Saturday, May 21, 2011

Dill Weed in a raised bed-Bird Back 40
I suppose I should have some really neato rap music with this post -- but while there are many descriptions for rap music -- "neato" isn't one of them. Besides -- rappers aren't singing about melons.

Well -- they are. But not the kind of melons that I have growing in the garden this year.

As the photo to the right will attest -- this has become rather common in the garden this year. I give you a surprise growth of DILL. As you can plainly tell from the photo -- it's growing like a WEED. Thus the name: Dill Weed.

Had some ingenious canner/gardener not discovered a perfect use for this weed in a jar of DILL PICKLES -- I sometimes wonder if it would be as appreciated as it is in the spice world.

Dill Flowers: A MUST HAVE for Dill Pickles
I didn't plant this by the way. Although I've harvested lots of dill seed from previous plantings -- I rarely need to plant it anymore. Like most weeds in the yard -- it just sort of springs up here and there (sort of like volunteer tomato plants that are popping up all over the yard at the moment). Unfortunately -- Venus and I have never been able to quite time out our dill harvest with our harvest cucumber pickles.

At this point in time -- May 21st, 2011 -- our cucumer plantings have barely unfurled a first true leaf. They're clearly "on their way," but we won't see true slicing or pickling cucumbers for another month or two. And by that time? The dill flowers that are popping open right now -- which would be the perfect addition to any jar of dill pickles -- will be a distant memory.

Freeze or Not to Freeze? That is the question
So -- what is a gardener who would die for a good dill pickle to do then? I've half a mind to start cutting off some of these flowers -- toss them into a sandwich bag and freeze them for later use. Then again, I'd rather use fresh -- not frozen -- dill during the canning process. When it comes to home-grown canning efforts -- I like everything that goes into that jar to come straight from the yard on that particular canning day.

I can't quite bring myself to cut it down yet either. A stalk of dill like this -- with dill flowers slowly unfurling -- is one of the prettiest spots in the entire Bird Back 40. Although it will feel like a crime to cut it out -- it's in one of the raised beds that is targeted for summer garden use later this weekend.

I'm not sure if it's age or gardening or both (or even cheap gin for that matter) -- but there's just nothing quite like the beauty of spring in a backyard garden. I notice and appreciate far more things now than I ever did in my younger years. It doesn't matter if it's bees happily buzzing about the garden -- or a growth of dill like this -- or perhaps that clump of California poppies that has emerged across the other side of the yard.

It all spells that magic word of spring. And -- thanks to a wife that has the absolute, most greenest thumb on God's Green Earth -- I get to enjoy a lot of scenes like this through the spring and summer months.

Yes -- it's just a weed. But it's also a sight to behold.