Garden Crush

Do you remember that moment just before your schoolyard crush became known, when it was still your own private, white-hot thing, your own delicious cross to bear? That was the best, right? Once the secret broke it never was quite so incandescent again. That’s the way it is with boiling water—never hotter than when it seethes before the boil—and with the garden, too. It’s loveliest right before it explodes.

We’re looking at the post-explosion right now. We sit in front of the new garden cabin (Aaron’s inspiration was the garden dachas of Russia) and survey the chaos, and there’s beauty in that, too. I was away from the garden for only three stinkin’ days and it cut loose on me, ran away like a dog trailing its leash. I came home, grabbed a harvest basket off the wall, and walked down to pick, figuring I’d find some cucumbers and zucchini. I should have brought three baskets. This filled the first.

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I love my zucchini, a variety called Costata Romanesco, but it walks all over the garden like it owns the place. It’s a serious rambler. We planted it in the top bed with the potatoes and it has since slinked down a row and is now colonizing cucumber territory. It would be annoying if they weren’t so delicious. The fruit is slow-growing, dense, never watery or seedy, almost meaty. This zucchini never sags on the grill, and it’s perfect for eating raw, sliced thin like carpaccio and anointed with lots of lemon juice and olive oil, some basil, and some parmesan cheese.

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Aw, little eggplant family. The three bears. I picked and stovetop-smoked them, peeled off the black bark, and froze the flesh. That smoky putty-gray stuff will be like gold this winter.

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The Black Triefele tomatoes. What a great bulbous, pear shape. These guys bore really well for me this year, and they’re sweet.

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Here’s my Yokohama squash. What a brute! I know it has a little way to go, though. At full ripe, it will be bumpy and more gnarly-looking.

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This is kinda cool. I try to get two harvests out of my haricot verts.  When they start to slow down I pick them really clean, like, every single bean. After a couple of weeks, they start to flower again. I should be picking my second harvest in a few days. Isn’t that great? Those first-picked beans are always the most delicate.

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And my walk to our new garden shed (writing hut) is paved with rutabaga leaves. Right now it seems like it will be green forever, but sadly, yellow birch leaves are already starting to drift down! Fall is barreling down the pipe.

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