Friday, June 27, 2014

A Gorgeous Day

Today I spent a long time out in the garden weeding. It is a gorgeous day. Not too hot and the humidity is gone. At times like this I wish most days could be so perfect. With the occasional rainy day in between to make the plants happy too. But without those miserably humid days like earlier, would I appreciate it as much?

After weeding is the perfect time to take those sweeping photos of the garden. Not that I can really get sweeping photos in a 1/5 of an acre lot with two townhouses on it. And those beds might be all weeded, but the abundant dill and sweet alyssum make it look a bit messy. My circle garden is being taken over by the sweet alyssum. I wasn't going to let it take over quite this much, but somehow it got out of control. It seems so happy that I just don't want to get rid of it. I ought to at least cut it out of the melon bed so they don't get taken over. In a month I'll be saying the opposite. Because you know melons. They will spread. And I'll be trying to keep the melons out of the paths with the sweet alyssum.

The dill has taken over sections of the circle garden too. I was going to keep it weeded out of this section, but the black swallowtail caterpillars were all over it earlier. And I didn't want to hurt them. Now it is starting to go to seed. Such pretty flowers. I know if I don't get them out soon, I'll be weeding this section of dill yet again after the flowers drop their seeds. But so far the flower has convinced me to leave it be. I have dill with mind control. That must be it.

I didn't take one of those "sweeping" photos of the front yard. But I did take a photo of the entrance to our yard. The zinnia bed sits in front of my neighbor's tomato patch. In previous years I grew taller 3' zinnias that fought it out with the neighbor's cherry tomatoes. With my zinnias going through the fence into his tomatoes and his tomatoes coming through the fence into my zinnias. It might be a more peaceful summer this year. These are only supposed to get half that tall. I got tired of propping up zinnias, and am hoping the shorter ones can keep themselves upright. Or if they do flop after a rain, maybe no one will notice as they are so close to the ground already.

While I was out weeding, guess what I saw? Isn't it gorgeous. I think I'll pick it tomorrow for dinner. Tonight I'm having my first fennel ever. I've never grown it before or cooked with it. I'm going to have it on a pizza no less. Caramelized fennel and onions with a little ham. I'm still trying to decide if fig jam or plum sauce would make a better pizza sauce for it. Any opinions?

I want to leave the rest of my fennel for seed. The packet I bought had barely any seed in it and I hear it can be a real weed if you let them go to seed. It reminds me of zinnia seed. The packet I first got was so tiny with only 25 seeds. It isn't like zinnia seeds are hard to harvest or don't put out a lot of easy to collect seed. So why only 25 seeds? Since then I've just saved it myself. But Seed to Seed says that Florence fennel can't be grown for seed in the northeast. Is this true? Has anyone else been successful here? I've found a couple of mistakes in that book that say you can or can't do something here that I disagree with (not that I remember what they were, but I do remember disagreeing with it as I read it, probably out loud too). So maybe they are wrong with that too?

If you live in the northeast and have grown fennel for seed, let me know. If there are any tricks, I'd love to know that too. But I can always try stressing the plant out. Growing guides say not to transplant as it makes the plant bolt. Hmm I can do that if necessary. I hate mistreating them that way though if I don't have to.


  1. The broccoli is pretty as is all your photos. Mr broccoli doesn't seem to be doing too good this year which makes me sad.

  2. Those zinnias are beautiful...I'm looking forward to the day when I have more of a handle on the vegetable garden so that I can dabble a bit into the flower side of things. That head of broccoli is looks amazing! Broccoli didn't make it into my spring garden - I am just starting transplants for fall; hopefully I'm giving them enough time.

  3. Beautiful garden, Daphne!

  4. That head of broccoli looks picture perfect! It's still really humid here. I'd take a break if we could get it.

  5. Your broccoli looks gorgeous! Perfectly shaped. My zinnias aren't looking as nice as yours. Mine are a bit stressed at the moment. I started my first batch way too early this year and had to chuck them. Then my second batch didn't transplant well. Maybe I'll try starting them in soil blocks next year.

  6. I don't know about fennel in the NE, but mine always seems to tend to bolt rather than form nice "bulbs". I think I try to grow them too close together. I think they do tend to bolt if they are less than perfectly happy.

    Sweet Alyssum gets to run rampant around my garden as well, I find it so hard to weed it out when I see all the good bugs that are buzzing around it. And I like its sweet scent too.

    Your garden looks wonderful now.

  7. Your garden is beautiful! There is an AMAZING recipe for braised fennel in one of the Moosewood cookbooks (I believe it's Moosewood Restaurant New Classics).

  8. That's so beautiful! really amazing job that you did in all around. Love that huge broccoli and gorgeous flowers.

  9. It seems that before several years ago (or maybe a decade or two ago?), seed packets always contained a generous amount of seed. Nowadays I often open a packet and go, Is that all there is?? I think they must be trying to avoid people saving half or 2/3 of the packet for following years.