through the tomatillo jungle... beyond the corn forest...

Bopping around the garden is my favorite way to end the day this time of year. The kids wiggle and play and dig, the grownups talk and unwind, we munch on whatever there is to munch on, and when we head inside for bed it's with a happy sigh. Notes from this week...

:: I want to grow these cabbages until the end of time. They are perfect, tiny little cabbages, just 1 lb each, good for a pot of soup or a batch of cole slaw without having a pesky half-head of cabbage leftover in the crisper, which you have to stare at guiltily every time you open the fridge because you just can't figure out what to do with it. Or maybe that's just me.

:: Ground cherries. GROUND CHERRIES. How have I never heard of these before?? They look like tomatillos, but smaller. The husks turn brown when they're ripe, and you can pop the fruit right into your mouth whenever the mood strikes... which is frequently. They're tart-sweet and wonderful. I'm dying to bake with some, but I only planted 3 bushes and that's turned out to be not enough just for garden munching. I read about them in Little Heathens and about jumped out of my pants when I saw them in the Baker Creek catalog. Next time, I'm thinking, like, a hedgerow.

:: We have harvested (and eaten) about half of our La Ratte potatoes. They are tiny and yummy and so so fun to dig up. Tonight we had a wonderful little vegetable soup that used up onion, garlic, thyme, cabbage, carrots, and potatoes from the garden. I love the thrill this time of year of running out to the garden with bare feet while the onions are sizzling in the pot to grab a fat onion or a handful of parsley.

:: Next time...no lawn between beds. R can't mow without hacking everything to pieces, so it's going to jungle in there. I have been loving The Vegetable Gardener's Guide to Permaculture lately and have all kinds of visions for next time, like mulched paths and keyhole beds.

The season is starting to wind down for us up north, but I am looking forward to keeping this little space going, hopefully until the ground freezes, with some more cool-weather crops.


strawberry cream cake + happy birthday to the little man.

Oh, you guys. You need this cake in your life. I hereby resolve to make this cake once every summer until I die. Simple, spongy, flavorful vanilla cake, fresh strawberry halves with more minced strawberries and stovetop-reduced juices hidden inside, and whipped cream/cream cheese/vanilla bean frosting... sigh. It's so good.

The little man is 1 today. He is pulling himself up, getting into everything (especially his sister's toys), cutting more teeth, and being true to his serious little self. I can't believe it's already been a year. How did this happen?