Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Green Babies in the Spring Garden

There's lots cooking up in my Spring gardens, or should I say, in MY garden and MY HUSBAND's garden. My garden is more of a curvilinear tapestry of flowers, herbs and vegetables,

whereas Dan's garden is a geometrically precise and orderly space for serious plants that intend to feed us early and often.

Both styles work well for us: I love seeing which annuals have reseeded themselves and love the surprise of finding a hardy tomato or tomatillo struggling up through the Spring soil. I haven't had to plant dill or cilantro in years, and a packet of wildflower seeds strewn on a bare patch of garden five years ago still renews itself each year in a long-blooming patch of delicate red poppies. Dan's garden soil is the more fertile, however, as he is diligent about laying down mulched grass clippings and stepping only where his wood chip pathways intersect the veggie beds. He has an lovely bunch of broccoli plants right now and we are looking forward to a second year of the tropical vines of red noodle beans grown all around the wooden pyramid trestle he made.

A mama robin has nested in the crotch of a wild cherry tree, right next to my garden, which drives her mate frantic whenever I'm in weeding or planting, so I'm trying to be careful about not disturbing them too much. You can see a tiny yellow sliver of beak in this photo.

Two new vegetable varieties await consumption a little later this month: One is Green Lance, an Asian cruciferous vegetable which is supposed to be harvested when it gets a little bigger and sports a miniature broccoli headpiece. It has suffered a tiny bit of damage from ravaging cutworms, but I should have a nice little harvest in a week or so:

The other garden newbie is the Fava Bean, which is a beautifully sculptural plant with square stems and lovely leaves and is now wearing some eye-catching black and white blossoms:

We have been enjoying our first lettuces in the past week and the shot below captures the first harvest that went beyond a handful of radishes or herb snippets. I had a couple of leafy Black-Seeded Simpson lettuces sprout up from a row I had planted last year, so I let them fatten up and then harvested them for a delicate salad with home grown chives and radishes. Unfortunately, my kids won't eat my salads for a while, as I somehow didn't notice a stowaway in my salad greens, who survived several soakings in water and a ride in my salad spinner. I plated up a toothsome quartet of green salads and was bringing them to the table, when a coin-sized Daddy Long Legs marched out of his hiding place and made a dash for it off the dining table. I suppose the vinaigrette was the final indignity.

See if you can spot the spider in the photo above. Obviously I couldn't.

Stay tuned to see what the Crispy Cook concocts out of her Green Lance and Fava Bean harvests and whether my children will cured of their arachnophobic eating habits.


Bettina Douglas said...

Rachel there is nothing like vegetables that have grown in soil - so much more flavour. Lucky you.

When I learnt to cook (before the days of hydroponically grown salad greens) we were taught to put some salt in the water. Seems it helps get the bugs to leave before the vinaigrette is applied!

Alicia Foodycat said...

I especially do the salt thing for big bunches of mint - somehow there are always little green bugs on the leaves.

Gluten free Kay said...

Wow, the fava bean is a really pretty plant!

My pole beans and bush beans are just sporting their first blooms. I'm excited! And I have some tiny cucumbers and zucchini set on. Can't wait!

Maria Verivaki said...

i love your garden - it is so huge and green!