Foraging Season Is Upon Us!

Our neighbor’s mulberry tree is off the hook this spring! We are in full-on mulberry foraging season here in central Indiana, and everyone is happy about it – the humans, the chickens, and even the dog, who, it turns out, quite likes mulberries, too. We get the biggest bang for the buck from their tree, since most of the branches actually grow over our yard. Thanks, neighbors!

20130601. Backyard foraging - mulberries from the neighbor's tree.

Also, while we’re on the topic of urban foraging, check out this amazing map and website, Falling Fruit, which aims to identify foraging spots from around the world, down to fruit/vegetable type and street location. You can even add your own favorite foraging spots – although if it gets too popular, you might find a crowd camped out under your favorite mulberry tree next season!

Americanism, Beets, and the Long Weekend

Here in Indianapolis, Memorial Day weekend is kind of a big deal. You see, not only do many people get three days off and the chance to barbecue/burn their faces off, drink too much cheap beer, and perhaps bust out the tents along with the rest of this great nation, but the largest single-day sporting event in the world also occurs tomorrow. In the blazing summer heat, approximately 400,000 people will swarm the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to watch a bunch of cars drive in circles for 500 miles. Ah, yes – the Indy 500.

What will I be doing, you ask? In my dream world, I will be going for a long bike ride with my beau in the early morning, assembling a tomato trellis, pickling beets (for the first time EVER), and hiding in the air conditioning, cross stitching a gift for my dad and watching the entire second season of Lost. In reality, I’ll probably do everything except for the Lost marathon because, as much as I love the sound of it, I have far too many other projects to actually take an entire day off.

Getting back to our planned absence at the noisy, rowdy ridiculousness that will be the race, though, we totally did our part today – we attended the Indy 500 parade! Going back to the title of this here blog entry, one of the groups today listed their mission on the side of their float as, “Supporting Our Veterans,” “Homeland Security,” and “Americanism.” Americanism, eh? I didn’t know that was a thing, but I think we partook in it.

First there was Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels, who rode in with a posse of Harley Davidsons. I think he might just be having fun at this point.

20120526. Our governor rode in on a motorcycle with a crew of Harley riders. Classy. Indy 500 parade.

Check out the Indiana state flag painted on the front. Nice touch.

Then there were the balloon handlers. In some cases, the balloon handlers were more interesting to me than the balloons.

20120526. Smurf tenders. Indy 500 parade

Look at that cute little girl on the right. I smurf you, smurfy girl!

Then we have a bunch of people who love the flag so much they want to wear it…. together. As a group. All at the same time. Like a really big set of overalls. Group overalls. Can you tell there’s something mildly disturbing to me about this?
20120526. Does anyone else find this mildly disturbing?

And we must not forget the post-parade, big-as-your-head onion rings.

20120526. Portraiture with onion ring.

‘MERICA!!!

What a fun time! After all that Americanism, though, I needed to spend some quality time with the chicks…
20120526. After all that Americanism, I needed to go relax with the chicks for a while.

Yolko, the lap chicken.

Yolko and Beaker are the only two who willingly let us catch them and cuddle for a minute.

And the blackberries, which we planted last weekend…
20120520. We have blackberry bushes!

And the potato sprouts. Since we planted them on May 12, they have been growing nicely, and I’ve already begun heaping more dirt against the sides of two of the biggest sprouts. I am weirdly excited about red potatoes (because who the heck gets excited about potatoes? THIS GIRL).
20120526. The red potatoes are sprouting!

Oh, and speaking of my planned FIRST EVER BEET HARVEST tomorrow, this clip makes me laugh out loud. Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica. Indeed.

State of the Garden Address, May 9

I established previously that I sucked at growing plants from seeds this year. After much coaxing, teeth gnashing, lying awake at night, and general upset, I made it through to the acceptance stage. Namely, I accepted that I would just have to buy many of my summer garden plants this year.

20120509. The seedlings have sucked this year.

Suspended animation – the magical, non-growing seedlings of 2012!

Single tear. So last weekend, the grow lights were dimmed, the seedlings were moved outside to fend for themselves, and I headed to the Broad Ripple farmer’s market and Habig’s Garden Shop to get my plant fix.

20120509. State of the Garden Address.

First State of the Garden Address of 2012: at least the spring seedlings grew like weeds.

I figured it might be a good thing to document exactly what is planted where at this point. Plus, I love looking back at initial garden photos in, say, August to see how much the baby planties have grown. Oh, the babies!

Bed #1:

20120509. Looking ahead to warmer weather.

Front row: Summer squash, hot Portugal pepper, Genovese basil, Georgia flame pepper, and summer squash. Middle row: Genovese basil, three cayenne peppers, Genovese basil. Back rows: six Roma tomatoes.

Bed #2:

20120509. First attempts at fennel.

The “we’ll see” bed. At this point, it’s got some baby lettuce, an insanely massive fennel, a couple of languishing basil plants, lavender and rosemary, some peas, and a few bee balms.

Does anyone know what kind of caterpillar this is? It loves the fennel, and I love it.

20120509. Fennel-loving caterpillar.

Bed #3:

20120509. Beets and peas and lettuce.

Front row: beets and lettuces. Middle row: three jalapeno plants and some ridiculously healthy peas. Back row (hidden by aforementioned peas): two grape tomatoes, hog heart tomato, mom’s paste tomato, two black krim tomatoes, and a garden peach tomato.

Did I mention how healthy the peas and lettuces are?

20120509. The peas and lettuce are just a little happy with the world right now.

Bed #4:

20120509. Strawberries, cayenne peppers, and cucumbers.

Left side: three cayenne peppers in back, four strawberry plants in the middle, sad little chives in the front. Right side: three pickling cucumbers up front, three slicing cucumbers in back.

And let’s not forget the green beans!
20120509. Green beans.New-to-me this year (so far): beets, lettuce, strawberries, fennel (and definitely quite a few of the heirloom tomatoes and peppers). This weekend, I’m hoping we will get our berry bush supports built and some plants in the ground, too. Raspberries and blueberries and blackberries? Thumbs WAY up.