternative to pickle relish, and goes fabulously on burgers, hotdogs, and all manner of sandwiches. It’s also a little spicy, but not too much (you could certainly add more chili to amp up the heat). This weekend (Happy Memorial Day to all!) marked our first BBQ of the season, so it was the perfect time to bust out this great recipe.

I julienned the carrots on the mandoline. I think next time I'll shred them in the food processor - this took a really long time.

I julienned the carrots on the mandoline. I think next time I’ll shred them in the food processor – this took a really long time.

I got the recipe from Salt Sugar Smoke, still one of my favorite books on food preservation. This time I didn’t toast coriander seeds and grind them, opting for pre-ground coriander. I recommend doing as the recipe suggests, the coriander flavor stood out more last year. Also, this time I subbed a jalapeño for “red chili” because I don’t know what she meant by “red chili.” Looking back, I think a dried red chili is probably a better fit. But I do like the jalapeño, so you do you and I’ll do me.

Just put everything in the pot all together. I love recipes like that!

Just put everything in the pot all together. I love recipes like that!

Recipe (makes about a pint)

8 carrots, cleaned, and shredded (or julienned)
1 ½ inch piece of ginger root, peeled and minced
8 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 Tbsp coriander seeds, toasted and crushed
zest and juice of 1 lime
¼ cup apple juice
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
pinch or two of salt
¼ cup cilantro leaves, chopped (optional) – I have never included this, but I think it would taste great, but would probably really change the flavor.

After cooking, but not cooked all the way down (there's still a lot of liquid.) When it's done it'll be drier.

After cooking, but not cooked all the way down (there’s still a lot of liquid.) When it’s done it’ll be almost totally dry.

Mix everything except cilantro together in a pot. Stir and bring to a boil slowly over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Then increase to medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring frequently. You want the liquid to reduce and cook off. The carrots should be soft but not mushy, and appear candied from the liquid.

The relish on a (veggie) sausage. Fantastic! This is dog is also a "Seattle dog" which is with cream cheese and caramelized onions. I urge you to try that, it's ridiculous. So freaking delish - and adding this relish really worked!

Messy, but so tasty – carrot relish on a (veggie) sausage. This dog is also a “Seattle dog” which is with cream cheese and caramelized onions. I urge you to try that, it’s ridiculous. So freaking delish – and adding this relish really worked! Just noticed, “delish” and “relish” are one letter apart… coincidence?

Remove from heat and pack into a warm sterilized jar. Store in the fridge for up to 3 months (if it lasts that long!). If you’re using cilantro, either add just before using or mix it in the jars with the relish. If you do the latter, you need to use it up within 5 days.

Enjoy!


5 Comments

The Bloedel Reserve – or – why I haven’t been blogging lately

The Bloedel residence. This is the scene that opens before you after a lovely wooded walk. The first time you turn out of the woods and see it your heart stops. And every time after the first, it still takes your breath away.

The Bloedel residence. This scene that opens before you after a lovely wooded walk. The first time you turn out of the woods and see it your heart stops. And every time after that, it still takes your breath away.

I haven’t been writing much lately. I miss it! But over the last month I’ve been working on a different project, one that I’ve finally completed. I have a new job! It’s at the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island, my dream. My year of unemployment was a good one, giving me time to focus on myself and my plans, but I was getting a little stir crazy. This job came at the perfect time.

Erythronium (trout lily) and primroses growing along the path. Displays like this feel so natural, like they could happen in any woods. But it's all intentional, and very well tended.

Erythronium (trout lily) and primroses growing along the path. Displays like this feel so natural, like they could happen in any woods. But it’s all intentional, and very well tended.

The Bloedel Reserve has long been my favorite public garden, and it’s only an hour from my house. It is incredibly beautiful and peaceful, and the experience of walking through the garden is one that is hard to explain and impossible to forget. You feel taken to another world, one where you own a fancy estate and forests and fields. It’s basically been my goal to work there since I first visited over 10 years ago. I am still pinching myself that I get to be there every day.

The Japanese Garden at the Reserve.

