Ring of Fire

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Ring of Fire is finally blooming. I love these sunflowers. They’re about as gorgeous as anything I’ve ever grown … and SO easy. If I had to pick another career, I think I would be a sunflower farmer. I just love them.

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I don’t know what variety this one is. Looks like Ice Queen, except I don’t recall planting that kind this year. Maybe I tossed a mixture out there and then forgot about it. Pretty, anyway.

This blog has finally lived up to its original purpose. I started it as a means of keeping some biological data on my yard. I got an e-mail from my mom today, asking whether I thought sunflowers would have time to come up and bloom in time for my sister’s wedding if she planted some around her gazebo now. A quick keyword search of the ol’ blog, and — voila! — I was able to confirm that we had blooms two months from our planting date. And you all thought I was just running my mouth across cyberspace for no reason. 😉

Our beans are producing like you can’t believe. We pulled about half a pound of snaps off the Trail of Tears plants. The Jacob’s Cattle beans are coming along nicely — big pods swollen with beans. They’re pretty things: big white seeds with dark splotches like a Holstein cow. We’ll let them dry and then cook them in the Crock-Pot with some of that good salt-cured slab bacon from the Totem Pole Trading Post on Route 66 in Rolla, Mo.

I didn’t harvest this year’s soybeans fast enough to use them for edamame, but they’re drying fast. I’ll let them dry and plant them next year. Might clear that patch after harvest and plant spinach there. If I can put my hands on some bricks, I’ll make a nice raised bed/cold frame thing like we had in Belleville. I once grew my own salad all winter using a cold frame made of old bricks with Frost-King plastic stretched over the top. The bricks absorbed heat from the sun all day and kept the plants warm enough to survive at night.

Here is something I have learned about gardening: The best tomatoes are the ugliest. We have grown four or five different purple tomato varieties over the years. They are always bigger, juicier, more productive, and more flavorful than the red ones. Ugly as sin — the best-tasting ones look like a giant bruise, all sick brownish-purple with green streaks around the shoulders — but they taste absolutely heavenly.

Hope your Sunday afternoon is beautiful and delicious. 🙂

Emily