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More gardening

Posted by tinako on May 30, 2010

I had time today to work on my gardens here.  I pulled most of the collard volunteers, and as I pulled them, I trimmed off the leaves into a bucket.  They filled two supermarket produce bags to the brim.  In that garden by the beach I planted three potatoes and some seedlings I started in March: zucchini, cucumber, Swiss chard, anaheim and jalapeno peppers, yellow and roma tomatoes, and parsley.  I also put in some lettuce, but this garden gets sun all day long (6 am to 7 pm) so they will probably bolt soon.  Bolting means they send up seed stalks and get bitter; many leafy plants do this, some (like parsley and cooking greens) are bienniel and do it their second year.  Some (like lettuce and I think cilantro) do it when it gets hot.  I’m not an expert gardener and did no research on this whatsoever – just my experience.  Hey, little related tidbit my Dad shared that we thought was interesting: he asked a farmer friend what is the difference between straw and hay, and the answer was it depends on when you harvest.  Harvest most grasses early and the energy is in the stalk, it is sweet, and that’s hay you can feed to horses.  Harvest it after it has seeded and the energy is in the seed; you collect the grain for use and then the stalk is only good for bedding – that’s straw.

I also worked on my two herb gardens by the house.  One is shadier (maybe 3 hrs sun) than the other (maybe 6 hrs sun).  I improved both with peat moss since they stunk last year, and in the shadier one which already has spearmint, I put cilantro, parsley, and lettuce (maybe it won’t bolt up here).  My lettuce is all a mix.  In the sunnier plot, which already has perennial oregano, chives, thyme, and sage, and had some cilantro and parsley volunteers coming up, I added basil and purple basil, and left room for some bronze fennel and lime basil that I started late and hadn’t brought with me.  I got bronze fennel because of the salad they made on Totally Vegetarian last year, and the lime basil because of a salad I had at a party last summer.

I mulched everything heavily with the incredible amounts of grass clippings from the waist-high lawn and gave everything a good drenching, since we will not be back for several weeks.

We went down the road to a local winery in the afternoon and got a nice semi-dry Riesling to go with dinner.

Mexican Rice, Salad, Butter Beans with Sweet Potatoes and Greens

Dinner was Butter Beans with Sweet Potatoes and Greens.  I didn’t come to the cottage with meal plans, just picked up stuff I thought would be useful at the Mennonite market on the way down, and brought one cookbook.  I cannot believe I had all the specific ingredients that this called for.  What made me pick up the sweet potatoes?  Why did my Dad pack a can of butter beans, for pete’s sake?  The planets were in alignment.  I used collard greens and thyme from my garden.

I made a rice dish I made up: 2 c water, 1 c brown rice, 1/4 t salt, 1/2 t chili powder, 1/4 t cumin, 1 bay leaf.  Combine in a small pot and cook 40 min, until rice is tender.

I also put together a salad: lettuce, cucumber, sweet red pepper, and chives and cilantro from my garden.  I made Balsamic and Herb Vinaigrette – 1/2 a recipe was sufficient for the salad you see there.

After dinner we went to an ice cream stand just a couple miles away, which always has two flavors of vegan soy ice cream.  Today’s flavors were cherry and coffee chunk, so my daughter and I both went for cherry.  She came back after a minute with tears and an empty cone, and the server wouldn’t accept money for the replacement.  Anyway, it was very good.

After that, I went to work on the collard greens, processing about half of them, ready to blanch and freeze when I get home.

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