The Japanese Garden at the Reserve.

My commute is long, but most of it is on a ferry. For you non-locals, Seattle is on a large salt water sound, and there are a lot of communities on islands in the Puget Sound and on the Olympic Penninsula to the west. Bainbridge Island is the nearest island to Seattle. Our ferry system is quite good, and tons of people commute on them every day. I go in the “opposite direction” from most of the traffic, so there aren’t many people on my ferry. It’s a beautiful ride, and it will give me time to write and read and relax.

Looking back to Seattle from a half empty ferry. The return ferry will be filled with commuters.

Looking back to Seattle from a half empty ferry. When this ferry returns to Seattle it will be filled with commuters.

I’ve been at the Reserve for a week, and already feel like it will be a great fit for me. I like the people a lot, and the location is killer. Plus, check out my view!

Here's the view from my desk! I've been thoroughly enjoying the daily changes, watching spring appear before my eyes in the little green buds on the Camperdown Elms (that the deer are also enjoying).

Here’s the view from my desk! I love watching spring appear before my eyes with little changes every day, like the little green buds on the Camperdown Elms (which the deer are also enjoying).

If you haven’t visited before, I can’t state strongly enough how you need to go soon. It’s beautiful every day of the year. And now I’m a part of the team that keeps this amazing resource open for everyone to enjoy. If you happen to be planning a visit, let me know!

 


6 Comments

Cleaning and Sharpening Your Tools

My pruners before cleaning and sharpening. They worked just fine - not very dull or chipped, but not as well as they work when properly cared for.

My pruners before cleaning and sharpening. They worked fine – not dull or chipped, but not as well as they work when properly cared for. Aside – when they are open like this I think they look like an excited bird. Or bad joke eel.

I haven’t written about the garden lately, because there isn’t much “happening” out there these days, plus, um, brr. However, yesterday was gorgeous, so I wanted to get out and do some pruning. Late winter is a great time to prune! And like most gardeners, I love love pruning, it’s so fun and satisfying.

Taking the pruners apart. Felco pruners are the best, and all parts come apart easily and are replaceable. However, all pruners have some kind of screw holding them together at the pivot point. Take apart as much as you can (that you can tell you'll be able to reassemble later!)

Taking the pruners apart. Felco pruners are the best: all parts are easily removed and are replaceable. But all pruners have some kind of bolt holding them together at the pivot point. Take apart as much as you can (that you can tell you’ll be able to reassemble later!)

We had a few nice days earlier this month, but I didn’t get out in the garden. In part, that’s because I didn’t clean or sharpen my tools last fall, and I wanted to do that first. I haven’t done that in a couple years. Ideally, I would have cleaned them at the end of the fall, and stored them in the basement so they would stay dry. I didn’t do that, so there’s a fair amount of gunk and rust on them.

When you disassemble your pruners, do it on a towel or something that will contain the mess and also make it easy to find all the parts later.

When you disassemble your pruners, do it on a towel or something that will contain the mess and also make it easy to find all the parts later.

Back in the day, I was a gardener for a living. I cleaned my pruners seasonally, and sharpened them at least once a year. I’m not a professional gardener anymore, and I don’t think I’ve sharpened my tools since I was. I had to buy a file and stone! It can be a project to clean and sharpen your tools, particularly if you are new or it’s been awhile. But it’s important to do. Sharp tools reduce the work for you and make cleaner cuts. Also, keeping your tools clean makes them last longer.

I didn't get a picture of me cleaning! I guess I was all soapy. Ideally you'd use warm soapy water and some steel wool to scrub away the shmutz. I didn't have steel wool, so I used a green scrubbing pad. It worked ok but not as well as the steel wool. In addition to soap and water, sometimes you should dip your tools in a bleach solution, particularly if you've been working on diseased plants.

I didn’t get a picture of me cleaning, but here they are cleaned! I guess I was too soapy to grab the camera. Ideally you’d use warm soapy water and some steel wool to scrub away the shmutz. I didn’t have steel wool, so I used a green scrubbing pad. It worked ok, but not as well as the steel wool. In addition to soap and water, sometimes you’ll want to dip your tools in a bleach solution, particularly if you’ve been working on diseased plants.

