Benign Garden Neglect

It’s been a rough growing season.  We’ve had weeks of lows in the 30s alternating with weeks of highs in the 90s.  When it wasn’t very cold or very hot, it was pouring rain.  We got seeds in the ground on Mother’s Day, but then didn’t really get back to do any work – or assess the damage – until the beginning of June, when we did a bit of half-hearted weeding after the half.

We started seeds in February under a grow light: two kinds of tomatoes, peppers, brussels sprouts, and broccoli. All but four of those plants died under the grow light or once the weather calmed down enough to transplant them into larger pots outside. The same thing happened last year, except that we had a 100% fatality rate. What a waste of time and energy. Fortunately Shane’s friend Julian gave us some hand-me-downs, which you can see flourishing in the north-east corner of the plot:

Tomato Forest

Honestly, the garden’s in better shape than I expected. The peas are starting to climb the trellis, and I picked the first zucchini (with 2-3 more growing on the vine) on Monday. The tomatillos already smell like salsa, and I think it’s actually impossible to kill off the broccoli and sprouts – transplants from the farmers’ market.

Peas and Carrots

One wise decision that we made going into this year was to ditch the west bed, where we tried to grow onions and potatoes last year. It looked promising early in the season, but by May, it’s totally overshadowed by tall trees. Rather than try to fight it, we just left it alone and have used it for storing our extra hay bale and whatever waste we can’t be bothered to deal with.

This benign neglect actually worked in our favor, as when I visited the garden this week, I discovered a bunch of wild onions growing in that bed! Maybe they’re not ‘wild’, but I certainly didn’t put them there.

Hella wild onions

The photo may not look like much, but this pile represents an entire grocery sack full of wee onions, many smaller in diameter than a pencil. We clearly weren’t going to eat them all, so I turned to our the trusty Well Preserved for recommendations and wound up using their recipe for preserving wild leeks and ramps.

Pickled Ramps

Pickled Ramps

As with the sour cherry jam, this project was a lot of work for a relatively small yield: just three pints of pickles after at least an hour of trimming and scrubbing the tiniest onions ever. I bet they’ll be delicious, though, and I can’t wait to pop open a jar with a snack dinner in the future.

Recipe:
<a href="Preserving Spring – Wild Leeks from Well Preserved

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