Food In the Garden

Chuck b. at My back 40 (feet),, published a post dated 1/27/08, Gardens That Work, about his trip to a garden symposium of the same name. His personal description about the speakers and what they had to say about growing food in your garden spoke directly to Faire Garden’s core. Why are we using so much of the property here to only grow ornamentals? Food crops have beauty beyond the digestive kind. Lettuce and herbs are already grown amongst the flowers lending tastiness to the loveliness. It has been written previously that onions and garlic have been sown, see the post dated January 24, 2008. Both groups of onions have even germinated, the red marble , covered with the vermiculite and redwing, covered in chicken grit. Last year was the first time a full sun patch of ground was dedicated to food crops with the dispatch of the abominable Japanese privet hedge. The soil is like chocolate cake in this space between the arborvitae and chamaecyparis rows. Tomatoes, peppers, green pole beans, basil and parsley were great successes, even with the drought. Always looking for improvement, 2008 will feature more and better crops. Mentioned in chuck b.’s post was the summer squash, Magda. A quick google search located seeds offered by Parks Seed. Surprisingly a few other items were selected as well. ;-> The following photos and descriptions are from Parks.

Magda Hybrid Squash

So Early and Tasty it Leaves Other Summer Squash Hangin’ on the Vine!This Middle Eastern or Mediterranean type is strongly nutty and very rich!
50 days. If you haven’t tried Mediterranean Summer Squash yet, you don’t know what you’re missing! Unlike our rather bland summer varieties, Magda is full-bodied, tender, and almost nutty. And the plant is so productive, beginning the season early and then bearing steadily over a long time. This lovely Middle Eastern type is not only delicious, but economical and easy to grow!
Magda Hybrid begins to mature in early summer, just 50 days from sowing. The fruit is shorter and much plumper than zucchini, with a creamy-green skin and pure white interior. Scrumptious fresh or cooked, it makes a hearty meal, and is so strongly flavored that you can enjoy it plain, sprinkled with a bit of salt, or as a meat substitute in sauces.

Raspberry Heritage

This Classic Everbearing is Sweet and Firm, Even if Picked Late!A great choice for lengthening your harvest!
Heritage is a classic name in raspberries, a red variety with sweet flavor and great holding ability on the vine. Unlike some varieties, Heritage won’t fall to pieces if you delay picking the ripe fruit a day or two; it stays firm, juicy, and super-flavorful. Plants are very vigorous and resist Powdery Mildew

Raspberry Anne

The Best-Tasting Yellow RaspberryDeveloped by the cooperative breeding programs of Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Plant Patent #10,411. Hands-down the best-tasting yellow Raspberry, Anne is also highly productive, ripening at the same time as Heritage. The fruit is large, pale yellow, and super sweet, superb for eating fresh or for canning.
This Raspberry reaches about 4 feet tall, and appreciates a spring pruning for summer production or a complete cutback (it can be mowed down) for fall crops. Developed by the cooperative breeding program of 4 states (Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, and Wisconsin), it is widely adapted and very dependable, with extra-large, pale yellow berries in great numbers. Give it a try this season for a new look and extra-sweet flavor from your berry patch! Zones 4-10.

Petite Black Fig

This Dwarf Bears 2 Big Crops a Year!Fat, juicy black-skinned figs are an exotic treat you can grow right on the patio!
Few fruits are more meltingly soft, rich, and sweet than a ripe fig straight from the bush, and no fig is as easy to grow as this delightful dwarf. Small enough for an urban balcony, small patio, or accent planting right in the front yard, this hard-working tree offers not one but two full crops of yummy fruit every year! And even if it never set a fig, you’d fall in love with its elegant horizontal branching and large, hand-shaped foliage.
This naturally dwarf variety grows only 6 to 8 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide–perfect for a large container. It’s self-fertile, so you just need one, but this tree is such a charmer that we recommend you succumb to temptation and try a pair! They make a great impression flanking an entryway or marching up the steps to the porch!
The first year you’ll probably get one good crop, and from then on, it will set fruit first in July, then around late September. The large, black-skinned fruits are plump and lightly creased, with delicious, juicy dark red flesh. Even if you’re not a fig-lover, this tree is worth its weight in gold for the birds it brings to your garden!
Lovely from early spring through fall, its slender trunk and nicely layered, widely-spaced branches stand out beautifully against the large, dark green, maple-like lobed foliage. The perfect edible ornamental, this dwarf is a showstopper in any setting! If you live north of zone 7, bring it indoors when freezing weather sets in; elsewhere, it will safely winter outside. Zones 7-10

