Quick update from the garden

Things are definitely looking good out there. More intermittent rains have helped the plants out quite a bit. The garden faired OK as well after that wicked wind storm we had. Some things had been pushed over, but since the garden is so dense, the plants somewhat supported themselves, so all is good!

We have some help today in the garden from a few friends. We’re trying to catch up with the weeding at this point. Weeding is very important for a few reasons. Weeds can steal nutrients and water from crops. Weeds tend to grow faster than your crops and can end up shading out the sun and choking out crops. Weeds will also produce their seeds at some point and so you really want to catch them before that happens. Lots of this is obvious but it is so important because we are taking on a somewhat “stale seedbed” approach with our beds.

Ben, one of our weeders today :)

Ben, one of our weeders today

Since the garden is a former cow-pasture, it is FULL of annual weed seeds, which have been added by cow manure for the past 25 years. We will never be able to remove all of these, so instead we avoid disturbing the soil (and bringing up new seeds) and continually pull, burn, or mow the weeds from the top couple inches of soil. We are hoping that our diligence with weeds this year wille exhaust that top 2 inches and reduce pressure for next year. This does mean however that we won’t be able to “till” our garden again each spring – instead we plan to apply some well decomposed and heated (weed free) compost to the tops of the beds.

This week’s share of the harvest
1 summer cabbage
1 bunch carrots
1 bunch beets with tops
1 bunch young onions with tops
1 bag salad mix
1 garlic
1 pint beans
1 pint peas
1 box zucchini
1 large slicing cucumber (or a box of smaller ones)

First picking of our summer cabbages.

First picking of our summer cabbages.

How to use your share
Simple Bean Salad
Steam 1 pint beans and cool immediately with cold water.

Toss them with:
2 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. tamari sauce
1 finely chopped scallion/young onion
1 tsp. sesame seeds

Bean salad for lunch today.

Bean salad for lunch today.

Heirloom Carrot Salad  (from Canadian Living)
1 lb carrots
12 sprigs fresh cilantro (or parsley)
1/4c. toasted unsalted pumpkin seeds
1/4c. crumbled feta cheese

1/4tsp. cumin seeds crushed
2 tbsp. orange juice
1 tbsp. veg oil
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. liquid honey
salt & pepper

Cut carrots into paper thin strips (no need to peel them!). Chill carrots and cilantro in ice water for 3 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
In a dry small skillet over med. heat, toast the cumin seeds until darkened and just beginning to pop (approx. 30 seconds). Transfer to a large bowl and whisk the remaining dressing ingredients.
Add carrots, toss, and sprinkle with feta cheese.

A note on summer cabbage
Summer cabbages can be used any way you would use fall harvested cabbages. The nice thing is that these tend to be more tender and go well in raw salads or asian style dishes.

A note on keeping things fresh in your fridge, from my Omi
I was over at my grandparents home the other day (who by the way are 85) and I notice my Omi was eating some beautiful fresh spinach. I was surprised since it wasn’t her week for CSA and so she must have gotten it elsewhere. Turns out it was 1.5 weeks old and as fresh as the moment I picked it! I checked her fridge and she had so many things stored in ways to keep them extra fresh and crisp. Here are some tips:
– Beets: cut off the beets and store the tops in a bag separate.
– Onions: keep with the bulbs upright in a glass of water
– Salad greens: if still damp, add a paper towel to collect some of the moisture. Store with bag closed.
– Kale and Chard: spritz it slightly with some water and put in a sealed bag.