Tools can spread diseases from one plant to the next, or around on one plant. I don’t have huge concerns about this in my garden, other than black spot on the rose, but I still don’t want to create problems where they weren’t before by spreading disease.

I’ll be doing the rest of this post as a photo essay, because a picture tells a thousand words, right?

Here's the cutting edge before sharpening. My pruners are bypass pruners (the blades move past each other). There is only one beveled edge on the cutting blade, so I only sharpen one side. If you have anvil pruners, you sharpen both sides of the blade, like you would with a knife.

Here’s the cutting edge before sharpening. My pruners are bypass pruners (the blades move past each other). There is only one beveled edge on the cutting blade, so I only sharpen one side. If you have anvil pruners, you sharpen both sides of the blade, like you would with a knife.

File the blade first, particularly if it's been awhile or you have large chips in the blade. File in the direction you cut (see the red arrow), life the blade, and file in the direction again. Don't rub back and forth.

File the blade first, particularly if it’s been awhile or you have large chips in the blade. File on the same angle as the bevel, and file in the direction you cut (see the red arrow). Lift the blade, and file in the same direction again. Don’t rub back and forth. Try to keep the angle of the bevel even throughout the process.

Now do the same with a stone. I got this stone for $2 at a hardware store, they are worth having. The stones in kitchen stores are more expensive (and the saleswoman tried to talk me out of it, thinking I was sharpening my knives with a stone. I have a knife sharpener for that!) Working with a stone on your knives is a skill you probably don't have, and you can mess up your knives if you don't know what you're doing. Pruners are less precise.

Now do the same with a stone. From the striations you can see I did run the back side of my blade on the stone, to clear off any burrs from filing. I got this stone for $2 at a hardware store, they are worth having. The stones in kitchen stores are more expensive.

Ta-dah! Look at the cutting edge, so sharp!

Ta-dah! Look at the cutting edge, so sharp! You can also tell I was working with a pretty good angle, since not too much else got shaved down.

Before reassembling all the parts, lubricate everything you can. If it moves, spray it. When I was a gardener, I also used grease in the pivot point, but I don't have any laying around the house.

Before reassembling all the parts, lubricate everything you can. If it is a place where metal sits on or moves against metal, spray it. When I was a gardener, I also used grease in the pivot point, but I don’t have any laying around the house.

Reassemble all the parts. Sometimes it takes a couple times flipping the pieces around, they don't fit intuitively. You might want to take a picture of it at the start. (This is the photo of me reassembling after cleaning, I took a few days in between steps, that's why it doesn't look sharpened.)

Reassemble all the parts. Sometimes it takes a couple times flipping the pieces around, they don’t fit intuitively. You might want to take a picture of it at the start. (This is the photo of me reassembling after cleaning. I waited a few days in between steps due to time constraints, that’s why it doesn’t look sharpened.)

In the above photo, you can see my initials carved into the handle. These are pruners I got over 10 years ago working at an Arboretum in Philadelphia. Pruners for a gardener are like knives for a chef, they are personal. People don’t share (usually). I’d rather buy replacement parts for these than get a new pair. (Felco is the best, they will sell any single part individually. You get the blades in any store that sells them, but online they have everything.)

Here she is, reassembled. Again, this is post-cleaning but pre-sharpening.

Here she is, reassembled. Again, this is post-cleaning but pre-sharpening.

In action! I did a lot of pruning on my pear tree yesterday. With my sharp pruners, it was a cinch!

I did a lot of pruning on my pear tree yesterday. With my sharp pruners, it was a cinch!

Not only was it easier to cut with sharpened pruners, they were easier on the tree. Look at that, no jagged edges, no squeezing the branch while you cut. I still got it :)

Not only was it easier to cut with sharpened pruners, they were easier on the tree. Look at that, no jagged edges, no squeezing the branch while cutting. Yup, I still got it 🙂

I’ll be cleaning all my tools soon, and sharpening a few, too. My loppers definitely need it, but also my shovels. Soil and rocks are so hard on the edge of a shovel, and sharpening will help with ease of digging and cutting through roots.

