Ah, Spring... Time to play in the dirt and walk around the yard barefoot. The birds have started sitting on their eggs and the first herbs and vegetables are arriving onto our dinner plates. We've already had a couple of meals of our own asparagus and have reveled in the fresh tastes of dill, oregano, chives, thyme and even a few surprise cilantro plants popping up in the garden beds.
I am a first-time garlic grower, and have been hovering over the cloves planted last November. They are green and vigorous and managed to survive a weird winter of freezing and thawing and an onslaught of meadow voles, so I see some garlic scape pesto and garlands of dried garlic in my future.
Every year I try to add a few new herbs and vegetables to my repertoire. Last year I tried leeks, but was foiled by those voracious voles who chomped down on my tender baby leek bulbs in a sneaky subterranean assault. I also planted Anise Hyssop from seed and didn't really see much action there, but this Spring a luxurious little shrub of this herb has unfurled and I look forward to harvesting its leaves for tea. If anyone out there has some other culinary or medicinal information about Anise Hyssop, please leave a comment below.
New to the Crispy Cook's kitchen garden this year is a lovely legume I've always wanted to try, based on the raves I've heard about fresh fava beans. The seeds were huge, like magic beans, and have sprouted into very robust bean seedlings, so I have high hopes for actually consuming some later in the season. Again, any fava bean recipes and tips gratefully appreciated. I have heard that steaming the fresh favas and then slitting open their skin and serving them forth with shavings of Pecorino cheese is divine, so I'll keep you posted. I also have a recollection that they go well with liver and a nice Chianti, but that could be hearsay.
Another new inhabitant in the Crispy Garden this year is Green Lance, a variety of Asian green residing somewhere along the kale-broccoli continuum. Green Lance is supposed to grow up to be a thick-stemmed, flowering cruciferous vegetable that likes to be steamed and stir-fried, so voles and cutworms willing, we will dine on them next month.
Memorial Day Weekend is the traditional day of planting the more tender veggies in our area. We just had a frost last week, so I am holding off on sticking the tomato plants out just yet, but when I am off tomorrow, it will time to get muddy toes and fingers planting string beans and zucchini.
With visions of sugar snaps dancing in my head....