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This is a panoramic of the roof garden taken just this week. There are a lot more plants out there then I was able to get into a composite. Unfortunately with the gazebo top on I could not shoot the photos from above, perched high up on a ladder like I did for the before image. As far as Project The Best and Most Ass Kicking the Roof Garden Has Ever Been, EVER 2008 is concerned I think things are well underway. One of my challenges for this year was to Eliminate All Messes. I’m not quite there yet but I have managed to reign it in by strategically placed furniture that acts as holding pens for the junk. I only just managed to get most of the transplant chaos alleviated so more attention to aesthetics will be coming up shortly.
I recently did an interview with REV Magazine that is now up on their site. I love what they wrote in the introduction about how I complain about the weather. Because I do, don’t I? Quite a lot actually. But I want you to know that I withheld this week and didn’t tell you about THE HAIL. In an act of progress that shows that I am rolling with the punches and conceding to less need for control I did not bring up the tiny balls of ice that plummeted to the ground threatening my basil in the last days of the month of June! And then the next day was hot and sweaty — a proper summer.
Okay, to confess I did complain about it in the forums.
I am still working on getting warm season transplants into the community garden plot. I’m still working on same on the roof for that matter. I was a little gun shy this spring, following on the heels of last year’s June 5 Curcubit killing cold snap. While that didn’t happen this year, I was relieved to have played it safe when a reader wrote in reporting a snowfall on June 11 in their part of North America. June 11! The horrors!
Regardless of timing, one thing is for sure: the onion harvest is out of control! I’ve always been fortunate when it comes to onions but I’ve hit some kind of personal record this year and it is only June. I foresee a lot of onions in our future, especially given that I planted more onion sets a while back, and have a whole tray of onion seedlings sitting out on the roof waiting to be planted.
If you look at early spring shots of my community garden it looks like I am growing an onion and garlic garden more than anything. I mentioned that I would be pulling many of them up, replacing them with new warm season transplants as planting got underway. Well…. earlier this week on one such occasion I brought back an entire box of onions. And I brought another box back last night. I know I’m writing this like it is some kind of blight but I am an actually embarrassingly proud. Last night I walked my bike back from the community garden, careful to avoid spilling my bounty all over the street and proud as a peacock secretly hoping someone would exclaim, “Wow look at all those onions!” To which I would proudly reply, “Yep. Grew them myself. And this is only the half of them!” And then I would hand them a bunch. Because I’m onion wealthy and I like to spread the love. This all played out in my head like a King of Kensington-style fantasy sequence. Except in my version I’m the Onion Queen of Parkdale. In real life I walked silently with nary a sideways glance from passing neighbours and arrived home to an empty building. It was another 30 minutes before my neighbour knocked on the door for coffee and I could finally turn to the giant box waiting in the hall and shout, “Dude, check out my onions!”
And I’m not done yet. Nope, there are currently craploads of full-sized bunching onions left in spaces that I will be replacing with some of the straggling transplants this weekend. We are about to experience an onion gold rush over here! And if bunching onions were worth their weight in gold we’d be selling out and moving to a cliff side house with an ocean view. Except in reality that box of onions might fetch a couple of dollars at best and we’re really just standing around starring at it and wondering what to do with such an enormous bounty. I’ve already roasted a a few and have considered pickling a few more. One reader suggested Korean Scallion Pancakes. That sounds delicious and we will definitely be trying those this weekend.
Since you all had such wonderful, creative ideas for using rhubarb I have to ask, What do you do with your onion bonanza? I’m especially asking about the bunching onions because they have a lot of greens and I’d like to use those if I can rather than just tossing them into the compost.
I came up with this idea while on assignment for Budget Living magazine. The idea was approved but sadly the magazine folded shortly thereafter and I was never able to see this concept to fruition.
The editor had asked me to come up with something for wedding season, a request that kind of made me laugh inside at the time because here is where I admit something that will either horrify and alienate a percentage of my readers and/or limit my future potential revenue stream: I don’t care for weddings.
I know they’re really just big, fancy parties but even big, fancy parties are a bit too ostentatious for my taste. I like to have fun, just not when that fun comes at the expense of truly enjoying myself or you know, spending money I don’t have. And the pressure. Weddings are so rife with pressure. The warnings are numerous. This is the most important day of your life, they scream. So it HAD BETTER be perfect! I’ve experienced a lot of drama at weddings over this false premise. During my one and only (never AGAIN) poorly executed maid-of-honor appointment I had to talk the bride off several proverbial ledges over what I thought were inconsequential details like, say, the colour of the fabric that the ring pillow would be made from. It HAD to match perfectly, don’t you see? Except the thing is, it did match perfectly.
Rhubarb has come into season here in the cold north, and while I can’t say I’m much of a fan, my spouse is — I suppose its only fair that he gets to have something he likes every once and a while.
I’ve never grown rhubarb so I can’t tell you much about how to grow it except to say that if you live in the right climate it doesn’t seem to take much work. Growing up, it seemed anyone with a yard had a massive clump of rhubarb tucked into a back corner or next to a shed. Even the most untended yards, occupied by discarded household appliances and car parts, and home to extremely negligent residents managed to keep an old rhubarb (probably the remnant of a long gone former tenant) alive with barely a glance in its direction. While I figure rhubarb isn’t a particularly taxing plant to manage, we just don’t have the space to commit to a large, leafy plant whose season comes and goes in a heartbeat.
Every spring I buy a few stalks at the farmer’s market. While I don’t love the tartness, I can’t seem to resist those pretty, bright red stalks! And if you mix them up with the right ingredients rhubarb is actually kind of tasty.
Notes: You can double the Crisp Topping mix if you like a thick and crunchy topping. I added ginger and orange juice because we had some kicking around that was about to go off. It makes a very interesting flavor but of course you can omit both or all and still turn out a great tasting crisp.
- 2 cups diced rhubarb stalks
- 2 apples (peeled, cored and chopped)
- 2 cups diced fresh strawberries
- 1/8 tsp fresh grated or finely chopped ginger
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or agave syrup (dry sugar works too)
- Juice of 1/4 of an orange (optional)
- 1 tbps flour
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup spelt flakes or oatmeal
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup brown sugar (The amount depends on what you are used to. I use less because we eat very little sugar)
- 1/3 cup of cold, cubed butter
- pinch of powdered ginger
Chopped and diced fruit.
1. Place filling ingredients in a bowl and toss until the fruit is coated.
2. Dump ingredients into a 9″ square or round baking dish.
3. Combine crisp topping ingredients in a food processor. Mix until crumbly. Break up any large chunks of butter with a fork.
4. Spread the crisp topping evenly over the surface of the dish, covering all the fruit.
5. Bake at 350F until the topping is brown and the fruit is tender.
6. Serve warm or cold. It tastes good no matter how you eat it.
I’ve been spending a lot of time looking at this scene lately. Just standing still for minutes at a time staring into what is quickly becoming known as The Abyss. Staring and thinking. Thinking about where these plants will go. Thinking about which of these plants will have to be given away. Trying to keep in mind that there are other plants that haven’t even made it to the outdoor Staging Area/Holding Pen/The Abyss yet. And that those plants will also need a space to grow, live, flourish, make delicious eats.
Probably the biggest plant placement dilemma I am facing right now is finding a space for these ‘Painted Lady’ sweet pea seedlings I started in a moment of Hopeful Optimism/Garden Size Dysmorphic Syndrome. I have been staring at that cluster of seedlings all week hoping that the perfect place will magically appear by sheer force of will. Because that’s how it works right? Just like some kind of The Secret-like scheme, but for gardeners.
Gah! I just can’t let them go!