Summer is officially here and the Kendall-Jackson garden is abuzz — literally. Every plant is bursting and sprouting and just can’t get enough of this warm sunshine.
Every part of the garden is just bursting with life and it looks absolutely stunning. So pull up a chair and let’s take a stroll through the Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate and Gardens with Farmer T.
This is the time of year when Tucker and his team are harvesting twice a week for our kitchen, planning ahead for our upcoming Heirloom Tomato Festival and ordering fall crop seeds like cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts and spinach.
And when we say he’s planning ahead for our upcoming Tomato Festival, we’re not exaggerating. Tucker and his team have planted over 7,000 heirloom tomato plants for the festival — over 150 different varietals!
One of the veggies Tucker is most excited about is this NEW asparagus patch. Did you know asparagus naturally grows in ditches? These plants are in their first year of production and Tucker doesn’t plan on harvesting them until they are in their 3rd or 4th year. He does this so the plant will absorb energy from the sun and then transfer that energy into its roots. This allows the roots to really grow and take hold — producing a much bigger yield by year 3 or 4.
Tucker is most proud of the perennial borders that he’s been surrounding our lush gardens with. Perennial plants attract pollinators such as bees, wasps, humming birds and butterflies. From there, the pollinators move into the rest of the garden to help continue the process and keep the garden ecosystem healthy and bountiful.
Tucker described the symbiotic relationship he shares with the garden as, “it’s a lot shaking hands with nature — if we didn’t plant these flowers, these bees might not be here and now, they’re everywhere.”
He pointed out that this time of year, when you cup your ears, the buzzing sound of the bees is almost deafening. It was a good reminder that sometimes just sitting back and listening to nature, you can hear so much life that you may otherwise miss if you’re not paying attention.
The butterfly weed pictured above isn’t edible but monarch butterflies sure do love it — they lay their eggs on it.
This nigella plant (sometimes called love-in-a-myst) produces a stunning blue flower. Tucker shook the flower seeds into my hand and had me taste them. Even though he warned me, I couldn’t believe it — they tasted just like bubble gum!
We headed back to the greenhouse where Tucker showed me some plants that will soon be put into the ground. Below is some Oca, which downtheplot.com notes as, ” … a vegetable that is causing great excitement amoungst the more adventurous gardeners, and not without good reason. This plant produces tubers in a similar manner to potatoes albiet somewhat smaller. Being of a completely different family to potato it remains unaffected by blight and other associated pest and disease problems.”
Above are some oyster leaves. They’re appropriately named because taste exactly like oysters — no joke!
Once all of these tasty veggies are harvested, they’re washed and walked over to our state-of-the-art kitchen for Justin and his team turn into a delicious meal.
Cheers to a beautiful summer! How’s your garden coming along? Be sure to keep up with Farmer Tucker on Instagram and don’t forget to get your tickets to the 19th Annual Kendall-Jackson Heirloom Tomato Festival — it’s going to be our best one yet!