Sunday, July 13, 2008


Wow! The weather cooperated and everything has doubled in size overnight. The number of blooms on the tomato plants promises a great harvest. My pepper plants are covered in mini bells.

This is the first year I have grown shungiku, the edible chrysanthemum. While I really like the blooms, the rest of the plant looks ratty. I think the trick is to keep harvesting the stems and blooms. One plant gets afternoon shade and stays more compact. It looks less weedy than the plants that are in full sun all day. Other than that, the sunny flowers are an inch in diameter and most have creamy yellow tips on the ray flowers and a golden orange center. I have some that are completely orange. My guess is that they must cross with other daisy-like flowers lending itself to the variation.

I'm still unsure how to use the shungiku in my cooking. I'm making a curry tonight. Maybe I'll slip in a few leaves and see how it turns out. Any suggestions you may have would be great!

My Italian sage has filled out its pot. I made muffins last week with blueberry and sage. The recipe I used called for too much sage. They tasted soapy like when you use too much lavender in a recipe. A little goes a long way. It could be the leaves I picked were too old, or I waited too long to use them. Next time I'll try using just one tablespoon and the younger leaves from the plant. Try adding it to your next batch of blueberry muffins or even pancakes. If you harvest them way in advance before adding them to the mix, place them in a little vase to keep them fresh.

The radishes got away from me this year. I tried the French Breakfast type which are beautiful for showing them off in an hors d’oeuvres tray. A friend of mine whipped sweet cream butter, sea salt, and herbs; transfered the mixture into a pastry bag and pipped it onto havled radishes. Voila! Fancy yet so easy. Make sure to trim off the ends with a knife so your radishes don't run away from you. I suggest using the 'Pistou' basil since it requires minimum chopping.

And speaking of 'Pistou' basil--it is such a cute addition to my garden this year. I'd actually like to call it "Boxwood Basil" since they look like miniature boxwood. They're much tastier. Line these cuties up along the edge of your raised beds to give a finished look to your veggie plot. Don't worry, it won't look too formal.

I caught a bumblebee sleeping on one of my plants the other day.

I better get back to the mayhem in my garden. I'm crossing my fingers so that everyone will have red tomatoes this year!