Once you get this “housekeeping” done, your gardening experience will be much easier. Happy gardening!


5 Comments

Saffron Harvest!

Saffron crocus - Crocus sativus - flower showing off some of its potential.

Saffron crocus – Crocus sativus – flower showing off some of its potential. I like how it looks like it’s sticking out its tongue. 🙂

Ok, this is a little silly, but I am so excited. We’ve been growing a small patch of saffron crocuses (Crocus sativus) for about 5 years now. Last year they bloomed for the first time, if a bit sadly. But the snails got to them before we could harvest any of the saffron. I couldn’t believe how fancy those snails were, dining on the most expensive spice in the world without a second thought. The nerve!

The crocus plants. They aren't much to look at (and these have been chomped a bit by snails) but keep plugging away.

The crocus plants. They aren’t much to look at (and these have been chomped a bit by snails) but keep plugging away.

Last week, D told me they were blooming again. One or two flowers already seemed to be missing their pistils (the saffron comes from the some of the female parts of the flower, the style and stigma), but one of the flowers had been broken off – presumably a snail ate the base of the flower, not knowing what glories were hidden a little higher up. I picked the saffron out of the soil, dusted it off, and set it on a plate to dry. At that time, I put snail bait around the plants, hoping to get one or two more chances.

Looking down inside an open flower. You should see the bright red style and stigma, but those have apparently been eaten off this flower.

Looking down inside an open flower. You should see the bright red styles, but those have apparently been eaten off this flower. But the next one is about to open!

This morning, another crocus was blooming! D pointed it out, and I ran out in my pjs and slippers. And OF COURSE a neighbor was walking her dog right in front of my yard, further proving my theory that every time I leave the house w/o makeup (or in today’s case, a bra) I will run into someone I know. ANYWAY, I grabbed that crocus, one pistil protruding enticingly from between the petals, and brought it indoors. I cut open the flower to find a fully intact pistil, and removed the red and orange parts of the style and stigma.

And here's the first flower the snails ignored. It was broken off at the base, and the saffron parts were scattered but mostly in tact.

Here’s the first flower the snails ignored. It was broken off at the base, and the saffron parts were scattered but mostly in tact.

I have done a little Googling of saffron production lately, to make sure I was getting the right part of the flower. The pictures of people pulling the styles off thousands of crocus flowers are bonkers. It makes my miniature harvest seem very childish, but whatever. It’s no surprise that this spice is the most expensive in the world, the amount of work and time that goes into producing this tiny spice is astounding. Seriously, look through the Google images of saffron harvest. Amazing.

Saffron removal. I cut open the flower and cut out the style. All three styles are attached at the base, but where I cut them they were no longer connected.

Saffron removal. I cut open the flower and cut out the bright red styles. All three styles are attached at the base. You can also see the pollen covered male parts – the stamen.

The 6 little styles are now drying in my cupboard, in a small dish. You dry them in a dark place, not too hot or humid, for about a week and then store them in a container. I have never cooked with saffron before, and I suspect with 6 pieces I won’t be able to do much. But I just feel so proud of our little plants! And we still may get a few more. We aren’t in a prime saffron growing region, clearly, but with a little patience and the ability to strike while the iron is hot, I may just have some saffron rice before long. Yay!

And here they are drying in  a dish. For reference, the larger pieces are just over an inch long. The tiny ones are from a few days prior. They should be ready to store in a jar very soon.

And here they are drying in a dish. For reference, the larger pieces are just over an inch long. The tiny ones are from a few days prior. They should be ready to store in a jar very soon. Isn’t it cute how they curled up?

Crocus sativus are a fall blooming crocus, but are not to be confused with colchicums. Colchicum are in the same family but are poisonous, so don’t eat those. Honestly, they are pretty easy to tell apart. I totally love our colchicums, but nothing beats the excitement of a potential saffron harvest!


2 Comments

August in the Garden

Flowers from "Velour" beans. Gorgeous color!

