Sunday, May 27, 2012

Eating out of the garden

Mid-spring is a wonderful time in the garden.  Every time I go out, there is something else I can bring in the house to make something tasty.

By now, I have been eating spinach, romaine, chard, radishes, peas, young borage leaves, and chive blossoms in tossed salad.  Just started to eat mesclun ( mixed salad greens).  I have planted my third planting of radishes, bok choy is coming up, and carrots are looking good.  Remember if you are planting salad greens, you don't want to plant them all at once!  Stagger your plantings so that you always have something ready throughout the season.

Broccoli Raab is one of my favorite veggies to grow.  The young stems almost taste like asparagus, and the heads are small but have that broccoli taste - even the steamed, chopped leaves are good.  You keep picking this off side shoots for as long as they keep bearing.  Our early warm weather caused it to bolt, so I have to keep up with cutting off all the flowering heads.

First picking - ready to steam and eat!

Broccoli Raab with Italian Sausage, Parmesan cheese and pasta

First Radishes

More radishes, with the first snow peas

A lot of people cut off their chive blossoms, but honestly, how can you eat all the chives you will eventually have?  I let the bees get all over the blossoms, so that they get the good stuff from them, let some blossoms go to seed for more chive plants, and the rest, I break up and eat in salad (or just a pick me up when out in the garden).  Chive blossoms have a great peppery, oniony flavor that will wake you up!

I learned a lot about gardening from my mom, who was Danish.  She told me that Danes always had flowers and herbs mixed throughout their garden.  I asked why when I was younger, and she said, that was just the Danish way!  Of course now, we understand the importance of an eco system - that you have something continually blooming so that you attract the bees and insects that will partner with you to grow good crops.  I think it is important to mix a lot of herbs in your vegetable garden - even if you don't use them yourself.  Herbs have medicinal properties not just for humans, but for insects as well - planting a variety allows these insects to get what they need - especially important during a time when they are being traumatized by habitat loss and insecticide use.  So make sure you plant plenty of beneficial flowers and herbs around your veggies!

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