Helen Chesnut’s Backyard garden Notes: Plentiful harvest stirs recollections of lifetime on a Greek isle

It feels like a Mediterranean summer season, probably since the garden’s abundance, and the heat, remind me of dwelling on the south coastline of France and on a Greek island. The foods I relished all through all those occasions abound in this summer’s backyard garden — young zucchinis with the blossoms nevertheless connected, sweet onions and tomato, basil, juicy garlic, and squishy, tremendous-sweet figs.

An explosion of cucumbers incorporates the miniature fruits of Environmentally friendly Light, the very long slicer Sweet Achievement, and spherical, crunchy Lemon cucumbers, all yielding more prolifically than usual this summertime.

Cucumber time coincides with the new garlic harvest, and the two merge in a refreshing dish I discovered to make during a year dwelling in a small Greek village, wherever I gained the minimal funds I desired by tutoring a youthful British girl and typing for an American author who showed me how to make the dish.

Position plain yogurt (I use Greek yogurt) in a bowl. Incorporate fresh new lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and mashed garlic. Combine alongside one another and increase chopped (not grated) cucumber. It is delightful, cooling, and variable. I like it loaded with lemon juice and an excessive total of garlic.

The ebook and recipe exchange. My pal Vicky and I met just lately for a person of our guide exchanges. We met on the back again garden, and sat to pay a visit to for a when. Due to the fact we equally adore very good meals, we also exchanged the various ways we have been getting ready our gardens’ veggies.

Vicky described her hottest way of preparing zucchini. Absolutely simple: Slice zucchini into an open up baking dish. Leading with garlic, a drizzle of oil and grated parmesan, and bake.

Under no circumstances possessing satisfied a recipe I did not want to tinker with, I put halved cherry tomatoes and skinny onion rings around the zucchini slices in advance of drizzling the greens with oil and mashed garlic and topping with parmesan. A fantastic aroma emanated from the dish as it baked at around 350 F. Cooked tender, the mixture was a real Mediterranean fashion address, like a baked ratatouille.

A new customer. With gardening, every single year brings some thing new to learn. An insect I’d in no way viewed just before in the back garden caught my awareness a short while ago when I seen it hovering around my potted sweet pepper crops. It wasn’t viewing the bouquets. It was browsing for anything amongst the layers of foliage.

The insect seemed like an common yellowjacket wasp, but with a very long, more elegantly slender physique and a little waistline. The wings and antennae had a gentle rusty-orange forged.

In consulting my bug publications, I located tucked into the web pages of just one reference a two-year previous Times-Colonist report on neighborhood wasps with a photo of the insect I’d just been observing. It’s a European paper wasp. Even further exploration signifies that these wasps are superior pollinating bugs and they support to command pests as they feed predominantly on caterpillars and other larvae.

I was oddly delighted to fulfill this desirable and useful insect as it foraged for foodstuff in my pepper plants.

Observations. The unusually very long stretch of dry weather conditions this year, collectively with temperatures greater than we are accustomed to, has brought about far more than a couple of disappointments, and a handful of surprises.

My figs commenced ripening several months earlier than typical, but other fruits and berries have not accomplished so perfectly. Some acquiring fruits suffered sunscald and some raspberries dried up in the rigorous heat.

The heat in some gardens brought about difficult snap peas, shelling peas significantly less juicy and sweet than regular, and tomatoes that ended up mushy-textured and bland tasting.

When the heat wave in June arrived, I slice a number of sweet peas for the residence and was astonished to find them nearly scentless. Later on bouquets from the exact same vegetation, taken when the weather cooled, have been beautifully aromatic.

One more shock: These sweet peas, a variety named Midnight in the Spencer Series (Johnny’s Picked Seeds), held on churning out flowers, in spite of the warmth and drought. Midnight generates showy clusters of deep rosy-burgundy flowers on very long stems. Johnny’s also notes that its Mammoth Choice Mix withstands heat and drought effectively.

I’m presuming that upcoming summers will bring a lot more warmth and drought. It’s time to observe and evaluate our backyard crops and varieties for their potential to remain in nutritious, successful situation in these complicated circumstances, and look for types explained as heat and drought resistant so that we can continue on to enjoy successful gardens.

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