The raspberry bushes and fig tree have been planned additions since last fall. There is a round stone walled spot at the end of the bed that is visible from the addition recliner so often inhabited by this gardener. Fig leaves are beautifully shaped and turn a lovely dark shadowy purple in fall. The fruit is attractive, the birds will love any we aren’t able to consume ourselves, it is the perfect exclamation point to our edible lanscape.

Salivating at the thought of overripe figs,

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24 Responses to Food In the Garden

  1. chuck b. says:

    “The soil is like chocolate cake in this space between the arborvitae and chamaecyparis rows.”

    That’s one of the best sentences that has ever been written on a garden blog!

    I’m not done reading your post yet…back in a minute.

  2. chuck b. says:

    You know Frances, you should consider hosting a Garden Blogger Harvest Day. Like Carol does with Bloom Day, but for vegetables. It would be a service to garden bloggers everywhere, and a major contribution to the blogosphere. Plus it would give Faire Garden TONS of web traffic. 🙂

    People could talk about what varieties of vegetables they’ve chosen to grow, and why, how they deal with pests, what’s worked and what doesn’t. People could see what others are growing in their zones and be inspired to push the limits of what they’ve tried.

    I don’t have the commitment to establishing blog traditions, but you do and would be perfect for it.

    Think about it. And say yes! 🙂

  3. Frances says:

    chuck b…HA, you are a flatterer and it is so very appreciated, makes my heart palpitate in fact..BUT my commitment is probably equal to yours, if you say it is lacking. I am not the type to organize anything except myself and my usually needing prodding family. It is really unlike me to even be going to the Spring Fling in Austin, but going I am. So much to learn and see. The veggie idea is a great one, and I would definitely participate, but don’t want the responsibility of being in charge. Maybe someone will read this comment and take it upon themselves to go with it. Truly it is a wonderful idea, but not for moi. Thanks though.

  4. chuck b. says:

    Oh, well. Have fun at Spring Fling. I’m unable to attend but I’m sure it will be a blast anyway.


  5. Frances says:

    chuck b…It would be more of a blast if you were attending. ;-<

  6. chuck b. says:

    “The fruit is large, pale yellow, and super sweet, superb for eating fresh or for canning.”

    Do home gardeners can things? Berries are generally just frozen, aren’t they?

    Do you bottle or pickle? That’s something I want to try this year My mom used to make plum jam from our trees. It was always made such a huge mess in the kitchen and stained everything. Maybe my mom was inordinately messy.

  7. Frances says:

    chuck b…People around here do canning and pickling, supplies for this are sold everywhere, jars, lids, etc. I freeze anything that is more than we can eat fresh, tomato sauce and green beans from last year, pesto freezes well if you have a lot of basil. Use ice cube trays for the pesto and just pop a cube into whatever you want, soups, stews. Plum jam is my most favorite, my grandmother made it with what looked like a still on her back porch. It had tubing that went in a loop on top. Good moms are messy sometimes. I can’t imagine the raspberries will even make it into the house, they are best warm from the sun and eaten as picked. Yum.

  8. Diane says:

    I love all that you’ve shown in this post. I am one of those who actually thoroughly enjoys all the zucchini in my garden. Love the name (that’s my daughter-in-laws name). We have had golden raspberries for years and they are by far my favourites. This year the dogs ate every one of the reds.

    PS: Thanks for faving me at Blotanical … I can’t get it to work half the time so I’m thanking you here in case I don’t make it back there again for a while.
    Alberta Postcards

  9. Frances says:

    Diane…welcome and thanks. At first I thought you meant your d-i-l’s name was zuchinni, HA, rather than Magda, a lovely name. That is good to hear about the yellow berries, can’t wait. Blotanical is finicky for me too. Surely they will get it running more smoothly soon.

