A Tangled Garden in Tok

A few weeks of neglect while traveling let the vegetable garden overgrow and go to seed a bit, but despite the neglect, the rain and the limited sun this summer, our garden’s yield has been pretty good. Just a few photos from the other day.

Ended up making a fresh pico de gallo with the tomatoes and a jalapeno along with a cucumber (store bought organic) and an onion (also store bought). Delish! The only downside: the peas this year are woody. Now what can I do with several gallons of carrots? The swiss chard was easy – the whole bunch sauteed was a perfect side dish for three for a single meal.

All in an Alaska summer’s growing season.

How did your vegetable garden fare this year?

From the vegetable garden in Tok

We got an earlier start this year to our vegetable garden. Actually my husband did all the work this year, and we’re slowly reaping the rewards. The only thing not from our garden in this picture is the tomato.

Here we have chives, a killer zucchini, radishes, spinach, swiss chard, mixed greens and lambs quarter. You can eat all the lambs quarter – tastes great sauteed – and even eat the flowers which taste fine raw.

What are you growing in your garden?

Radishes Thrive in Tok!

IMG_0370I don’t know how they’ve done it, but my poorly planted radishes have really come through in our vegetable garden this summer. By poorly planted, I mean that I didn’t know how to put the practically-microscopic seeds into the ground and ended up clumping them together.

Despite their crowded digs, they are thriving and pushing out of the ground when plump and ready. I’ve already threatened to plant nothing but radishes next year although the snap peas are looking like they’ll produce a nice bounty in a few weeks, too.

The rest of what I’ve planted was choked mercilessly by the chickweed invasion although in the process of weeding one patch, I did identify the carrots straining to poke through and spent several hours yanking chickweed to let them breathe. So far, they are still growing.

But I can’t find any thyme, basil, sage, lavender, chives, onions, chard, or spinach as I continue to pull carpets of chickweed from the beds. I keep hoping to see some of their leaves poking through in a valient attempt at life.

What can I do next year to keep the evil chickweed at bay? Or should I just go with it and learn how to harvest chickweed?

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Got Rhubarb?

IMG_0354We interrupt this program for an advertisement for…free rhubarb!

We have been blessed with an abundant patch of rhubarb that is thriving despite the chickweed invasion in our vegetable garden. And I haven’t harvested any of it.

So rather than waste this amazing produce, I’d like to give it away to anyone in the area in need of some rhubarb.

Would you like some? Or do you know someone who would?

If so, please email me via this blog with your contact information so we can arrange having you stop by and taking whatever you can use. And maybe I might get the courage up to use some myself. Someone has already provided me with several tasty recipes. Maybe having someone passionate about rhubarb stop by is just what I need to get motivated!

We now resume our regularly scheduled program.

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How Does Your Garden Grow…in Tok?

IMG_0893I used to have a brown thumb. I’m not really sure if my thumb was actually a brown one or if my brain just wasn’t tuned into plants, and therefore I forgot about them, and therefore they died. As I child, I had a vegetable garden and loved plucking fresh veggies from the vine. But looking back now, I realize that in the same way parents end up taking care of a child’s first pet, my folks took care of that garden to make those vegetables happen.

Fast forward to today. I have a beautiful yard here in Tok, and the woman who lived here before me had the greenest thumb. There is evidence of extraordinary plant-life and edible things all over now that the snow has melted. And I’m intimidated. No, I’m afraid. Very afraid. Because I just don’t think I can live up to any of it.

I got a call the other day from a lovely woman who asked about the greenhouse in my backyard.

“Yes, I have one. Did you need to use it? You’re welcome to it!” I offered, feeling very neighborly.

Awkward pause.

IMG_0894“Well, I was going to see if you’d like some tomato plants. I’ve started some, and you could put them in your greenhouse…”

I was at a loss. Me, tomato plants, greenhouse? I couldn’t make a connection. Yes, I saw that cute little greenhouse in the back yard but hadn’t even thought of using it. In fact, when my husband started cleaning it out, pulling last year’s dead things out of it, I asked him why he was doing it.

“So you can use it,” he replied, all proud in that “I’m checking things off my To-Do list” sort of way.

“But why? I don’t…want to use it,” I confessed. Using it meant doing stuff with plants that I just don’t know how to do and am not sure I have time to do or the memory to remember to do. Or the energy.

“What? I cleared out this whole garden for you! I thought you wanted a vegetable garden!” He was visibly dismayed.

“Honey, I think I want the IDEA of a vegetable garden. I want the fruits of the labor of a garden without the labor,” I explained, just figuring out the truth myself at that very moment. I explained how the fantasy of a vegetable garden has been with me since childhood but that my parents probably did all the hard work.

“I thought you wanted it,” he said, now thoroughly confused.

“Well, I did plant seeds!” I reassured him. “Although I can’t remember what I planted or where.”

And that was the truth. I spent several hours carefully digging holes and putting seeds into the ground then meant to write down what I was planting and where but after a few hours, I had completely forgotten. So now I have a Mystery Garden.

I’m also noticing that my garden beds are covered with a green something – probably a weed, maybe chickweed – that will most likely choke any of the great things I’ve planted putting all that effort (and it was effort as I strained, panted, sweated, and cursed) planting seeds. I’m completely paralyzed since I don’t know what it is or what to do about it.

Yes, I know, probably just pull it out. But look at the picture!! It is like a blanket already! Then again, I do love pulling weeds. I could pull weeds for hours. I find weed pulling to be a very zen activity, and my brain is in constant and desperate need of zen.So maybe I really do have it in me to do this gardening stuff.

P.S. We have those tomato plants plus a pepper plant I purchased from Patsy’s on Borealis. Hubby is “hardening up” the plants (a new term I learned last night while reading The Edible Garden), and they should be in the greenhouse in a few weeks).

IMG_0892  IMG_0891

Anyone know what that green stuff is and how best (without bad chemicals) to rid my garden of it? And if it is edible, how best to harvest and prepare it?