May 23, 2011

Fava Beans, Peas and Blackberries, Oh My!

My dear friends, I am so sorry to have neglected you! I would love to write you a wonderful post about cooking- but my refrigerator died last week. We have been living out of the bar's mini fridge, full of vermouth and beer, and now, milk and string cheese... Needless to say, there's not a lot of cooking going on at the old La Dolce Duchessa household... But there is a lot of gardening action!

Check it out, garden beds! My husband made these two really cool garden beds- they are 4' x 8' and on the inside there are posts with pieces of pipe- you can use these pipes to rig up net covers- like to keep out birds. I predict we will be using these to guard the strawberries... The bottom of the beds have hardware cloth (this is actually like wire mesh) and two layers of weed cloth. This will hopefully keep the weeds and grass beneath getting through to a minimum. Hooray! Garden beds!

We don't yet have the dirt in the garden beds, so for now, they are a good place to play! The formal living room has for the last month or so been taken over by seedlings- here's what's growing in there that has been germinated from seeds: sage, plum tomatoes, yellow pear cherry tomatoes, cherokee purple tomatoes, green zebra tomatoes, specked roman tomatoes, sage, sweet orange bell peppers, tomatillos, chives, habanero peppers, de arbol peppers, lavender, mint, chinese lantern, poblano peppers, basil, thai basil (a flavor with hints of licorice), butternut squash, lemon cucumbers (round and yellow with a citrus-y flavor), regular cucumbers, parsley, watermelon, cantaloupe (apparently what's called cantaloupe in the US is actually a musk melon, true cantaloupes are too delicate to ship), guajillo chiles and numex chiles (I think these are actually anaheim or something similar). There's probably others I am leaving out... I take them out into the sun outside for a little longer each day, this is 'hardening them off,' they are so little and new that they can't withstand full sunlight. (Their little leaves would burn!)

I am happy to report the fava beans and peas are going crazy- we've got bean pods and pea pods forming on both! The blackberries have some berries forming and the meyer lemon tree has literally burst to life with leaves, tiny fruits and fragrant gorgeous blossoms- they smell like a really great Sauvingnon Blanc from New Zealand with none of the cat pee... Just kidding, I love New Zealand Sauvingnon Blanc, but my husband and I are taking a wine class and we just covered that varietal and there was the observation that it had notes of cat pee...

We're looking forward to harvesting some fava beans and peas soon. Things can't be all peachy all the time- so I'm sorry to report the rose leaves are being devoured by something... Possibly cicadas? Which are EVERYWHERE... When we go outside I am afraid they are going to lift up our little boy and carry him off!

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