This week there were a few exciting new developments in the garden. We harvested our very first elderberries—maybe a whole half cup of them! Earlier in the summer, I was worried about whether something was wrong with the elder flowers, and perhaps there was, but eventually they created a spotty bunch of green berries. I must admit, I hadn’t gone by the bush for several days, but when I went out the other day, they were purple. I ate one that was quite sweet, but Margy tasted a sour one, not as ripe. Not enough to make elderberry syrup, or really much of anything, but enough to be enthused about future possibilities. Margy and I will have to celebrate with a berry eating ritual.
Another new development: I saw a few catkins on our hazelnut bushes! I hadn’t known to expect them, but when I looked it up, I learned that these are the male part of the plant’s reproductive system. They will stay on the plant through the fall and winter, and then in very early spring they start lengthening and unfurling. When the female flowers open at the tips of branches, they pollenate. There are only a few catkins right now, but they are a harbinger of future crops of hazelnuts. In my last batch of pesto, I used hazelnuts from the Food Coop to add to basil, parsley, chives and garlic from the garden, plus olive oil and lemon of course. So we can’t quite do it only from our garden, but maybe more and more.
I also processed oregano and thyme that had been drying in the basement herb dryer for longer than they needed to be, and did another batch of frozen chives, and frozen kale for the winter. Our harvest is limited more by my own energy than by the earth energy.
If anyone local would like oregano or thyme or chives, please let me know—they are flourishing in the garden still, and I’d be happy to share—also lemon balm, comfrey, and dill. They have all been very enthusiastic.