Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How Our Garden Grows, Part IV: Life After the Floods

The Hudson River Valley has been lashed with heavy rain and summer storms of Biblical proportions for the last three weeks. And basements and low-lying roads aren't the only things flooding around here. Washed out gardens are a common lament among neighbors in the area this summer; luckily, we fared better at Cafe Drake HRV than some thanks to intermittent bursts of sunshine that dried out our sodden soil just enough to save most garden plants.

The golden raspberry bush has quadrupled in size since 2013 but fell plague to a Japanese Beetle invasion this summer. Still sporting bushy foliage, the plant has ceased producing fruit. Sigh.
Now we're placing all our hopes on the red raspberry and black raspberry plants; the former has just started yielding sugar-sweet fruit.

Plants that seem to thrive in soaked conditions include mint, kale, mustard greens and string beans.

Next year we'll make room for only two kale plants. By harvesting only the outer leaves we've kept ourselves overrun with this nutritious veggie. We've been cooking kale on a weekly basis for 25+ years and guess what? Now, we're getting sick of it! Free Kale! Who Wants Some Free Kale! Come and Get It!!

We Dream of Dill. Probably has something to do with the vast patch of Mammoth Long Island Dill (the name of this variety) growing in our garden bed, its sweet scent wafting thorough our open bedroom windows on breezy nights.

Mint and lavender are good companion plants. Clearly.

Wet, hot and humid weather is preferred by our shade plants - rau ram, cilantro and mitsuba. The geraniums seem amenable to the same conditions; this photo was snapped last week and today the potted geranium is smothered with new blooms.


Ravenous garden pests nearly finished off Cafe Drake HRV's sole tomatillo plant until we put an end to that. Now it's more of a tree really. The papery husks housing tart tomatillos inside remind us of Chinese lanterns strung from bright green boughs.


Okra is a member of the hibiscus family, thus the lovely tropical flowers it sports throughout its growing season. Look closely and you'll see a few of the deep red pods almost ready for plucking.
Two varieties of okra are growing in the Cafe Drake HRV gardens in the Summer of 2014 but this red variety (known as Red Burgundy) is doing best. The pods turn green when cooked.

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