Flowers from “Velour” beans. Gorgeous color!

Did you know it’s the middle of August? Yeah, that snuck up on me. I had brilliant plans for the garden this year, like getting my raised beds in and doing tons more veggie gardening, and it just didn’t happen. It fell way down the list of important things to do, and therefore didn’t get done. BUT, I have a few little plants plugging away and producing charming little fruits.

My vegetable garden. This is where we will be putting a couple of raised beds once these veggies are done producing.

My vegetable garden. This is where we will be putting a couple of raised beds once these veggies are done producing.

When last I wrote about my garden, I was harvesting peas like crazy. Well, shortly thereafter I pulled those plants out and replaced them with bean seeds. I think that was late June, just before we went to India. By the time we got home, the little beans were popping out of the ground. I knew it might be late but still wanted tomatoes. I always have tomatoes! Well, it turns out mid July is WAY too late to buy tomato plants that don’t look like death warmed over, nuts. So I bought a couple cucumber starts instead.

Velour bean plants. They are producing really well.

Velour bean plants. They are producing really well.

And I will pat myself on the back by saying that, even though it didn’t meet my goals for an epic harvest, I’ve been more active in the vegetable garden since our first year in the house. I am a perfectionist (not in a good way, if there is such a thing) and don’t start unless I can see how it will end perfectly. So the fact that I didn’t completely throw in the towel when I fell behind is a big step for me. Pat, pat.

Speedy beans. There are probably more beans than leaves at this point. The plants haven't taken off but are still giving me plenty of snacks.

Speedy beans. There are probably more beans than leaves at this point. The plants haven’t taken off but are still giving me plenty of snacks.

On to the veg! We have 2 kinds of bush beans, Speedy and Velour, both from Territorial. We got the seeds from our garden club, which has been doing this wacky bean-fest thing all summer. Speedy is true to name, and quickly produced tasty green beans. They are quite nice for snacking. The plants haven’t really taken off with the neglect I provided them, mysteriously. I haven’t had enough at any one time to cook them. But maybe soon?

Velour beans. Holy smokes, the color on these kills me.

Velour beans. Holy smokes, the color on these kills me.

Velour is so dark that the pods are almost black. The flowers are beautiful bright purple, too. Territorial Seeds says they turn green when cooked, like most dark beans. They are so beautiful that I’ll probably just use them raw. They, too, are quite tasty. I feel like they’ve handled my neglect with aplomb, and are doing their level best to grow in spite of me.

Cucumber Summer Dance. This is the biggest fruit, I think I'll pick it today for dinner tonight. I like to refrigerate my cukes an hour or two, to give them that classic cold crunch.

Cucumber Summer Dance. This is the biggest fruit, and the photo was taken a couple days ago. It’s longer now, so I think I’ll pick it for dinner tonight. I like to refrigerate my cukes an hour or two, to give them that classic cold crunch.

Finally, I have two Summer Dance Cucumbers. I bought them as starts. This is a Japanese burpless type, and I’ve had luck with similar plants in the past. I almost always make garlic sesame cucumbers (recipe here – I just use the top half, not the vermicelli.) It’s hard to imagine a more flavorful crunchy salad. It’s like the cucumbers you get in Chinese restaurants, but better because you made it yourself. If I have plenty of cukes I may also slice and pickle some.

See how well this plant is growing on the tomato cage? Its sister plant is a little more rebellious. I'm liking the use of the tomato cage though, normally my cucumbers just sprawl all over the garden.

See how well this plant is growing on the tomato cage? Its sister plant is a little more rebellious. I’m liking the use of the tomato cage though, normally my cucumbers just sprawl all over the garden.

Cukes have always grown really well for me. This is my first year using the tomato cages to try to keep them off the ground. It seems to be working, but I keep needing to put one of the plants back onto the cage, it hasn’t grabbed hold. The other plant has been behaving nicely. Newsflash: plants do what they want!

OK, that’s my garden report for August. Hopefully soon we’ll be eating it all up, and I will definitely tell you about it when we do.