Wednesday, July 7, 2010

constant gardening

attention boise-area gardeners: north end organic nursery is having a sale on seed savers exchange seed packets, buy two get one free. time to stockpile. i now recognize and accept the fact that i’ll never be finished planting seeds this year, and i’ll never, ever be finished adding to my seed collection. in the last week i sowed more beans, basil, radishes and carrots, plus a handful of exotic things i’ve never grown or even eaten before: sorrel, “purple vienna” kohlrabi, “rhubarb” swiss chard, black cumin and asparagus/winged peas. pretty excited about the winged peas. i'm a huge sucker for novelties.

all the beans in the raised bed are up, along with a patch of rattlesnake pole peas i squeezed in behind the fence, and today i saw pods forming on the bush beans that just recently began flowering.

three first flowers bloomed in the last few days. first cucumber...

first bell pepper...

and first borage that opened just this evening.

i let the collards go ten whole days without cutting them back dramatically and ended up with a familiar overabundance when i got around to harvesting yesterday.

fortunately i found a winning combination to add them to: teriyaki veggie tofu.

rough recipe: sauté minced garlic in olive oil, add a chopped-up red pepper, cook over high heat for a few minutes. add one package of extra-firm tofu (cubed or crumbled), lots of teriyaki sauce and sesame seeds, then mix in the collards (cut into thin ribbons, chiffonade-style) and cook until the tofu browns slightly and the collards turn emerald green. adding mushrooms and onions would make it even tastier.

this afternoon i cut down more lemon balm than i’ll ever use and dried it in the dehydrator.

the homegrown salad gravy train will soon come to an end...

three heads of rouge d’hiver romaine left, then just a few small containers of cut-and-come-again leaf lettuces. it was sweet while it lasted. i won’t miss the slow food aspect, spending about half an hour preparing each salad--it seems like an outrageous amount of time to assemble a salad because i’m spoiled by the convenient pre-washed, pre-cut, bagged mixes. i was late meeting up with a friend the other day because it took me so long to make lunch. sounds like such a lame excuse.

i owe a debt of gratitude to the salad spinner. this under-appreciated device sat in the pantry collecting dust for years (except for the one time i used the basket to confine a mouse, thinking i was really clever for finding such a suitable temporary mouse house, until the cunning rodent chewed a tiny hole and escaped) i use the spinner for its intended purpose practically every day.

not only does it dry the leaves fast and efficiently, you can also lift out the basket and use it as a strainer while you rinse the greens, dry them, rinse them, dry them, over and over and over again. if you grow leafy stuff and you don’t have a salad spinner, go get one, it will change your life--particularly if you experience mild to moderate obsessive-compulsive “contamination” issues like yours truly. over and over and clean, so dry.

i’m happy with how most things are growing now, but still nervously waiting on the eggplants. the plants aren’t doing much, not budding or even making new leaves...they’re mostly just kind of sitting there, looking up at me like, wtf do you expect? eggplants demand a long, hot season, so they may be a no-go thanks to all the cool weather that dramatically cut into this year’s happy growing days. it’s weird, many of the western states have had such abnormally cool weather while the east is outrageously hot--right now they have a miserable heat wave going on over there, with nighttime lows that about match the daytime highs here. if only east and west could share a few degrees and even each other out.


be said...

god i LOVE your blog!!!! i dont understand why i go so long without reading it!!! i love the new design also.

GoneferalinID said...

Hang in there with the eggplant. Ours just sat there as well and maybe we get a little more sun in out bed. They just started forming what I think are blossoms.

Salad Spinner= yeas a great idea.

Keep posting on the exotics, por favor.

Emily said...

be--hehe, thank you.

goneferal--i’ll try to be patient with the eggplants. yours probably do get more sun--i didn’t pick a very good spot for mine, they sit in the shade until around noon, then full sun until 7ish.