What was I just saying last week about taking time to appreciate the days? This week I feel like I can’t wait any longer. It’s time for certain veggies to just get on with it already!
When I peek in the hoop house, there are cherry tomatoes just starting to turn scattered here and there among the greenery. The green beans are starting to fill in and the collards are slowly putting on some size. Little tiny eggplants are starting to form.
Deep breath. Everything in its time.
There were a few challenges this week too. (More deep breathing required.)
Cucumber beetles arrived in record numbers this year. They are having a heyday on the cucumbers, zucchini and winter squash. Not only do they eat the leaves of theses veggies, they also introduce disease though their dirty little mouthparts, so I’m holding my breath to see what happens. I have a second sowing of zucchini underway, but they’ve already found my “backup” cucumbers. Jerks.
There’s always something going awry in gardening. But usually there’s also something going right. So we’ll focus on those.
Purple coneflowers are busting out all over this week. They make me smile.
This Week’s Veggies:
Basil – we’ve got a little early pick of fresh basil. Did you know that harvesting basil triggers the plant to grow more leaves? So our little harvest will help to ensure more harvests to come. Top your favourite pasta dish, soup or salad with finely chopped basil leaves.
Cabbage – We’ve got mini-cabbages this week. Fresh cabbage is so yummy and a far cry from that storage cabbage we munch in the winter. Typically a fall crop, these small cabbages have a shorter date to maturity so we can enjoy them now.
Celery Leaf / Leaf celery – this herb is grown for it’s tangy leaves rather than crunchy stems (like grocery store varieties.) This leaf celery is a Dutch variety that is wonderful in soups and stews. You don’t need much to make an impact! I add it to recipes at the “sautéed onion” stage.
Here’s the recipe I shared last year for making herb salts. I think this leaf celery alone or in a blend with other herbs or green onions would be delicious. Add herb salts to soups, salads, marinades, salad dressings…
Cucumber -We’ll enjoy as many cucumbers as we can while we have them. I’ll get you a selection of the different types we are growing this year. Fingers crossed the vines can withstand those cucumber beetles !
Garlic (fresh) – just like last week! If the garlic in your share has bulbils (a cluster of tiny bulbs,) know that they are edible as well. The garlics we are eating this week are a softneck variety. They do not form scapes as hardnecks do. They do, under stress, produce a pseudostem containing bulbils. These bulbils are not seeds, they are clones of the mother plant. And they are edible, or you can plant them. There’s your garlic lesson for the day!
Kale – honestly, if you’re up to your eyeballs in kale by now just blanch and freeze this week’s bundle for a nice winter treat. Here’s a recipe for garlic parmesan kale pasta if you want to get dinner on the table fast. (Although, I’d definitely add some onion to this recipe and some type of acid at the end. Maybe lemon juice.)
Komatsuna (Japanese Mustard Spinach) – we are going to have a larger quantity this time; enough for a starring role in a stir fry or try it in this sesame seed salad. Please blanch the komatsuna first. We will all be happier.
Onions – Surprise!