Glorious Growing Season

We have developed a ritual here on Payne Street when we arrive home.  Our driveway is at the back of the house so we have to come in through the gate and the garden is right there waving at us when we come in so we both stop and look at what has changed in the hours since we saw it last.  It can take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes but I have noticed that we both do it.  Tonight we both came in and it seemed everything had grown inches since we saw it last.  This rain and warm weather is kicking those sweet little baby starter plants into full grown up-ready-to-be-harvested adults.  Oh friends, the growing season is here and I am beside myself with joy!! 

This past weekend Steven took on the monumental task of hand tilling the additional garden space-yes I said hand tilling.  I do not know why he did it by hand, but not only is he a brute, he is also a genius (another one of those reasons I love him).  When we tilled with a tiller last year, all of the sod (I use that term verrrrry loosely.  More like weeds that were green) was tilled up with it and it just kept growing once the roots took hold again.  It was a pain in the ass all season.  The weeds just never ended.  THIS time, he took up all of the sod, leaving nothing but black gold dirt, ready to take on whatever lovely plants want to go in it.  I filled bags with the dug up sod and tried to stay out of his way.  The garden Phase II will be finished this week.  I grin every time I think about it.  The garden has officially doubled, good people.

There are two flats of veggies waiting patiently to go in the ground.  I ordered an INSANE amount of tomatoes (fundraiser for a friend's football kiddo.  I am a sucker for plants and football teams) and have 12 plants already in the ground in the back garden space and another 12 waiting to go into the front space and then bought two more plants yesterday (I can't help it!  They were a yellow tomato and a Mr. Stripey.  I HAD to have them).  I am canning for sure.  Stop by if you need tomatoes.  For all that's good and holy, PLEASE stop by and get tomatoes.  I also got about 10 different pepper plants, 2 cucumber plants, a butternut squash plant, and a cantaloupe plant of the "Goddess" variety (I would buy any plant or food named that).  They were out of sweet potato sets and sugar baby watermelons. Those will go into the back garden after all of the lettuce and greens are finished in addition to new onion and garlic sets (who knew garlic took 11 months?!?!) and green beans.

Saturday I was able to spend some cooking and seeing what was ready (red sails lettuce above) and I did a new Persian recipe from this month's Food and Wine that was fantastic; Mushroom Kufteh with Green Harissa and Asparagus Pesto.  Our local fruit market had the first of the Florida cantaloupes in and it was like summer in every bite.  I did a salad with the first of the baby greens from the garden, a honey, lime and lavender vinaigrette with cantaloupe and feta.  It did not suck.

The peonies have lost their mind and this arrangement is on my dining room table right now with about 50 blooms in it.  I LOVE SUMMER! 

I have exactly 6 days of school left.  6...more...days.  I keep telling myself that I can do anything for 6 days.  I can do 6 days standing on my head, for Heaven's sake!  Let's put it this way, I hope and pray I can do 6 days.  There will be much celebrating when those 6 days are done, friends, and you will all be the first to know.  Until then, I have a fantastic Memorial weekend planned with dinner out with my favorite people on Saturday and the first cove time of the season planned for Sunday.  Both a balm for a weary soul. 

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