  10. jodi says:

    delicious! I’ve never eaten a fresh fig, Frances, but I’m told that once one has, you can never look at a dried fig quite the same way. I suppose it’s like dried and fresh apricots. And raspberries are a very favourite…I don’t grow them, but maybe one of these days I’ll have chocolate cake soil everywhere in the yard instead of just in parts of the perennial beds. One can dream…

  11. Frances says:

    jodi…One time while shopping at an herb farm in South Carolina the owner invited us to taste a fig off her tree. The fruit was dripping off the stem it was so ripe. It melted in your mouth with decadent sweetness. Unforgettable. Chocolate cake soil seems perfect for food growing, don’t you agree?

  12. chickenpoet says:

    Mazal Tov to you and your creativitiy. Those raspberries are gorgeous, and I can’t wait to see how they turn out. I would like to try a veggie garden, but it would just serve as a free buffet for the skunks, raccoons, and possoms. I keep flip-flopping on making that spot for veggies or to extend my chicken coop for more laying hens.

  13. Frances says:

    chickenpoet…Thanks. You would probably have to fence a veggie patch, but think of the good compost you can add to the soil.

  14. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Yummmm Frances, you are making me hungry with all this food talk. Chocolate cake for dessert too!

    I wish I could grow figs. My 6b garden is sometimes forced to be 5a and it would never work.

    Our raspberries struggle here too. I haven’t figured out why. Maybe not enough sun.

  15. Frances says:

    Lisa…Chocolate cakes sounds pretty good right now. These are all new for me so we will see if the fig makes it. We have wild blackberries everywhere, so the new berries should be allright. How is the PH of your soil, just guessing if that would make a difference with your raspberries.

  16. mashley says:

    mrs. Faire Queen: your offspring and i can’t wait to start digging out our new-and-improved veggie plot. we’ve got some pole beans, but i was wondering what kind of tomato recommendations you might have? the better boys i grew last year were GREAT for salsa, salads, eaten raw, ect. but a little too tart for sauces. is there a variety of roma that would make good pasta sauce? i’m already banking on the fact that the yellow pears come back by the hundreds (hoping, anyway!). Food is where my heart lies, so being able to produce my own through another great hobbie is so exciting! -i’ll make a chocolate cake next time we meet up…
    p.s. the seedlings and indoor plants are cheering for us from under their new indoor greenhouse!

  17. Frances says:

    mashley…good work with the greenhouse! Romas are supposed to be the best sauces tomato, I just get whatever looks healthy at the store. Your local nurseries can help with info. I have saved seeds from Cherokee purple, the best tasting for straight up eating, it is an heirloom so should be true to the parent. I have started lettuce and spinach today in the greenhouse. I want some sugar snap peas also, an early crop. Can’t wait for that chocolate cake! Love.

  18. chuck b. says:

    I decided to buy Magda squash seed too, and also this fig. So now we have some plants in common. 🙂

  19. Frances says:

    chuck b…Who could resist squash that has a nutty taste? Last year was a terrible year for squash here, squash vine borer plus drought equals buy it at the grocery. Your climate should be perfect for the fig, we’ll see about zone 7a.

  20. chuck b. says:

    Figs do do well. I already have one, now I’ll have two. 🙂 There are several more in the yards around mine. I think they feed mice mostly.

  21. Frances says:

    chuck b…We have mice around the large brush pile behind the arborvitae, the figs will not be for them, I hope!

  22. Diana says:

    ok – You’ve inspired me to add strawberries to my vegetable garden. My daughter love them and we eat them almost every week when we can. And I love Chuck’s idea of a veggie day — you should do it! Maybe we will all gang up on you here at the Spring Fling and persuade you! It sounds like lots of fun… Can’t wait to see everyone here.

  23. Frances says:

    Diana…Good deal. We were just looking at the stawberry plants just arrived at the big box store here. Not sure about what type to buy, but we love them also. Someone, anyone else is welcome to do a veggie day, that is not my niche, but I would love to join in the postings. Yes looking forward to April in Austin.

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