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Quite Contrary Gardens

how does your garden grow?

Category Archives: Kitchen

No flowers in today’s photo!

These babies are my White Wonder heirloom watermelons ripening on the vine. This is a small, icebox-sized melon, 3 to 8 pounds. The flesh is snow white with a unique, fruity taste.

 White watermelons were developed from wild African strains and were popular in the 19th century. White Wonders are delicate and the rinds crack easily, so you’ll never find them in the supermarket. You have to grow these babies yourself or look for them at your local farmer’s market.

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Every year I like to try something new in the garden.  Or rather, many, many new things.  I guess I’m fickle, but there are only a handful of veggies that I absolutely must plant every single year, like my beloved Louisiana Long Green eggplant.

Otherwise, I like to experiment.  New flavors, new textures, new colors, I’m all about the new.  This year I’m trying Long Purple Cayennes, Pepino melons, Black Futsu squash, White Wonder watermelons, and Tatume squash for the first time.  The Tatume is the only one close to eating thus far.  This cute little Curcubita pepo is from Mexico and is/was quite popular in the American Southwest, though it is becoming harder and harder to find from what I understand.  The plant is vining and very vigorous, putting down roots where the nodes touch the ground– a life-saving strategy in the arid climate it comes from and a healthy boon here in the Mid Atlantic.  So far this season, the plants are doing well under the onslaught of rain, rain and more rain.  No borers, just a squash bug or two sighted.  This first little squash at right should be ready to pick in a day or so when it reaches the size of a tennis ball.  I understand they are delicious, great baked or stuffed. 

I’ll be sure to report back with a full and happy belly.

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My accidental radish crop* is starting to pour in and I’m looking for ways to prepare and preserve.  One great recipe I found linked to on the Little Homestead in the City blog is Sweet Radish Relish.  The original recipe calls for daikons, but regular radishes work just fine.  Cover the diced radish with salt and let rest in a colander for about 1 hour, rinse, drain and let dry.  Heat one part sugar and one part rice vinegar to a boil (use about 1 cup each per pound of radish).  Pack the diced and salted radishes into sterilized jars, pour in the brine, refrigerate for about one day.  Then eat!  The relish keeps about two weeks this way, or it can be processed and canned like pickles to preserve longer.

*My accidental radishes started coming up between the tomatoes last month.  I never planted them!  They’re most certainly leftovers from last year’s crop of White Icicles that decided not to germinate until this Spring.

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This cute little elfin strawberry is tiny but wonderfully flavorful.

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Despite the cool, wet spring and the late start, there are vegetables coming along in the garden after all. This Chinese Yellow Cucumber should be ready to harvest soon.

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