Asparagus Lover's Pasta (How My May Garden Grows, A Good Book And Other Life Stuff Keeping Me from "Here")

I am still recovering from my trip to Home Depot yesterday: twice! For future reference--if I should EVER want to attempt Mother's Day insanity again, I shall recall the following: navigating the parking lot took fifteen minutes, a quarter tank of gas and several near misses of folks wandering aimlessly, weaving in and out of moving and non-moving cars, throngs of people hovering over plants, grown children (all with mothers I'd assumed), wondering aloud or to complete strangers if this or that plant . . . bird feeder . . . plant stand, patio chair or, believe it or not, riding lawn mower--might be something mom would like? (For the record: Yes. To all of the above.) I sort of have issues on Mother's Day. To alleviate any and all pain, I immerse myself in all things "outside". With DH by my side, we dug holes, argued, laughed, put up a fence and finally at the end of it all, spent the evening telling each other how much fun we had--and how it was a miracle neither one of us ended up divorced, needing a tetanus shot, breaking a bone or a fracturing a hand. It was one of those days only a married couple together nearly fifteen years could survive.
I add something to my garden to-do list every day. Going to sleep right now is a real joy. No sooner have I settled in to read (I'm currently reading: Blood, Bones & Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton and I LOVE it!)--than does some other little nifty "project" creep in. Since I am the "project doer"--I must immediately leap from bed, grab a pen, and up goes yet another Post-it note with said reminder on it. It's all quite maddening right now--these gardening to-do lists.  
This was my first year for growing my own asparagus. Our harvest time was about ten days total. I planted thirty-five starter plants last year. You don't move the asparagus--ever. So think about that before planting. I read that in the first year, you must only harvest two-to-three spears per crown planted. I made this really easy to monitor by breaking off the tips of the asparagus right at the point where they'd naturally allow me to do so, thus leaving behind the stumps so I'd then be able to see just how many spears were plucked per clump. I think I can now call my self The Asparagus Queen. We had a week's worth of asparagus-inspired meals. Next year, we will have an even longer harvest season.This pasta dish was super easy--which is about all I can handle at the moment. What you see in the picture, that's what ended up in the dish--tossed with a really good glob of EVOO, some fresh and dried Italian herbs, sea salt and fresh ground pepper. To begin, saute some sliced onion with the garlic, adding the asparagus, toss in some peas--you get the picture. Any pasta will do--I just happen to like angel hair pasta the best. There is nothing better than home grown asparagus. I am such a snob about it, I almost laugh out loud when I walk by store displays of "imported" spears.

 No more harvesting from the asparagus bed from here on out. As tempted as I may be. I just walk on by--allowing the ferns to grow. And then leave them alone--till they turn yellow and bone dry in December. The ferns feed the spears for next year's crop. I will add some compost to the bed to amend the soil a bit (yet another to-do list task). I found this vegetable to be very hardy. Yesterday, Dr. Thyme dropped a coil of wire fencing down the hill and it rolled right over my asparagus plants! (Okay, that was one of the not-so-funny-couple-moments from yesterday's garden-palooza.) I saw the bundle leave his hand and the rest was in slow motion: DID THAT JUST ROLL OVER MY ASPARAGUS?! To which he calmly replied, Only this SMALL corner--it's fine! (So he says.) I dropped to my knees and tenderly picked the little guys up, standing the stalks back up the best I could. Couple gardening. (I don't recommend this if you haven't reached the ten year mark.)
My irises are in bloom again. So glad I divided them three years ago. (Not looking forward to doing that again.) It's a big, fat, messy job and it took me a week to finish. But I love these guys.

On Mother's Day, I usually end up planting a tree or a bush. (If we live in this house long enough, the entire yard will have been planted over.) This year it was another magnolia. I just love magnolias.
I decided it might like it here in a daylily bed.
My lettuce is beginning to come up. I broadcast the seeds over a specific plot in my "lasagna garden"-no-till-veggie bed. Have you seen lettuce seed? It's the size of a gnat stretched out long. No rows of lettuce here.
Peppers. You might think these are planted pretty close together. They are. I sort of incorporate the square foot gardening method--cramming in the plants to block out the weeds once they get going.
If ever there was a veggie that never disappoints, it's the humble radish. Just pops up and in a month: radish. 
Unless the deer grow wings, they aren't messing with this year's tomatoes--at least not up here. After many tears spent over the love-hate relationship I have with the deer, I decided it was time to take matters into my own hands. The container method. I am growing a pepper plant, cucumbers (will stake them for better production), a tomatillo plant and the rest are tomatoes. After the "fencing in" project we installed around the veggie area yesterday, I'm just a wee bit more confident I can place tomato plants in the ground. That, too, is on my "list".

This pot is for my scarlet runner beans. If you aren't familiar--they are way more than just "beans". They will produce this beautiful vine of reddish-coral flowers. I was lucky in that a friend of mine shared some of her beans with me. I planted three in this pot and used some of my bamboo stalks as a trellis.
I have little hope of really ever harvesting strawberries. But every year I try. This year, I just said to heck with it and bought a plant and put it in a pot by the front door. I figure if there's a critter bold enough to walk right up to my door and de-fruit my plant--they can gosh darn have 'em.
And finally--all the cruciferous one woman can handle. My one raised bed we have that's not fenced in. So this bed is reserved for food stuff the deer seem to not adore So far, it's worked. As you can see, I wasn't really paying attention to my broccoli and it flowered. Oh well. Another to-do item for my never-ending list. I will be removing the broccoli plants this week and planting some kale in its place.

And that about covers it for now. The garden is in full swing, and the kitchen, well--it's not and hasn't been for the past month. But all will return to normal just as soon as possible.This week is the first week of procedures for Dr. Thyme. We will both be relieved when these first two are over. One down this week, then next month another, then possibly two more to go. We won't know until the results of the first two procedures are reviewed--some time in August. I haven't gone into much detail about this here, but just know--it's not cancer. Thank God. It does, however, involve a really important part of the body: his eyes. Given that my husband has to have them to perform his job and pretty much any other thing in life he enjoys--we are praying for the best. I am sort of in denial about it right now--that's a coping mechanism I inherited from mom. Ignore it. It will go away. As I said, procedure one is this week. Meanwhile, my knitting bag is packed and ready to go.   


  1. Things sound busy around your house! I agree--sometimes the only way to cope is to be as 'normal' as possible, doing what we regularly do rather than fixating on a problem. Hang in there!

  2. Thanks for sharing all the photos! I planted some annuals yesterday and took some time to plan out my tiny square foot garden. I hope to build some taller tomato cages and will be more diligent about spraying icky, smelly stuff around the garden that will (hopefully) keep the rabbits away. I THINK it's safe for me to plant my garden, so that's planned for an evening this week or this weekend. Hooray for Spring!

  3. Hi Kelly, your garden looks beautiful. You've inspired me to plant some radishes. I love quick growing. I harvested my first zucchini today, they grow pretty quick also. BTW, I tried to grow tomatillos one year and all I got was pretty yellow blossoms. I later found out that they are a cross pollinator and you need more than one plant to get fruit.(at least 3) I havn't tried growing them again since.
    I hope everything goes smoothly with Dr. Thyme's procedures. My thoughts and prayers are with you guys.

  4. Hi Ladies! Thanks for your notes! I always love them and they inspire and help so much! Bonnie--I see you've made it to the garden--it looks awesome! And, veganhomemaker--thank you for that heads up on the tomatillos! I just planted ONE plant on the back deck--so am on a hunt to get another. And I have zuke envy now. And thanks for the note on hubby.


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