Meet a Few of My Buds!

Reader Contribution by Carolyn Binder
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It is definitely an early spring at Cowlick Cottage Farm. This morning, I harvested the shallots that I planted last fall … a full month early. Those beautiful, pink orbs are taking a sunbath right now, drying out a bit.  Harvesting them is fun. Just take a trusty trowel and insert it deep under the entire shallot bunch. Then pop them out. Be careful not to damage the beautiful shallots! I’m going to make a shallot and lemon thyme vinaigrette to celebrate the harvest tonight. I love shallots, and the homegrown ones are ever so much more flavorful than what is available at the market (if you can even find them). 

A spectacular shallot harvest!

Before the shallot harvest, I took my customary morning stroll through the garden, camera and coffee in hand. Everything is coming up roses!  Take a look at some of my buds.

Baby Sungold Nectarine

This is our one-and-only nectarine from our brand new tree. I treasure it and check on it every day. We planted lots of fruit trees this year – a whole little grove, including Sungold nectarine, Satsuma, Ponderosa lemon, Meyer lemon, Key lime, and Pummelo. We already have Shinseiki pear, Alma and Celeste figs, and Flordahome peach trees in their second year. I am not expecting too much fruit from them this year. They are an investment in the future.  As the saying goes, the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The next best time is today!

The first tomato!

We have planted several varieties of tomatoes, mostly heirlooms. This is a little hybrid tomato called Totem. It is already loaded with fruit and will definitely be the first of the tomato harvest this year. I’ll probably dress it simply with Balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and sea salt. And a bit of fresh goat cheese and herbs. Can’t wait! We are also growing Black Cherry, Purple Cherokee, San Marzano, Homestead, and a few others. Tomatoes are like shoes…you cannot have too many!

Squash blossom

We also planted many varieties of squash…more than ever this year. There is butternut squash from our own saved seed, several varieties of heirloom pattypans, old-fashioned sugar pumpkins, and an heirloom lemon squash. We love them all.

Baby Huey and Ginger

Our chickens, the Spice Girls, are always nosy and curious about what we are doing. We get beautiful eggs from them every day, and we reciprocate with fresh treats from the garden. They devour everything from cabbage to strawberries and herbs. 

Spice Girl Eggs – Fresh Daily!

We had an abundance of eggs this week, so I used the gorgeous, rich yolks to make vanilla custard ice cream. With real vanilla bean and organic cream. Topped with barely whipped, rum-scented heavy cream. Because I’m just a little naughty!

Yolks for Vanilla Custard Ice Cream

And if that is not decadent enough for you, I am also harvesting strawberries, and it’s been a fantastic season for them. Deep red, large, and juicy, they are Jacob’s favorite. I’m preserving some today by making old-fashioned strawberry sauce…to crown the homemade ice cream. Ta-da! 

Camarosa Strawberries

On the ornamental side of things, the roses are amazing this year. Their color is incredibly vibrant. In my almost-wild side border, heaven-scented honeysuckle is clambering through the pink roses. Their sultry scents are heady and intoxicating. 

Rose and Honeysuckle

Coral geraniums are planted in our huge patio pots, along with sweet potato vine and ornamental red grasses. They should be gorgeous in a month or two!

Coral Geranium

  And a big pot of petunias with sweet potato vine and euphorbia greets family and friends at the back door.

Petunia and Euphorbia

Gardening is rewarding in so many ways. It feeds our senses, reconnects us to nature, and makes our spirits sing!  Gardens give us hope. Are you experiencing an early spring this year? What do you dream of growing?

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