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Year of the Radish

Tina Hartell

Every garden season I seem to get reacquainted with a vegetable. This is usually something I've eaten my whole life but suddenly find myself gorging on it while thinking that no one has ever loved this vegetable, this "discovery", as much as I do right now. It has happened with eggplant, cauliflower, snap peas, parsley, and now the radish.

I've pickled them, marinated them, fermented them, added them to every salad, and eaten them raw dipped in dressing or humus. They're absolutely perfect. In the newly-found space in the garden, I've planted rows of French Breakfast and Daikon for a fall crop. 

Aside from these rows of radishes and fall crops of spinach, kale, chard etc, the garden is winding down. The potatoes are dug, dry beans shelled, tomato sauce gurgling on the stove, and freezer is filling quickly. There's a sense of order now that wasn't so true in the heat of July. 

As with any year, there were some great successes and some terrific failures. The 2015 bang-up successes include potatoes, squash (both summer and winter), raspberries, onions. The confusing and disappointing failures were cauliflower, artichokes, eggplant, and green cabbage. Everything else did okay: there was enough. What caused these failures? I suspect some combination of browsing by voles, aphids, too-early planting, and now lack of water. There is always something that goes awry each year despite all your hopes and effort. It's part of why I love and respect the garden: it's always as it should be, even through the failures. And it gives me the gift of being surrounded by such calm, peaceful, and tasty perfection.

And here's the reason you should never, ever leave your garden in August. 

Oh, Zucchini!