Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Harvest for a Great Salad

Dinner for Two
Mixed greens planted in the trays over a month ago
French Sorrel ( Rumex acetosa)
Spinich planted last November
Mixed Arugula
Cherry Bell radish
Winter Density lettuce
Blanched Dandelion
The final product
Trench for pea seeds

Soaked pea seed in trench
Cover and tamp soil frimly

This was a busy week with much to do. Transplanting in the greenhouse of peppers and tomatoes took several days. I grafted four new apple varieties onto the big tree and re-staked the small apple tree in the garden. The apple flower buds are quite visible and will bloom soon and unfortunately the House Finches have found them too - they eat the buds!!! Not a good thing for future apples. I planted radishes and leafy greens - Arugula, Broccoli Raab seeds and lettuce transplants this week to keep the future harvest coming. The garden will need to be tilled soon as the winter rye planted last fall as green manure is now tall enough to turn under. Yard cleanup is mostly done and unfortunately I have to empty the rain barrels to get some work done in their area. The next rain that is over an inch will fill them back up. I like to use the rain water on the seedlings in the cold frames until they are planted out.

This week we feature our first of what may be many great recipes -a wonderful salad we are making this spring. With the leafy greens in abundance, we eat large salads each day. Both Susan, my wife, and I have made a concerted effort to manage our weight and with the garden produce now available, this will make our goal of healthily eating more convenient. Just a side note, between the two of us we have lost the weight of one 140 lb person, in two years, through exercise and diet changes.

With all that has been done this week, I think I will make a post mid week to show the apple grafting that I did Saturday. I have over the past eight to ten years grafted over 30 different apples onto my three trees in the back yard. So all of that really needs one post by itself.

The pictures above show the garden greens and grilled chicken salad we enjoyed today. The salad is a mix of spinach, arugula, sorrel, lettuce, chives, dandelion, and radishes - all from our garden. The chicken was grilled on the gas grill flavored with apple chips from this spring's pruned branches. The dressing was a classic oil and vinegar made with tarragon vinegar that I made from my tarragon herb harvested last fall. I used two parts olive oil to one part vinegar along with lime juice and grated lime peel, grated fresh ginger, salt, pepper, and a little brown rice syrup. The only thing not from the garden in the salad were the capers and the preserved sushi ginger. We really like capers and the preserved ginger as condiments for most salads, and the ginger is great on sandwiches too. The ginger and the sorrel have an interesting flavor blend, and a touch of lime is always good. A glass of Shiraz wine made for a great spring meal.

I planted garden peas today. The pictures show that I trench the pea seeds. The growing peas will have soil filled in as they grow to keep their roots cool. I have collected branches as my pea trellis. These are easy and when the crop is done, I can just gather the vines and branches and toss the whole lot - easy clean up. I water soaked the seeds for four hours before I planted them to get them started. This is a short row, about 10 feet of snap peas (Sugar Sprint). I seldom plant anything in a longer row. The greens and radish that I planted this week were all in 3 to 4 foot rows. That way I do not have too much produce arriving at one time. I can harvest short rows and then keep planting more to have a constant supply.

This week I also transplanting broccoli raab. I had a video but some how I cant find it so I will have to try again with the second planting that I made this week. However, I planted the seed so that I could transplant a row and see how it did. Regular broccoli is a great transplant but I wanted to see if this cutting type would do the same. So in a month we should know how this experiment works.

Happy Gardening

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